The New Era of Cloth Diapering
by Anna Hakes
Cloth diapers are by no means a new concept, but they have evolved fantastically over just the past decade. I remember watching my mom swish dirty diapers in the toilet and thinking, “Yuck. I never want to do that.” You might remember the big diaper pins, the bulky prefolds, and those awful plastic pants and want to run the other way. But wait! Before you default to disposable diapers, take a look at the new and improved world of cloth diapers. They are adorably fashionable, simple to use and drastically lighten your carbon footprint on the planet!
But disposables are so convenient. …Are they really?
There’s much more to disposable diapers than buying a plastic package off the store shelf, using once and tossing. What goes on behind the scenes? To start with, an astounding 300+ pounds of wood, 55 pounds of plastic, 50 pounds of petroleum feedstocks, and 20 pounds of chlorine is consumed in a one year supply of disposables for only one baby. Talk about depleting our natural resources! Most disposables also contain dioxin and other chemicals that are considered carcinogenic and are actually banned in some countries outside America. There are studies showing a link from increased scrotal temperature caused by disposables to a higher risk of adult infertility and testicular cancer.
What happens after the disposable is thrown away?
A staggering 27.4 billion diapers are casually dumped into our US landfills every year. Consider the fact that they will still be there 500 years later. An even more sobering reality is the immediate health hazard created by the solid human waste slowly leaching into the Earth. Disposable packaging recommends dumping feces in the toilet prior to tossing the diaper, but honestly, who does that? As a result, underground water supplies and groundwater are at real risk of contamination, and airborne viruses (including live vaccines from routine childhood immunizations) can be carried by flies and other insects.
(…to be continued…)