In your search for your ideal diapers, you are probably looking for the cleanest, purest and most effective diapers out there, right? You may have seen a variety of acronyms and claims used among various brands, including TCF, which stands for "totally chlorine free". If you're wondering why chlorine is used in some diapers and why you might want to stay away from it, we will be exploring all that, and more in this blog post.
Chlorine is typically used in diapers and sanitary products to “purify” and bleach the absorbent pulp. In addition, some brands use chlorine to whiten diaper material as consumers tend to associate pure white with cleanliness. Using chlorine though, leaves behind toxic residue that can cause a variety of negative outcomes. Fortunately, there are much cleaner and safer alternatives.
Exposure to dioxins. One of the primary toxins results as a by-product of chlorine bleaching and other industrial processes; dioxins. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), continued exposure to dioxins can harm our children's reproductive and immune systems, alter liver function, disrupt hormones, and cause cancer. They can also cause developmental problems and delays. Dioxins are stored in fatty tissue and are therefore extremely difficult to eliminate from the body, commonly remaining for 7-11 years after exposure.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that dioxins are a likely human carcinogen and “persistent, bio accumulative, and toxic chemical.” Sadly, dioxins are present in some brands of baby food, bath products, and other common items. However, you can significantly limit your baby’s exposure to dioxins by selecting diapers, like those from Eco Pea Co., that are totally chlorine free, as well as taking measures in other areas of your life.
Increased risk of an allergic reaction. While diapers that use chlorine can potentially cause the long-term health effects we’ve mentioned, these diapers also have a higher chance of causing an allergic reaction over their non TCF counterparts. The most common allergic reaction to a diaper that is not TCF is an uncomfortable rash that might worsen if the baby is continually exposed to diapers produced with the use of chlorine.
Negative environmental impacts. In addition to being a threat to baby’s health, disposable diapers made with chlorine can be a worse choice for the environment. Commonly, after chlorine is used to bleach diapers, and purify pulp, it enters local water supplies where it mixes with minerals and other elements that can result in dangerous toxins. These toxins can cause mutations and sterility in wildlife, and could even contribute to the extinction of certain species. These harmful toxins can also leach into soil, potentially contaminating food sources for animals and humans. The air is also impacted, as factories that use chlorine bleach emit toxins into the atmosphere, which can result in ozone depletion, and respiratory irritation in those exposed to the air.
The potential side effects of using chlorine in the production of diapers, and other household products, has caused many countries to ban chlorine bleach, or restrict its use. This makes a lot of sense, especially in relation to diapers, as babies typically use 2,200 to 3,000 diapers in their first year. That can lead to significant exposure that can easily be avoided.
Fortunately, the solution is as simple as choosing diapers that are marked as "TCF" that use much cleaner and safer options like oxygen, ozone, or peroxide to purify the pulp instead. In addition to being free of the toxins that come with chlorine use, TCF diapers may be biodegradable and antibacterial, like ours. We are proud to offer TCF diapers that are free of dioxins and other chemicals like alcohol, fragrances, phthalates and more. These chemicals are typically used in order to keep costs down as they are much cheaper, and though cleaner practices can sometimes cost a fraction more than others, we think there is no question that your baby's health and the health of the environment should always come first.
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