Not all of the fascinating diaper videos I’ve been finding in anticipation of the Why Cloth Diapers video contest are love songs from cloth diapering parents. When we talk about “Why cloth diapers” the implication often not spoken is “Why not disposable diapers.” Here is one more reason.
Super absorbent polymers (SAP).
Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski is a science education consultant, a disinterested scientist with a curiosity about how things work. She shows in this video how absorbent polymers, including those used in disposable diapers, work. After watching this, I can’t help but wonder how much non-recoverable water resources are bound up and wrapped away for 500 years in landfill.
Remember, when you are working with disposable diapers, “You might want to wear a protective nose mask while you are at it,” as Dr Diana said. Why? Because, according the an MSDS for sodium polyacrylate, the “dust may cause burning, drying, itching, and other discomfort, resulting in reddening of the eyes.”
Super absorbent polymers are generally expected to be non-reactive. Why might they cause, for example, diaper rashes or a burning discomfort? One possibility is the potential presence of chemicals that can be formed in processing.
“According to the Cosmetics Database,” which I wrote about on Monday,
“Sodium Polyacrylate is considered a moderate hazard ingredient, primarily due to contamination concerns. This ingredient can contain methacrylic acid, acrylic acid or 2-ethylhexyl acrylate, known toxins that can be formed during its synthetic processing. It is also classified as “expected to be toxic or harmful” because of potential organ system toxicity effects, according to the Environmental Canada Domestic Substance List.” ~”Sodium Polyacrylate,” Truth in Aging.
Skin contact with acrylic acid may produce burns.
Nice. Sound like the kind of thing that would be ideal on your baby’s bottom?