Potential Harmful Chemicals:
- dioxins from chlorine bleached diapers
- sodium polyacrylate
- fragrance or parfum
Effects on Health and Environment
- known human carcinogen
- endocrine/hormone disruptor
- immunologic toxicity
- developmental effects (on fetus)
- increased exposures to dioxins are associated with increased incidence of endometriosis in humans
- persistant pollutant
- not biodegradable
- chemical leaching into water systems when chlorine bleach is used in processing
- organ system toxicity
- skin irritant
- suspected carcinogen
- suspected endocrine disruptor
- reproductive toxicity
- Known human immune system toxicant or allergen
- Possible human respiratory toxicant
- Fragrance mixes have also been associated with allergies, dermatitis, and potential effects on the reproductive system
- Wildlife and environmental toxicity
- Talc can be contaminated with asbestos fibers, posing risks for respiratory toxicity and cancer
- cosmetic-grade talc free of asbestos is a form of magnesium silicate that also can be toxic and carcinogenic
Traditional/ Indigenous Alternatives:
- According to the plants used by Russell Willier from the book “A Cree Healer and His Medicine Bundle” peat moss can be used for baby diapers. It is the first disposable diaper material, because of its absorbency and disinfecting properties.
- Sphagnum Moss is capable of holding twenty times its weight in water. It is a completely natural and biodegradable diaper material.
- In “Life Stages and Native Women: Memory Teachings and Story Medicine,” Kim Anderson writes about the use of moss that was common among Northern Algonquian communities. She describes that Elders remembered infants being swaddled in moss bags and the moss that lined the bags served as diapers.
- When ethnographer Hallowell made a trip to norwestern Ontario to visit Ojibway communities there what caught his attention was the use of sphagnum moss which had “highly absorbent and deodorant properties and could be seen drying in the sun in every camp.
- Elders living on Hudson Bay described the process needed to gather the moss. Women who were expecting would begin to pick the moss the summer before to dry it. And among the James Bay Cree, babies spent much of the first year of their lives in moss bags.
- Anderson describes that a number of the elders had stories about how moss was harvested for the diapers. One of the elders Olive, described the long process as this, “there was a certain moss that would be gathered, it was very woolly and spongy. It’s a pinkish colour and a very healthy moss. Other mosses are kind of chunky and not good to be used. At times the moss would be hanging all over the branches, they would pull them and then leave them on the branches until it was good and dry. Then it would be spread on the ground on a canvas to dry and comb through them. They used to take out all the little twigs and soil.
- In this way, with effort and hardwork, a completely natural, biodegradable, deodorizing, and absorbant diaper material can be made.
- Organic Cotton
Homemade Cloth Diapers
- sewing machine
- organic cotton
Store-bought Cloth Diapers
- Bummis Organic Cotton Refold Inserts
- Kissaluvs Organic Cotton/Hemp Fitted Diapers
- Happy Heinys Organic One Size Pocket Diapers
Eco Friendly Disposable Diapers
Store-bought Natural Diapers