24 November 2012

Diapers / Nappy :

A Diaper (in American English) or a Nappy (in Commonwealth English) is a kind of underwear that allows one to defecate or urinate in a discreet manner. When diapers become soiled, they require changing; this process is often performed by a second person such as a parent or caretaker.

The word Diaper originally referred to the type of cloth rather than its use. Diaper was the term for a pattern of repeated, diamond shapes, and later came to describe a white cotton or linen fabric with this pattern. The first cloth diapers consisted of a special type of soft tissue sheet, cut into geometric shapes. This type of pattern was called diapering and eventually gave its name to the cloth used to make diapers and then to the diaper itself, traced back to 1590s England. This usage stuck in the United States and Canada following the British colonization of North America, but in Britain the word "nappy" took its place. Most sources believe nappy is a diminutive form of the word napkin, which was itself originally a diminutive.
Diapers have been worn throughout human history. They are made of cloth or disposable materials. Cloth diapers are composed of layers of fabric such as cotton, hemp, bamboo or microfiber and can be washed and reused multiple times.
Diapers are primarily worn by children who are not yet potty trained or experience bedwetting. However, they can also be used by adults with incontinence or in certain circumstances where access to a toilet is unavailable. These can include the elderly, those with a physical or mental disability, and people working in extreme conditions such as astronauts. It is not uncommon for people to wear diapers under dry suits. 

Diapers are usually worn out of necessity rather than choice, although there are exceptions; people such as infantilists and diaper fetishists wear diapers recreationally for comfort, emotional fulfillment, or sexual gratification. Terms such as "incontinence pads" can be used to refer to adult diapers.

Types :

Disposable :

The first disposable diaper was invented and patented in 1948 by Valerie Hunter Gordon (née de Ferranti), granddaughter of inventor Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti.

Modern disposable baby diapers and incontinence products have a layered construction, which allows the transfer and distribution of urine to an absorbent core structure where it is locked in. Basic layers are an outer shell of breathable polyethylene film or a nonwoven and film composite which prevents wetness and soil transfer, an inner absorbent layer of a mixture of air-laid paper and superabsorbent polymers for wetness, and a layer nearest the skin of nonwoven material with a distribution layer directly beneath which transfers wetness to the absorbent layer.

Other common features of disposable diapers include one or more pairs of either adhesive or velcro tapes to keep the diaper securely fastened. Some diapers have tapes which are re fastenable to allow adjusting of fit or reapplication after inspection. Elasticized fabric single and double gussets around the leg and waist areas aid in fitting and in containing urine or stool which has not been absorbed. 
Some diapers lines now commonly include wetness indicators, in which a chemical included in the fabric of the diaper changes color in the presence of moisture to alert the caretaker or user that the diaper is wet. A disposable diaper may also include an inner fabric designed to hold moisture against the skin for a brief period before absorption to alert a toilet training or bedwetting user that they have urinated. Most materials in the diaper are held together with the use of a hot melt adhesive which is applied in spray form or multi lines, an elastic hot melt is also used to help with pad integrity when the diaper is wet.

Some disposable diapers include fragrances, lotions or essential oils in order to help mask the scent of a soiled diaper or to protect the skin. Care of disposable diapers is minimal, and primarily consists of keeping them in a dry place before use, with proper disposal in a garbage receptacle upon soiling. Stool is supposed to be deposited in the toilet, but is generally put in the garbage with the rest of the diaper.


·        Disposables are easy; you just throw them away.
·        Traveling is easier with disposables.
·        Disposables are great for kids who have diarrhea because these diapers don't leak.


·        Disposables don't disintegrate — so they fill up landfills    
·        Disposables can be expensive.
·        Using disposables may increase the time it takes to potty  
         train your child because the little one can't feel it when he's 

Cloth Diaper:

Cloth diapers are reusable and can be made from natural fibers, manmade materials, or a combination of both. They are often made from industrial cotton which may be bleached white or left the fiber’s natural color. Other natural fiber cloth materials include wool, bamboo, and unbleached hemp. Manmade materials such as an internal absorbent layer of microfiber toweling or an external waterproof layer of polyurethane laminate (PUL) may be used. Polyester fleece and faux suede cloth are often used inside cloth diapers as a "stay-dry" wicking liner because of the non-absorbent properties of those synthetic fibers.
Modern cloth diapers come in a host of shapes, including preformed cloth diapers, all-in-one diapers with waterproof exteriors, fitted diaper with covers and pocket or "stuffable" diapers, which consist of a water-resistant outer shell sewn with an opening for insertion of absorbent material inserts. Many design features of modern cloth diapers have followed directly from innovations initially developed in disposable diapers, such as the use of the hour glass shape, materials to separate moisture from skin and the use of double gussets, or an inner elastic band for better fit and containment of waste material.

Pros :

·        Cloth is more natural.
·        Cloth diapers now come with Velcro straps, so you don't 
         have to worry about safety pins.
·        If you don't like washing diapers, you can use a diaper  
         service that will pick up, wash, and deliver diapers to you 
         on a weekly or biweekly basis (provided you don't live too 
         far out in the hills).
·        Washing your own diapers is less expensive than using a 
         service. Cloth diapers, regardless of whether you use a 
         service or wash them yourself, are less expensive than 
·        Cloth diapers make great burp rags (placed on your 
         shoulder so the liquid burps don't get on you). When your 
         kids grow out of them, they make great dusting rags.


·        Cloth diapers use water and electricity to wash.
·        Cloth diapers must be rinsed out in the toilet, and you have 
         to deal with the mess and the smell.
·        Cloth diapers leak more than disposables (even with the 
          plastic outer pants).
·        Cloth diapers are not good for travel because you have to 
         carry the used diapers with you.

The problems with both disposable and cloth diapers are that both can cause diaper rash equally, and both smell really bad after they've been used.

Chemicals in Disposable Diapers :

Disposable diapers appear to be a necessity in today's lifestyle of convenience and temporary items. Though they are commonly used, synthetic, single-use diapers often contain chemicals linked to long-term health conditions. A study published in the "Archives of Environmental Health" in 1999 states that disposable diapers should be considered to be a factor that may cause or worsen childhood asthma and respiratory problems. The soft, sensitive skin of babies is also prone to rashes and allergic reactions due to the chemicals in disposable diapers.

Dioxins :
Most disposable diapers are bleached white with chlorine, resulting in a byproduct called dioxins that leach into the environment and the diapers. Dioxins are among the most toxic chemicals known to science and are listed by the EPA as highly carcinogenic chemicals. According to the World Health Organization, exposure to dioxins may cause skin reactions and altered liver function, as well as impairments to the immune system, nervous system, endocrine system and reproductive functions.

Sodium Polyacrylate :
 Sodium polycarbonate is a super absorbent chemical compound that is used in the fillers of many disposable diapers. It is composed of cellulose processed from trees that is mixed with crystals of polyacrylate. This chemical absorbs fluids and creates surface tension in the lining of the diaper to bind fluids and prevent leakage. Sodium polyacrylate is often visible as small gel-like crystals on the skin of babies and is thought to be linked to skin irritations and respiratory problems. This chemical was removed from tampons due to toxic shock syndrome concerns. As it has only been used in diapers for the last two decades, there is not yet research on the long-term health effects of sodium polyacrylate on babies.

Tributyl-tin (TBT):
Many disposable diapers contain a chemical called tributyl-tin (TBT). According to the EPA, this toxic pollutant is extremely harmful to aquatic (water) life and causes endocrine (hormonal) disruptions in aquatic organisms. TBT is a polluting chemical that does not degrade but remains in the environment and in our food chain. TBT is also an ingredient used in biocides to kill infecting organisms. Additionally, according to research published by the American Institute of Biological Sciences, tributyl-tin can trigger genes that promote the growth of fat cells, causing obesity in humans.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs):
Disposable diapers frequently contain chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These include chemicals such as ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene and dipentene. According to the EPA, VOCs can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, damage to the liver, kidney and central nervous system as well as cancers.

Other Chemicals:
Other chemicals often used in disposable diapers include dyes, fragrances, plastics and petrolatums. Adhesive chemicals are used in the sticky tabs to close the diapers and dyes are used to color and make the patterns and labels that mark diapers. Perfumes and fragrances are used in some disposable diapers to help mask odors.

Environmental Concerns:

While the study claims that the threat of harmful exposure to dioxins may be low, there may be an indirect threat from diapers after they are thrown away. Disposable diapers make up 1-3% of all solid waste that goes into landfills. Dioxins may leach out of diapers and enter ground and surface water, concentrating at levels that would pose a threat to human health. Also, dioxins are released into the environment when wood pulp is bleached with chlorine. Disposable diapers do not degrade when in landfills.

Disposable diapers are often thrown into the trash, and eventually into a landfill, still containing feces. Throwing human feces into a landfill is illegal but many parents do not know that they should be dumping the feces into the toilet before throwing the diaper away. Human waste has added to the amount of dangerous bacteria that already exists in landfills and increases the threat of the bacteria leaching into groundwater.

Quite possibly solid waste is the one thing people think about most when one discusses the impact of diapers on the environment. The amount of solid waste generated by disposable diapers is legendary, and in many people’s minds somewhat exaggerated. The fact that many believe it to be larger than it really is does not make it insignificant, however. Disposable diapers are still the third largest individual constituent of municipal solid waste accounting for.