The Poop on Eco-Friendly Diapers

Whole Foods may sell fair-trade coffee and potatoes that you can
be sure are not gene-spliced, but when it comes to diapers, your
baby presents an environmental hazard no matter what you buy.
‘Diapering is arguably the most important decision parents could
make for the environment and their young children, who are in
diapers around the clock for upward of two years,’ Elisa Batista
writes for Wired News. But, contrary to popular belief,
biodegradable disposable diapers ‘aren’t much better for the
environment or the health of her baby than the Huggies and Pampers
piled up in landfills.’

John A. Shiffert, executive director of the National Association
of Diaper Services, reports the sobering facts: the average baby
goes through 5,000 diapers before being potty-trained, and most of
those are disposable diapers that end up in landfills. These
diapers made up 2.1 percent of all garbage in the United States in
1998, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. And they
don’t break down in airtight landfills — not even biodegradable
ones. ‘Environmentally [biodegradable] diapers require as much
water, energy, and fuel to produce as any other single-use diaper,’
according to the latest newsletter from the cloth diaper service
Tiny Tots. ‘The bottom line is they offer no environmental or
health benefits.’

One reason for young parents to sleep sounder at night, however,
is the guarantee that neither cloth nor disposable diapers will
harm their babies. Despite the mini-scare campaign launched by
cloth diaper services and some researchers, ‘there is no evidence
that sufficient traces of the chemicals remain on the [disposable]
diapers to harm babies.’
Jacob Wheeler

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Poop on Eco-Friendly Diapers

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