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Benefits of Chlorine Free Diapers

by Tammy Quinn Mckillip, studioD

Environmentally savvy new parents may agonize when it comes time to choose between the convenience of disposable diapers and traditional, reusable cloth varieties. While old-fashioned plastic disposables are a definite no-no, it turns out that washing, bleaching and drying cloth diapers several times may actually be more harmful to the environment than swaddling your baby's booty in modern, biodegradable, chlorine-free disposables.

Bleach-Free Baby

Keep your baby and your environment toxin-free by using disposable chlorine-free diapers.

Regular disposable diapers are made with absorbent wood pulp that is bleached with chlorine, and cloth diapers must be bleached before reuse. Not only is bleaching harmful to the environment, some of the toxic dioxins released in the bleaching process may remain behind and irritate your baby's skin. Even worse, trace amounts of these chemicals could end up leaching into his pores and bloodstream, so stick to chlorine-free disposables to help keep your baby, and the environment, toxin-free.

Cleaner Planet

Landfills are clogged with non-biodegradable pollutants, including plastic bottles and disposable diapers.

Traditional-style disposable diapers are made with non-biodegradable plastic, and they may continue polluting our landfills for up to 550 years after you dispose of them. Most chlorine-free disposables are made of natural ingredients that are at least partially biodegradable, so you can throw them away with a clean conscience.

Less Health Risks

Many disposable diapers contain chemical fragrances, phthalates (plastic softeners), petroleum-based dyes, and lotions. These are added to improve the diaper's smell, look and feel, but not only are they unnecessary to your baby -- they could be harmful. A baby's sensitive skin may develop an allergic rash or dermatitis from chemical contact, and some dyes have been linked to ADHD, nerve impairment, asthma or even cancer. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, phthalates may potentially disrupt the endocrine or reproductive system of a developing baby. Chlorine-free disposable diapers are available without potentially harmful dyes, lotions or chemical fragrances.

Breathe Deep

A 1999 study at Vermont's Anderson Laboratories concluded that two of three brands of disposable diapers tested emitted harmful chemicals capable of causing respiratory distress and pulmonary irritation in mice. The respiratory problems increased after repeated exposure to the diaper chemical off-gassing. Chlorine-free diapers are made of naturally absorbent materials, like corn or wheat, and have fewer potentially harmful chemicals and vapors.

About the Author

Tammy Quinn McKillip has written extensively in print and online publications about pets, parenting, theater, design, health and environmentalism since 1999. She is the editor of the Macaroni Kid National Family Safety newsletter and publisher and editor of "Macaroni Kid," a local family-friendly weekly events newsletter. She is pursuing her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at City College of New York.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images