Cloth diapers are made with soft fabrics that do not contain any of the dangerous chemicals that can be found in disposable diapers. Disposable diapers are actually filled with toxic chemicals. Many babies are exposed to these chemicals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the first few years of their lives when their rapidly developing body is even more sensitive to negative effects of these chemicals. Some chemicals that are in disposable diapers are:
Dioxins – disposable diapers contain traces of dioxins, which are a by product of the chemical bleaching process. Dioxins are extremely toxic, and there is no safe level of exposure to dioxins, which have been linked to cancer, infertility, hormone disruptions, and developmental delays. Dioxins are listed as one of the most toxic cancer-causing chemical and is banned in many countries.
Sodium polyacrylate – this is a super absorbant material that makes disposables able to hold so much liquid. If you’ve ever noticed some “gel like crystals” on your baby’s skin after changing his or her diaper, that is the sodium polyacrylate. Sodium polyacrylate has been linked to skin irritation and respiratory issues.
Phthalates – many disposable diapers contain fragrances to mask odors which contain phthalates, a known endocrine disruptor.
Tributyl-tin (TBT) – is a toxic pollutant that is known to cause hormone disruption in humans and animals
Because of these chemicals, disposable diapers often cause diaper rash in babies, which can sometimes be severe and cause bleeding and a lot of pain. Cloth nappies are very soft and comfortable against the baby’s skin, and rashes are very rare in babies that use cloth diapers.
Disposable diapers are also linked to infertility and increased testicular cancer in males. A research study done at the University of Kiel in Germany showed that disposable diapers raise the temperature of baby boy’s scrotum by as much as one degree Celsius, which can affect their development and can lead to infertility later in life. Baby boys who were wearing cloth diapers did NOT have a similar rise in scrotum temperature. As a result of this study, some researchers speculated that disposable diapers may be responsible for declining fertility rates among Western men.