Harmful Chemicals Found In Disposable Diapers As Part Of Recent Study

Disposable diapers have made life for parents a LOT easier, although many of us probably don’t see it at first. Single-use, disposable diapers have become a way of life for new parents, but a recent study has shown that they might not be such a great choice, after all. Some of the chemicals found in disposable diapers have been found to have some seriously harmful health conditions in some infants. The chemicals have been known to cause everything from rashes and allergies to asthma and other respiratory issues. Here’s a closer look at some of those harmful chemicals.


When we picture disposable diapers, we likely think of the bright white color first. That stark whiteness is achieved by bleaching the diapers in chlorine. However, this can create a byproduct called dioxins, which the EPA has said can actually cause cancer. They’ve also been no to cause skin irritation and complications to the nervous system, immune system, and reproductive system.

Sodium Polyacrylate

This chemical does all of the dirty work—so to speak—in disposable diapers. It’s the chemical responsible for soaking up liquids and preventing leaks. The tiny, gel-like crystals used as filler in the diapers can sometimes end up on babies’ skin. This can cause everything from skin irritations to respiratory issues. It’s a relatively new addition to diapers, so there haven’t been any conclusive studies yet as to the long-term effects of the chemical.


Some disposable diapers have been found to contain this chemical. The EPA says that tributyl-tin is a toxic pollutant that is harmful to aquatic life. Given that it doesn’t break down, when diapers aren’t properly disposed of it can harm the environment. Some studies have shown this chemical can cause genetic defects that increase the production of fat in the body, resulting in excessive obesity.

Volatile Organic Compounds

The volatile organic compounds present in disposable diapers can include toluene, dipentene, xylene, and ethylbenzene. All of these chemicals have been known to cause irritation to the throat and nose, as well as eye, liver, kidney, and central nervous system, according to the EPA.