Cloth diapers are not what our grandmothers once used- a cloth towel held together by pins. Gone are the days of hand-washing and line drying cloth diapers, too. (Unless of course, you choose to do so.)
We are entering a more environmentally friendly generational wave right now, and one trend is coming back with a new style. Keeping disposable diapers out of landfills can help to lessen your carbon footprint, and it can have significant health benefits for your baby. Choosing cloth diapers over conventional diapers is an easy decision when you understand just what it can mean for your baby.
The Benefits of Cloth Diapering
Keeping the chemicals from disposable diapers off of your baby’s skin should be a priority. Sodium Polyacrylate, Tributyl Tin, Phthalates, and Dioxin are only a few of the most common chemicals found in disposable diapers. These are all linked to lifelong health risks such as endocrine disruption, obesity, and cancer.
By choosing cloth diapers, you also lower the risk of diaper rashes and UTI’s because you will be changing your baby more frequently.
9 in every 10 American babies use disposable diapers. This adds up to 27.4 billion diapers in landfills each year.
- Just for the disposable diapers U.S. babies will wear, over 200,000 trees are cut down every year.
- In one year, 3.4 billion gallons of fuel oil will be used to manufacture disposable diapers.
- Disposables generate over 3.5 million tons of waste each year.
- Those diapers can take up to 500 years to decompose.
Earlier Potty Training:
Because cloth diapered babies can feel when they are wet, they want to potty train earlier than those in disposable diapers. They tend to have less bed wetting issues as they potty train and grow, too. It is easier to notice your baby’s bathroom cues when wearing cloth diapers, making the transition to underwear smooth and easy.
Your Bank Account:
Purchasing disposable diapers will cost you over $800 a year per child, but (depending on how many cloth diapers you purchase) cloth diapers can be bought for $5-20 a piece. You can survive with about 25-30 diapers, easily. (It’s even cheaper if you use prefolds and a cover!) These diapers can be reused on siblings, too.
The Selection of Cloth Diapers
It is an overwhelming world to jump into these days! You can choose between:
But don’t shy away because of the choices, you’ll find your favorites as you start trying them out. The easiest will always be an all-in-one, hybrid, or pocket diaper. They require the least amount of work, but all cloth diapers are pretty easy!
Perhaps the pattern options may sway your choice, too. Whales, monkeys, plaid, stripes, ice-cream cones, you name it and you can find it on a cloth diaper. Ruffles and bows? No problem. An attachable dragon tail? Yep. You may just find yourself starting a new obsessive collection!
How to Clean Cloth Diapers
If you are breastfeeding, there is literally nothing to do but toss your diapers directly into a diaper bag, and then wash the contents of the bag every other day (empty and toss the bag in, too). You’ll rinse the diapers on a cold cycle, wash them on a hot cycle with minimal soap, and then rinse them again on cold. You can hang them to dry or toss them in the dryer for convenience.
If you are using formula, or after solid foods enter the picture, you can knock the poop into your toilet before throwing the diapers into the wash.
Learn More About the Risks of Disposable Diapers:
Parents are also not aware of the adverse effects of disposable diapers being in contact with their baby’s reproductive organs 24 hours a day for more than two years and the long-term effects it causes.
Disposable diapers have been implicated by diapering proponents like leak proof polymers, super absorbent polymers, and some scented chemicals which are the key factors for everything from chronic diaper rash, respiratory problems like asthma, liver damage, skin diseases, infertility, and even to cancer.
Continue the research:
There is nothing more eye-opening than becoming a parent. The moment you find out that you are pregnant, it is as if you realize just how dangerous everything is that surrounds you. That soap? Toxic. That packaged food? Poison. The microwave? Death. Suddenly, you throw yourself into learning about the healthiest, safest items possible. This little life you are growing will enter the world completely perfect, and you want to provide an environment full of safe items and positive experiences. There are enough uncontrollable toxins flying around to worry about, make sure that the things you bring into your home don’t add to the list.
One of the biggest fears most new parents experience is SIDS. It is terrifying because the cause has not yet been determined; although, we can look at a pattern of toxic exposures in relation to SIDS occurrences and form our own opinions. While keeping your baby in your room is highly recommended, one thing that is often not talked about is the quality of your baby’s mattress. Toxic chemicals are found in the materials used to make the most commonly sold crib mattresses (and all mattresses for that matter!). Did you ever even think that a mattress could be dangerous?
All crib mattresses have the same overall construction: the core, the padding, flame retardant material/chemicals, and a cover or “ticking,” which may also have chemicals added to make it waterproof. Crib mattresses range from those made almost entirely of petroleum–based products (petroleum = SCARY dangerous) to others made of natural fibers like wool or cotton.
According to Women’s Voices for the Earth:
- 72% of surveyed mattress models use one or more chemicals of concern identified in this report, such as antimony, vinyl, polyurethane, and other volatile organic compounds.
- 40% use vinyl coverings.
- 22% use proprietary formulas for waterproofers, flame retardants or antibacterials, keeping potential health impacts secret.
- 20% of surveyed mattresses offer some “green” components but do not take meaningful steps to ensure products are free of toxic chemicals.
Crib mattress may contain chemicals of concern in any of the four layers. For example:
- Some flame retardants are made with antimony, which is also a contaminant of polyester. Long-term inhalation of low levels is linked to eye irritation and heart and lung problems.
- Vinyl, used as a waterproof cover, relies on many toxic chemicals throughout its production, including cancer-causing chemicals, asthma triggers, and developmental toxins.
- Polyurethane foam, also appearing as “memory foam” or “soy foam,” is made with a potentially cancer-causing chemical, and may emit harmful “VOCs”—volatile organic compounds—in the home. VOC’s can also be found in synthetic latex foam. VOC’s can irritate eyes, nose and throat, cause headaches and some cause cancer.
- Companies that use proprietary chemicals, or refuse to disclose chemical use, make it impossible to determine potential health threats. In the absence of disclosure, assume they may cause harm.
What brand mattress should you go with?
The following companies have been noted to be safe and reliable (this is not an all-inclusive list):
- White Lotus
- Land and Sky
- Natural Mat
- Organic Mattresses, Inc.
- Pure Rest
- Savvy Rest
- Shepherd’s Dream
- Soaring Heart Natural Bed Company
- Suite Sleep
This information is also relevant for all mattresses, not jus crib mattresses.
Take the time to research before you purchase and air your mattress out for at least a week before using it!
Learn more about mattress chemicals and dangers:
As you have read so far, the supplements we are consuming are full of fillers and sugars. There are other hidden dangers within these capsules, tablets, liquids, and even powders: DYES.
According to the FDA, in 2007 Americans were consuming five times more artificial food colorings than they were in 1955. That number in no way has decreased in the mast eight years. http://www.organicauthority.com/blog/organic/banned-in-europe-food-coloring-linked-to-behavior-problems/
Artificial colors are being added to our vitamins, supplements, and medicines (as well as our foods, skin products, bath products, etc.) at an alarming rate. Somehow the rate is increasing even though studies are linking these dyes to everything from cancer to hyperactivity in children. The risks can be deadly, and the benefits: a more appealing product to draw consumers in, to make a sale.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of these dyes, even as they are band in other countries across the world due to their significant side effects. Countries throughout Europe have banned against food dyes and insisted on strong labeling with warnings including all health risks to these dyes. But yet, here in the United States we not only promote the use of dyes, but they are included as ingredients within our health-boosting supplementation and medications.
The seven FDA approved food dyes include: http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/
- FD&C Blue No. 1 – Brilliant Blue FCF, E133
- FD&C Blue No. 2 – Indigotine E132
- FD&C Green No. 3 – Fast Green FCF, E143
- FD&C Red No. 40 – Allura Red AC, E129
- FD&C Red No. 3 – Erythrosine, E127
- FD&C Yellow No. 5 – Tartrazine, E102
- FD&C Yellow No. 6 – Sunset Yellow FCF, E110
Some of these artificial colors (Yellow Dye 5 & 6) are derived from toxic coal tar. Coal tar is a mixture of many chemicals, derived from petroleum. It is recognized as a human carcinogen, with the main concern of using it for individual colors (whether produced from the coal tar or synthetically) is the potential to cause cancer. These colors may also be contaminated with low levels of heavy metals and even be combined with aluminum substrate. Aluminum compounds and many heavy metals are toxic to the brain. Coal tar is used for purposes such as: roofing, outdoor sealants, exterior paints, and heating. This should obviously NOT be ingested. http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/chemicals-in-your-cosmetics—coal-tar-dyes/
Current research is working towards providing the direct link from synthetic supplements and artificial dyes to autism, sleep disturbances and other chronic problems in children. Previous studies show links to artificial dyes and cancer, hyperactivity, ADHD, allergies, and sterility. http://melisann.hubpages.com/hub/Know-Which-of-Your-Vitamins-and-Medicines-Contain-Toxins
This research is eye opening, even for myself. I have a four year old son with sensory processing disorder, food allergies, food sensitivities, speech delays, and sleep troubles. We were told by wonderful natural-minded pediatric doctors and chiropractors to keep toxins away from him. This meant vaccines, chemicals, processed foods, etc. We learned of a wonderful diet that removed all dyes, fillers, and chemicals from the body to heal the gut. We have had great success on this diet, but hadn’t looked into the hidden details of his supplements (or ours!). While we have been making smart supplement decisions, there were a few with hidden dyes that have since been eliminated. I know that it sounds extreme to most people, but I am telling you from our personal four year journey that what you put into your body makes a world of difference.
Common ailments linked to these dyes include headaches, mood response, hyperactivity, skin rash, and swollen gut, trouble falling asleep, or breathing problems. An actual allergy to dyes may be difficult to diagnose. However, if removing dyes from the diet is linked to absence of symptoms, this may prove dye sensitivity. Allergy testing for dyes is not conclusive, but an IgG antibody test can be part of your investigation. (We had IgG testing done as early as 15 months of age with our son.)
Each dye can be traced to its own set of possible side effects: http://www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm
Blue Dye No. 1 can cause hyperactivity, skin rashes, bronchoconstriction – especially when combined with other artificial colors- and chromosomal damage. It may also cause issues with the gastrointestinal tract while inhibiting cell respiration and lead to ADHD, asthma, and other allergic reactions. (This dye is banned in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Norway Switzerland, and Sweden.) New studies show that Blue Dye is also absorbed through the skin. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23127598
Blue Dye No. 2 is a synthetic coal tar dye commonly added to pharmaceutical drugs and is also used as a medical diagnostic aid. The dye, which is banned in Norway, has been known to cause nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, skin rashes, breathing problems, brain tumors and other allergic reactions.
Green Dye No. 3 is linked to tumors and gene mutations in test animals.
Red Dye No. 40 is a petroleum byproduct often used in medications and supplements that can cause allergy-like reactions, hyperactivity in children and potential cancer. Asthmatics and those intolerant to aspirin are at increased risk of a reaction to this dye, which is prohibited throughout Europe. http://www.npr.org/2011/03/30/134962888/fda-probes-link-between-food-dyes-kids-behavior
Red Dye No. 3 has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals.
Yellow Dye No. 5 is one of the most dangerous artificial colors. Derived from Coal Tar, the dye is linked to cancer and provokes asthma attacks, skin reactions, and hyperactivity in children. It has been banned in Norway, Austria, and Finland.
Yellow Dye No. 6 is linked to hyperactivity, allergic reactions, nausea, and nasal congestion. It is often used in medications and supplements Yellow Dye #6 is banned in Finland, Norway, and the UK.
Unfortunately, these reactions and their connections to artificial food dyes have largely been dismissed by the FDA. In 2004, an analysis of fifteen studies found evidence that artificial colors worsen the behavior of children with ADHD. Even after studies found that artificial dyes affect the behavior of children without behavioral disorders, the FDA continues to deny any significant link between food dyes and behavioral problems.
By eliminating food dyes and food additives, studies have continuously shown increased improvements in children’s behavior.
The FDA has approved a number of natural dyes for use in products. These dyes include:
- Beet Juice
- Grape Skin Extract
- Paprika Oleoresin
- Fruit and Vegetable Juices
Some natural dyes can still cause adverse reactions to those with sensitivities. My son, for example, reacts to annatto extract. Annatto, caramel, and cochineal extract (known as carmine) have all been traced to allergic reactions.
A partial list of popular vitamins with toxic dyes: http://www.vaclib.org/docs/ToxicDyesVitamins.doc
- One A Day – Red #40
- One A day for Women – Mixed Berry’s – Blue #1 Yellow #5, Yellow #6 and Red #40
- One A Day Scooby Doo – Blue #2, Yellow #6 and Red #40
- Flintstones (Children’s Vitamin) – Blue #1, Blue #2, Yellow #6, Red #40 and Aspartame Toxic Sweetener
- Centrum & Centrum Silver – Yellow #6 and Red #40
- Geritol – Blue #2, Yellow #6 and Red #40
- Prenatal from Nature’s Bounty – Blue #1, Yellow #6 and Red #40
- Tums – Blue #1, Yellow #5, Yellow #6 and Red #40
Starting in the 1950s, hundreds of communities across the U.S. became embroiled in heated battles over whether fluorides—ionic compounds containing the element fluorine—should be added to their water systems. Activists stated that the risks of fluoridation were inadequately studied and that the practice amounted to compulsory medication and thus was a violation of civil liberties.
When fluoride was first introduced to water in the 1940s as a means of preventing tooth decay, not a single dental product contained fluoride: no toothpastes, no fluoride mouth rinses, no fluoride varnishes, and no fluoride gels. In the past 60 years, as one fluoride product after another entered the market, exposure to fluoride increased considerably, particularly among children.
As you read through the research, you may decide to trash the fluoride-filled toothpaste in your bathroom (PLEASE lose your child’s fluoride toothpaste!), which I highly recommend. But you probably don’t know that processed foods, pesticides, bottled teas, pharmaceuticals, Teflon pans, and mechanically deboned chicken all contain fluoride. DITCH THEM. However, there is a bigger issue at hand: OUR WATER.
Here we are in 2015 still fighting about fluoride. Over the past 65 years, a lot has been discovered and brushed under the table pertaining to this chemical. Since 2010, more than 75 US and Canadian communities have voted to end water fluoridation, and the issue is heating up as more and more people begin to demand water that does not expose them to this highly toxic industrial waste product. The United States is one of the only developed countries that fluoridate their citizens’ drinking water. Most countries fully realize that adding a known poison to your population’s water supply is probably not a good idea. In Europe, only Ireland (73%), Poland (1%), Serbia (3%), Spain (11%), and the U.K. (11%) fluoridate any of their water. Most developed countries, including Japan and 97% of Western Europe, do not consume fluoridated water. More people drink fluoridated water in the US alone than in the rest of the world combined. About 70% of our public water supplies are fluoridated. This equates to approximately 185 million people, which is over half of the number of people drinking artificially fluoridated water worldwide. http://www.fluoridealert.org/
The FDA labels fluoride a drug, which has the purpose of preventing tooth decay. Did you know that according to the World Health Organization, decline in tooth decay has absolutely nothing to do with fluoride? The decline has taken place worldwide, not just in areas with fluoridated water.
The National Academy of Science reviewed the safety of fluoridation and remains “unsettled,” but in 2006, a committee at the NAS published an exhaustive 500-page review of fluoride’s toxicity. The report concludes that fluoride is an “endocrine disruptor” and can affect many things in the body, including the bones, the brain, the thyroid gland, the pineal gland, and even blood sugar levels.
According to the National Research council (2006) fluoride has the ability to interfere with the functions of the brain, lower intellectual abilities, disrupt the endocrine system, effect thyroid function, increase the severity of diabetes, and increases the risk of Alzheimer’s. Further study needs to be done to rule out links to infertility and bladder cancer. Studies also show that children in high-fluoride areas have significantly lower IQ scores than those who live in low-fluoride areas. Not only are our children at risk for lower IQ levels, but studies have reported an association between fluoride exposure and impaired visual-spatial organization. Other studies found association between prenatal fluoride exposure and fetal brain damage. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3491930/
Today, not only do 40% of American teenagers have fluorosis, but, in some fluoridated areas, the rate is as high as 70 to 80%, with some children suffering advanced forms of the condition. (http://fluoridealert.org/)
Many people argue that fluoride is naturally occurring at high levels in our water. However, a lot of toxic substances (arsenic and lithium for example) occur naturally at high levels, but that does not mean they are safe. Most people also assume that the fluoride artificially added to our water is added at the same level as (the toxic) natural occurring fluoride, but it is not. The levels are far higher, and add to that the amount of polluted, contaminated water, we are in trouble. Fluoride is captured in air pollution control devices because fluoride gases are hazardous air pollutants that cause significant environmental harm. This captured fluoride acid is the most contaminated chemical added to public water supplies, and may impose additional risks to those presented by natural fluorides. These risks include a possible cancer hazard from the acid’s elevated arsenic content, and a possible neurotoxic hazard from the acid’s ability, under some conditions, to increase the erosion of lead from old pipes.
Healthy adult kidneys excrete 50-60% of the fluoride ingested each day, but the remainder accumulates in the body, largely in calcifying tissues such as the bones and pineal gland. Infants and children excrete less fluoride from their kidneys and take up to 80% of ingested fluoride into their bones. The fluoride concentration in bone steadily increases over a lifetime.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 41% of American adolescents have dental fluorosis- a discoloring of tooth enamel caused by too much fluoride.
Breastfed vs. Formula-Fed Fluoride Exposure Breastmilk has a remarkably low level of fluoride (0.004 ppm). A formula-fed infant consuming fluoridated water can consume up to 300 times more fluoride than a breast fed baby (0.6-1.2 ppm). There are no benefits, only risks, to ingesting fluoride. Infants are already susceptible to environmental toxins, so consuming formula made with fluoridated water, we are placing them at extremely high risks. These infants have the highest exposure to fluoride, by bodyweight, in the population. The American Dental Association (ADA) distributed an alert in 2006 recommending parents be “advised that formula should be made with ‘low or no-fluoride water’.” Unfortunately, the ADA has done little to get this information into the hands of parents.
Aluminum + Fluoride = Alzheimer’s Many municipal water supplies are treated with both alum (aluminum sulfate) and fluoride. These two chemicals combine with each other easily in the blood to form aluminum fluoride. Although elemental aluminum cannot pass the blood-brain barrier, some compounds such as aluminum fluoride do. Aluminum fluoride is very poorly excreted in the urine. It is poisonous to the kidneys. Aluminum salts in the brain lead to Alzheimer’s Disease.
If you think you are escaping artificially added fluoride by consuming bottled water, think again. The following companies “provide you with added fluoride” without so much as a warning on the bottle: (http://www.bottledwater.org/fluoride)
· Alhambra · Arrowhead · Belmont Springs · Crystal Rock · Crystal Springs · Deer Park · Diamond Springs · Hinkley Springs · Ice Mountain · Kandiyohi · Kentwood Springs · Mayer Bros. · Mount Olympus · Nursery Water · Ozarka · Poland Spring · Pure Flo · Puritan Springs · Shenandoah · Sierra Springs · Sparkletts · Zephyrhills
FLUORIDE and CANCER: Fluoride has been to shown to thicken but weaken bones, and worse mutate normal genetic cells into cancer cells. Some researchers believe that fluorine is a carcinogen. The National Cancer Institute, the New Jersey Department of Health, and the Safe Water Foundation all found that the incidence of osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer) is substantially higher in young men exposed to fluoridated water as compared to those who are not.
Because of everything the fluoride is linked to, it is estimated that 30,000 – 50,000 people die from fluoride poisoning each year. (http://fluoridealert.org/)
What can you do? Filter your drinking water with a well-made reverse osmosis filter system that is able to remove over 90% of dissolved fluoride in drinking water.
Side note: The skin is our largest organ and absorbs what is put on it. Showering, bathing, washing our hands, etc with our over-polluted, fluoridated water is allowing our skin to absorb the toxic drug. Consider a filter for your showers and sinks as well as your drinking water.
(I’ll take a second to love on our Berkey water filter now.)