The true value of eco baby nappies.
In the baby care world, we see a variation in the range of environmentally friendly baby nappies; eco baby nappies, eco disposable nappies, bamboo baby nappies, bamboo reusable nappies, bamboo baby diapers etc. We often wonder what is it in essence are these diapers made of?
Often, we question what the underlying material is within these nappies. This is the material which does all the absorption, whilst leaving the surface dry. It also appears that the external surface has a plastic feel to prevent leakage.
In essence, we require greater understanding as to what are these materials used to eventually create these baby nappies.
A diaper is made up of two layers within which lies a core.
The inner layer is that which is in contact with baby’s skin. This layer is what we understand as the super absorbent layer which absorbs output and keeps baby dry.
The outer layer conversely is the layer, which is exactly that, the external layer which prevents baby’s output from leaking.
The internal core is the soft fabric which does the absorption. This may be developed from bamboo resources or cotton. Accompanied with the bamboo or cotton is SAP – super absorbent polymer crystals.
The type of materials used in the core determines its safety or toxicity. There is research to use other resources to replace the existing SAP, the chemicals and the materials used in disposable diapers due to the controversy relating to the side effects caused by these materials. It appears that the side effects could range from, toxic shock (polyacrylate), skin irritation(polyacrylate), liver damage(dioxin), immune system suppression (dioxin) to the impact of the central nervous system (dyes). Other views maintain that the research of the side effects is inconclusive.
Quality Environmentally Friendly Nappies
The manner in which the layers and core are developed, determines the eventual quality and type of nappy which is created and subsequently selected. This is especially true, when considering the material which is utilised for the core of the nappy. Certain views maintain that the materials utilised for the core, be it cotton, or bamboo ensure its difference and quality. Others are of the view that there is no difference between a bamboo resourced core or cotton-based core, as the process of manufacturing removes any of the differences and the end result is same. What we do understand, is that there is an observed difference in the performance and quality of diapers dependent on the resources utilised. A number of factors lead to determination of the quality of the nappy and whether the nappy is an option for some or not for others.
Considering the advanced development of environmentally friendly nappies, the factors to determine quality are an endless list.
Free of …what?
Considering the variation and range of baby care products, we are able to understand that baby diapers come with advantages and disadvantages.
Essentially, we would wish to avoid certain products and materials which would affect baby health, in so far as possible.
Free of Dyes, bleaches / Dioxin
Dyes and bleaches are used in all types of textiles and this is not precluded baby diaper manufacture. Baby diapers therefore do include dyes and bleaches in the process of manufacturing. The core of baby diapers is then left with these dioxins which could affect baby health. Dioxin could lead to effect on the endocrine system, immune system, skin and other unwanted illnesses arising therefrom.
Free of Polyacrylate
Polyacrylate is used to ensure the super absorption ability of baby diapers and forms part of the core of the baby diaper. The controversy over synthetic polyacrylate leaves much to be desired. Research is being conducted to develop plant-based SAP (super absorbent polyacrylate) to enhance safety in baby care. We should hopefully see some development in this space which should allay our fears.
Free of Fragrance …really?
Interestingly, fragrance does carry many unwanted chemicals. Fragrances could lead to allergies, asthma, skin irritation and other unwanted illnesses. Essentially, it is the phthalates ingredient in fragrance which in fact is what makes it dangerous.
Free of Biocide
Biocides are used to address the growth of certain of micro-organisms which grow under certain circumstances and within certain environments. Biocides are used to effectively prevent the growth of such organisms to ensure a safer product for usage. The issue which arises is that these biocides are often in themselves harmful for baby products. The biocides used in baby diapers are often toxic and appear to cause issues relating to endocrine functionality.
Key Nappy Quality Considerations
Eco baby nappies should as well, in fact maintain certain factors to ensure it is indeed a quality product.
Considering the factors to avoid and be free of, environmentally friendly baby nappies should maintain and nonetheless display greater absorbency level above that of the traditional disposable baby diapers. This could perhaps be, up to four times more than cotton diapers.
Ensuring that no leakage occurs with eco baby nappies, is not an independent consideration, it is the aspect of comfort which is a priority. The aspect of comfort goes to ensure that skin irritation is avoided in baby diapers whilst maintaining its function in avoiding leakage.
Biodegradability and Environmentally friendly
It has been shown in studies that traditional baby diapers are a major concern for the environment due to its lack of biodegradability. The issue of environmental impact is now a governance consideration for most eco-friendly companies. These environmentally aware companies ensure that their products meet an acceptable level of biodegradability to ensure minimal environmental impact. Biodegradability has therefore a key factor in the production of eco baby nappies.
Both safety and quality factors may be considered in determining quality of eco baby nappies. These factors are, however, not exhaustive and not all eco baby diapers would display all of these qualities to meet subjective measures. Each of these factors may be considered in light of the subjective measures for baby. Each baby particular requirements and standards. There is no compromise however on one aspect; a comfortable, clean baby is… the world’s happiest baby!