Have you ever found yourself wiping shiny gel-like crystals off your baby’s bottom when changing a disposable diaper?
That gel is sodium polyacrylate, a super absorbent polymer used in disposable diapers. According to the Real Diaper Association, "This chemical can cause skin irritations and severe allergic reactions including vomiting, staph infections and fever." Super absorbent polymers were banned from tampons when linked to toxic shock syndrome. If you have a disposable diaper handy, pour a bit of water or saline solution into the diaper and cut it open to see how this gel works.
Natural diapers absorb without gel. You can choose either cloth diapers, which absorb into the core of their spun fibers, or eco-brands of disposable diapers, which use paper pulp to absorb moisture. If massive amounts of disposable diaper waste in landfill concern you, paper diapers do not solve the problem.
In that case, cloth diapers are your best natural diapers--no gel required.
Cloth diapers absorb naturally
If you do not want put diapers with gel next to your baby’s skin, choose cloth diapers, which absorb naturally.
Natural fibers pull moisture into their sponge-like core without any need for petroleum-based gel. The surface of cotton attracts water, and the tiny tubes inside fill with water like a bunch of straws. Hemp is even stronger and more absorbent than cotton, adding natural antimicrobial properties and resistance to mold and mildew.
Both cotton and hemp make great natural diapers, without gel.
- Diaper health facts from Real Diaper Association