Diapering Debates

June 29, 2010 by
Filed under: Experiences, Starting out 

Cloth versus Disposable

You will hear many compelling arguments for and against cloth diapering your child. Consider the following as you make your choice:

Your Baby’s Health

Disposable diapers contain traces of dioxin, a toxin linked to cancer, liver damage, and birth defects. Disposables contain Sodium Polyacrylate (SAP) as the super absorbing gel; a chemical that was removed from tampons in 1985 due to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

The Environment

Four million disposable diapers are discarded daily in Canada, taking up to 500 years to fully decompose.
Untreated fecal matter in landfill promotes growth of Hepatitis B and Polio.
Effluents (wastes) from the manufacturing process of disposables – pulp and paper, plastics – contribute to soil and ground water contamination.

Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapers are made of 100% cotton.
Cloth diapers are reusable up to 200 times as diapers before being used as rags.
Fecal matter is treated properly as sewage.
Cloth diapers produce 6000% less solid waste, use 500% less energy to manufacture, and require 1000% less volume of materials than disposables.
Soft, breathable cotton is against your baby’s tender skin.
Children often toilet-train up to one year earlier

The argument heard most often is that washing cloth diapers is a drain on water resources, and therefore worse for the environment than disposables. Yes, washing diapers uses water, a resource that is often abused in North America. However, a disposable diaper leaching in a landfill for 500 years cannot be compared to an extra load of laundry when discussing negatives for the environment!


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