What is Cloth Diaper?

May 13, 2009

Cloth diaper may be new for most of us, but I am very sure if we understand the benefits of using it, we will definitely turn to this great alternative.

Why choose cloth diapers?  There are so many reasons.  Cloth diapers are soft against your baby’s skin.  Cloth diapers are also free of the many chemicals contained in disposable diapers. Our common sense tells us that cloth diapers are the ultimate in recycling because they are used again and again, not entering a landfill until they are nothing but rags. Of course, some people want more than this common sense approach–they want facts.

 

Health

Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin, an extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process.  It is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals.  It is banned in most countries, but not the U.S.

Disposable diapers contain Tributyl-tin (TBT) – a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals.

Disposable diapers contain sodium polyacrylate, a type of super absorbent polymer (SAP), which becomes a gel-like substance when wet. A similar substance had been used in super-absorbancy tampons until the early 1980s when it was revealed that the material increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome.

In May 2000, the Archives of Disease in Childhood published research showing that scrotal temperature is increased in boys wearing disposable diapers, and that prolonged use of disposable diapers will blunt or completely abolish the physiological testicular cooling mechanism important for normal spermatogenesis.

 

Environment

In 1988, over 18 billion diapers were sold and consumed in the United States that year.  Based on our calculations (listed below under “Cost: National Costs”), we estimate that 27.4 billion disposable diapers are consumed every year in the U.S.

No one knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, but it is estimated to be about 250-500 years, long after your children, grandchildred and great, great, grreat grandchildred will be gone. Disposable diapers are third largest single consumer item in landfills, and represent about 4% of solid waste. Ina house with a child in diapers, disposables make up 50% of household waste.

 

Dryness and Rash

The most common reason for diaper rash is excessive moisture against the skin.

Newborns should be changed every hour and older babies every 3-4 hours, no matter what kind of diaper they are wearing. At least half of all babies will exhibit rash at least once during their diapering years.

Diaper rash was almost unheard of before the use of rubber or plastic pants in the 1940s. There is no significant difference between cloth and disposables when it comes to diaper rash.

There are many reasons for rash, such as food allergies, yeast infections, skin sensitivity, chafing, and chemical irritation. Diaper rash can result from the introduction of new foods in older babies. Some foods raise the frequency of bowel movements which also can irritate. Changes in a breastfeeding mother’s diet may alter the baby’s stool, causing rash.

 

Costs

We estimate that each baby will need about 6,000 diapers during the first two years of life.  The following estimates are based on prices in San Francisco, California.

Disposables:  For these calculations, let’s assume that a family needs about 60 diapers a week.  In the San Francisco Bay area, disposable diapers cost roughly 23¢ per store-brand diaper and 28¢ for name-brand. This averages to 25.5¢ per diaper. Thus the average child will cost about $1,600 to diaper for two years in disposable diapers, or about $66 a  month.

Cloth Diapers: For cloth diapering, each family will probably need about 6 dozen diapers. The cost of cloth diapering can vary considerably, from as low as $300 for a basic set-up of prefoldsand covers, to$1000 or more for organic cotton fitted diapers and wool covers. Despite this large price range, it should be possible to buy a generous mix of prefolds and diaper covers for about $300, most of which will probably last for about two children. This means the cost of cloth diapering is about one tenth the cost of disposables, and you can spend even less by using found objects (old towels and t-shirts).

 

For the lastest facts and full version of the article, please visit http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: