Change yourself and the world around will change

What are the diaper manufacturers hiding?!

There used to be generations willing to make something for the mankind. Now whether they create something it is only for a personal gain.
Alexander Viyazemka

A man who introduced disposable diapers to the world thought about himself, he did not care for the well-being of children. Victor Mills, a chemical engineer, once babysat his grandsons and a thought of changing and cleaning dirty nappies was unbearable for him. He came up with an idea of a disposable diaper, he was led by selfishness and a simple wish to make his own life easier. He barely thought about his grandsons.

It is important to note that first disposable diapers manufactured by Procter&Gamble did not suc-ceed in the marketplace. Sensible parents did not want to put PE underwear on their children. The brave ones who tried it, swiftly stopped their experiments because of the intense skin irritation. But the manufacturers did not give up — they continued to meticulously work on the product. When they came up with the most favorable, customer-friendly shape, the company launched a mass production under «Pampers», now a world-wide known brand. (To pamper — to coddle, to care with excessive indulgence, kindness). Excessive advertising played its part and polyethylene children’s underwear took over the planet starting from 1959.
Nowadays nobody seriously considers the question whether our children really need diapers. In-ternet is full of myths and speculations, young mothers share their opinions and insights, but parents are reluctant to cease using such a useful product of modern civilization. Should they, though? Let’s try to look at disposable diapers from multiple angles to find out the truth.

Layers and product composition

Disposable diapers consist of several layers:
- Outer waterproof layer - Back-Sheet - is a thin polyethylene sheet or a non-woven material, lam-inated with a porous polyethylene foil. This layer keeps moisture inside the absorbent layer.

- After the PE foil there is a napkin made out of bleached with chlorine cellulose. It is a wrapper for the adsorbent powder.

- The main part of the diaper is the layer of a super-adsorbent, covered with hydrophilic shell — it keeps the skin dry. Hydrophilic shell draws in water, that is why all moisture in the diapers goes straight to the adsorbent layer. When in contact with urine adsorbent soaks it in and swells. Ad-sorbent consists of polyacrylate granules. Usually sodium polyacrylate is in use. In 1985 Sodium polyacrylate was forbidden to use in the manufacture of women’s tampons because of the doc-umented cases of toxic shock syndrome that women experienced. There is no clinically tested information on whether this substance is dangerous for babies. There are no researches con-ducted to explore this problem. 

- Inner layer - top-sheet - is in contact with babies’ skin - it is manufactured out of a soft material that oozes the fluid in one direction. It is manufactured from unwoven material, which consists of polypropylene and polyether fibers.

It is obvious that a diaper is a PE underwear for children, manufactured out of synthetic materials with a questionable adsorbent layer.

These days new ultra-breathable diapers are heavily advertised. As the advertisement states, these diapers breathe, that makes them more appealing compared to the other types of diapers. However the experts think that diapers cannot breathe because of the required polyethylene outer-shell.

Alexander Melnykov, MD, indicates: «In theory, we can assume that there is an incredibly minus-cule perforation that makes the PE foil «breathable» and at the same time waterproof. Although then, this disposable product must cost like gold jewelry.»

Half-truth #1. Overheating

Child’s thermo regulation is different from that of a grown up, it is not sufficiently developed yet. Bigger skin surface for a 1 kg of weight and a dense vascular system of babies leads to a more faster heat loss. Babies sweat faintly when they experience overheating and their muscles don’t tremble while undercooled. Babies’ thermo regulation consists of chemical mechanisms such as a boost and a deceleration of inner heat. These system deficiencies mean that babies might get cold easily in a warm room and overheat faster if the temperature goes up.

It is important to specify that babies will cry loudly and thrash about when they feel undercooled, but they just get red, languid and sleepy when they are overheated.
Disposable diapers cover 30% of the babies’ skin surface. Since the diaper is manufactured out of the synthetic material, that clings tightly to the skin of a baby, it works as a compress. It means that a diaper prevents healthy airflow, sweating and heat exchange. Skin respiration on this area of skin is troubled. After the urine evaporates temperature in the diaper rises up to 0,1-0,5 °С, temperature of the body rises up to 36,7-37°С.

It is wise to take off the diaper at home so the child would not experience overheating, even if it is minor and local.

Half-truth #2. Harm for boys

Negative effects of overheating and moisture in the diaper on spermatogenesis and male repro-ductive system is still quite controversial. Those who support this theory say that the greenhouse effect in the diaper leads to irreversible changes in the tissue of a testicle. This results in infertility and a loss of potency in the future. However there is no scientific evidence for this notion and those are just guesses by now.
In 1997 german endocrinologists measured temperature of the skin of scrotum of boys aged up to 1 year old who used cotton diapers and disposable diapers. In cotton diapers temperature of the scrotum was 34,9°С, and in disposable diapers — 36°С. However the rise in the temperature doesn’t cause any harm to the tissue of a testicle because adaptive qualities of thermo regulation help to maintain constant temperature inside the scrotum.

In order to understand what happens in the testicles of young boys, we’ll talk about anatomy and physiology of a testicle. A testicle starts to develop in the abdominal cavity and at the time of birth it is already in the scrotum. New born’s seminiferous tubules look like continuous cell cords without gaps. The gaps form at 7-8 years old. That is when individual gametes appear. First gametes ap-pears at 10-15 years old. Boys’ spermatogenesis starts after they are at least 7 years old. New borns don’t have spermatogenesis, hence it is impossible to suppress it. Hormonal activity of Leydig cells (they produce male hormones - testosterone and androgens) is also minimal in the child’s first years. 

In 1968 urologist Taylor Robinson examined the effect of high temperature on spermatogenesis of adult males by dipping a scrotum in warm water. Suppression of spermatogenesis starts at 45°С, duration of exposure to the hot water must be for at least 30 minutes throughout 14 days.

Although, there is a curious fact that gives a different turn to this question. About 100 years ago, in England, «diapers» were used by pastoralists to sterilize rams. They places warm fur pouches onto ram’s testicles to dry them instead of a painful castration. This is something to reflect on.

These facts show differences in the views on the harm that diapers can cause to male reproductive system. Even so, to consciously deny the fact, that according to male anatomy it is better not to expose male genitalia to overheating, is unwise and silly. That is why a sensible parent should consider to decrease the usage of diapers for baby boys and make sure to keep a baby ventilated and cool.

Half-truth #3. Harm for girls

Girls’ reproductive system is more open to infections.That is why modern science associates dia-pers with early vaginitis, oral candidiasis, synechia, cystitis and disorders of genitourinary system. It is true that PU membrane creates perfect conditions for anaerobic bacteria, especially those, which come out with feces and then stay in a wet warm and non ventilated environment for a couple of hours. This provokes a development of infections.

Untimely change of diapers, no proper hygiene and care are the factors that actually harms girls’ health. So we need clinical proof of the harm for girls to officially call diapers unhealthy.

Half-truth #4. Dermatitis

Here is another controversial point - that diapers cause dermatitis - the skin turns red, itchy and babies get diaper rash. The cause of diaper dermatitis is urine ammonia’s effect on the skin of ba-bies. Urine ammonia appears after uric acid mixes with feces. Urine stays in the diaper, adsorbent just absorbs it, so the risk of dermatitis is high. The risk of allergic reaction is also high, since man-ufacturers often add creams and lotions for further care of the skin.

Timely change of diapers, frequent washing, applying lotion to crevices, air-baths will help to pre-vent allergic reactions and dermatitis.

Diapers and the development of baby’s mental health

Baby’s development goes according to nature, it doesn’t matter whether we know it or not, believe it or not, agree with it or disagree with it. Person’s intellectual development is not just accumulation of knowledge, it is learning to make cause-and-effect relationships. This skill is the basis of the future individual, it develops in the baby’s first year. The worldview forms in the infancy, first intellectual discoveries happen in the diapers. A baby needs a big mental work to establish first cause-and-effect relationships between urges to urinate and defecate and the results that follow.

In disposable diapers babies are deprived of the first «scientific» discovery, the first natural impulse for the intellectual development is frozen. A baby learns the environment through his or hers body. Theirs mind is based on tactile contact. When babies are deprived of necessary sensations, there is nothing to talk about further development of intellect. For timely and harmonious development babies need to have contact with their mother and father: to touch different textures, such as sand, water, fabrics, stones, grass, trees. And they have to study their own bodies by touching and feeling the sensation of urination and defecation.

It does not necessarily mean that babies should lie in their wastes and create a mess out of it. It means that babies must feel their wastes and understand the sensations, emotions and actions that will follow. Wearing diapers prevents children from these discoveries.

The effect of diapers on mental growth does not end after the first year of babies’ life. When babies are deprived of natural tactile sensations they can loose interest for kinesthetic explorations alto-gether. Thats how squeamish and neatnik one and two years olds emerge — that is a disaster for the intellectual and mental development, which is naturally turned to everyday learning and studying the environment.

Diapers and the world

My environmental education does not allow me be silent about the effects of diapers on the world-wide scale. I visit wastewater plants and solid household waste landfills. PU is everywhere. Plastic containers, bags, cans, bottles, pads, boxes, packaging and diapers.

If a baby grew up using disposable diapers, then theirs parents contribution to environmental pollu-tion is 2,5 tons. And the usage of diapers until a baby turns 1 year old contributes «just» a ton. It takes 500 years for 1 diaper to decompose because of it consists of synthetic materials. A dense plastic bag, in which the diaper will be wrapped for comfort reasons will decompose in 1000 years. That is such a dignified legacy for posterity. Such a glorious collective karma, so to speak.
Evgeny Komarovski, well-known pediatrician, said: «Disposable diapers as solid household waste that can harm the environment are one of the most significant problems right now. That problem is especially relevant in our country, since our recycling policies leave a lot to be desired. It doesn’t make it easier that all reputable manufacturers declare their diapers biodegradable, or inert and harmless for environment.»

Diapers and karmic consequences

Usually parents never stop to think why were the children brought into the world and prefer to mol-lycoddle and pamper them to utmost comfort. Parents target all their efforts to maintain the feelings of calm, bliss and happiness in their child. A baby, though, is first and foremost, a soul, that comes into our world to learn its lessons and gain experience. The more artificial is the environment, the longer the delusion, attachment to comfort and endless consumption of this world will exist.
«How is this connected to diapers?» - you might ask with a smile. A diaper is the first reality distor-tion tool a parent uses. It sounds scary and unnerving, but babies must get negative experiences and living through them daily, they have to learn how to perceive the real world. Babies must not be kept in perpetual bliss and serenity. For a harmonious mental and spiritual development babies ought to experience discomfort. Negative emotions are as important as positive. From the first days of life, the discomfort of urinating and defecating is a natural way of living through their first negative emotions and distress.

When parents enchain babies in a diaper, they stop babies from experiencing their first lesson of cause and consequence, thus put off karma, which will be lived through later, that is more harm then good coming from our perception of the world distorted by civilization. Babies, who grew up using diapers will grow up to be adults with unconscious attachment to comfort, illusory happiness and sensuous pleasures. Following quote by Neil Gaiman clearly illustrates world perception of modern children: “I was a normal child. Which is to say, I was selfish and I was not entirely con-vinced of the existence of things that were not me, and I was certain, rock-solid, unshakably cer-tain, that I was the most important thing in creation. There was nothing that was more important to me than I was.” 
Parents who refuse to stop using diapers because of their convenience are unconsciously nurtur-ing egoism in themselves. If they remove diapers from use, mothers and fathers will have to spend more time with their babies, tolerate additional discomfort, waste their time on washing and care, listen to and look at their babies thoroughly and attentively. Monotonously teach their kid to sit down, just like our mothers and grandmothers.

Everything is interconnected and nothing disappears completely. A diaper looks like such a simple invention. It is just another product of civilization, one among many others. But a single whole is made out of a variety of elements. A drop in the ocean is still an ocean. From the point of view of civilization, diapers are the cause of a spoiled, mollycoddled generation of children, just as it was conceived by sellers-inventors. From the point of view of the planets’ karmic well-being, billions of tons of PU diapers will entail a century long debt, which we all will pay through multiple reincarna-tions on this planet. We rarely think about that. Eugene Scribe, a french dramatist once said: «We should never neglect small quantities, through them we come to the big ones.» 
this material has been contributed by Anastasia Kaurova