Cloth Advice

Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery Tips & Helpful Information


by Calgary’s best cloth diaper service – Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery

Cloth diapering your baby at night doesn’t have to be a challenge. Here are a few helpful tips from Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery Service Calgary to help you ensure your baby is happy through the night and their nappy doesn’t cause you any grief!


Overnight diapers will need to hold a little more moisture. Be sure to have enough absorbent material to handle the extra.

Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery service will provide you with additional soaker pads to add to baby’s diaper for overnight comfort. These inserts will sit directly  between the diaper and baby’s bottom to provide the additional absorbency your baby needs at night.


By design, Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery diapers have premium moisture resistance. The micro-fleece inner layer wicks away wetness from baby’s skin bringing  the wetness to the inner core and lastly to the micro-fiber terry shell. Many parents also use fleece pants or pajamas for an extra line of defense.


Pay close attention to the fit of the diaper. Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery offers different sizes for different stages of your baby’s growth. Ensuring that your baby has the proper fit around the legs and waist is important for absorbency and leakage protection.

Ensure your diaper cover is fitted correctly snugly around legs and waist. There should be no gaping holes for moisture to escape. Equally, the nappy cover should not be too tight as to cause discomfort or marks on baby’s skin. We are more than happy to show you, with your baby, the proper fit if you need our help.

Cloth Diapering Overnight


by Calgary’s Best Cloth Diaper Service – Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery Service Calgary

Time to go back to work…now what? Will I be able to use cloth diapers at a daycare or day home? Sure you will, we did. You will need to ask a few more questions when interviewing your childcare providers. Please download and read through the tip sheet provided by the real diaper association below. You don’t have to switch from cloth nappies just because you are going back to work and your baby will be happier for it.Daycare-tip-sheet

Cloth and Childcare


By Calgary’s Best Cloth Diaper Service Pumpkin’s Delivery Service

Travelling with your baby and using Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery Cloth diaper service is easy with a few pointers.


First consider how long you will be gone. Plan ahead by counting your baby’s daily diaper usage while at home. Bring enough diapers to accommodate your outing, wipes, changing mat, and a waterproof tote/bag to carry your soiled diapers while traveling.

Another thing to remember is that you are dealing with car seats. That means your baby is going to be in one position for longer than normal periods of time. Your baby’s diaper will be compressed under them in the seat. For longer car rides it would be a good time to use a soaker liner inside your Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery diaper.

Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery diapers will no doubt be more comfortable for your baby than a disposable diaper. They will allow your baby’s skin to breathe and the fleece inner layer will feel dry and cozy while wicking moisture away from baby’s skin. A disposable on the other hand keeps that moisture and heat held right there in the diaper against your baby; making a hot and clammy environment.

Ensure your diaper cover is fitted correctly around baby’s legs and back. The cover should be snug but should not leave marks on a baby’s skin. Make sure baby’s clothes are loose. Tight fitting clothing will only compress the diaper more and increase the possibility of leaks at the legs and waist. Diapers peed while in the car seat will saturate and leave baby uncomfortable. Be attentive and change baby regularly.

Cloth on the Go!


Our number one goal as parents is to keep our children happy and healthy. Here are a few tips on how to change a squirmy baby’s nappy. It’s never easy when they wiggle around on the change table but hopefully some of these suggestions can help!

When you attempt to change the diaper of a squirmy older baby, there are four things you need to keep in mind.

  1. Be calm. Getting frustrated and worked up doesn’t make it easier.
  2. Have plenty of toys handy. Make sure these are toys that the baby doesn’t see or play with very much. You don’t need to have traditional toys, either. Many things can be toys; an empty makeup compact, a tennis ball, a set of keys, a bath toy, a plastic animal, and a tube of diaper cream.
  3. Sing songs that engage the baby. “If You are Happy and You Know it”, ” “Wheels on the Bus” “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
  4. Maintain your sense of humor. Even though it can be frustrating, it is also pretty cute when a naked baby tries to escape during the diaper change, especially if they’re is laughing.


Diaper rash usually worsens with moist skin. Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery Service Calgary offers premium diapers for wicking moisture away from baby’s skin and keeping them comfortable, dry and happy.

Regardless of the type of nappy used, it is important to change them frequently, every 2-3 hours, even if they feel dry.

Real Diaper News Articles from the Real Diaper Association Quarterly Newsletter

Diaper Rash: Comparing Diaper Choices by Angelique Mullen August 2005

Most new parents have experienced changing their baby’s diaper to find their skin covered in a red, splotchy rash. When my daughter was two weeks old, she had her first diaper rash. At the time, we had only used cloth diapers a handful of times. Not knowing what other options we had, we were also using disposable baby wipes when we changed her. My daughter’s rash developed slowly, and eventually became bleeding red. Every time we changed her diaper, she let out blood-curdling screams. I sometimes cried with her, frustrated because I did not know what to do for my sweet baby.

It was at this time that I started going to a new-parent support group. Another mother looked at my daughter’s rash and suggested I use cotton and warm water to clean her diaper area. She was convinced it was the wipes that were causing my baby’s rash.

At the same meeting, a father in the group told me about the flannel squares that he and his wife used on their daughter. It gave me an idea. I went home and cut up an old flannel sheet. I made about a hundred squares of plain flannel wipes. Wetting our new homemade wipes with warm water only, we used them and her rash cleared up in a matter of days.

Diaper rash, also known as diaper dermatitis, is the most common type of rash in infancy, with most children experiencing it at least once by the time they learn to use the toilet.

Why do babies get diaper rash? While there are a variety of factors that contribute to rash, the most common reason is excessive moisture against the skin (Boiko, 1997). Usually, a baby will feel a wet cloth diaper because it can be hard to avoid the wetness. Cloth diapers are usually changed more often. Many parents leave disposable diapers on their baby too long. There is urine in the diaper and bacteria in the urine. When the ammonia in urine mixes with the plastic, the baby’s skin does not get a chance to breathe and the bacteria can grow. Babies who urinate frequently or have diarrhea and frequent bowel movements can often be more
prone to rash. The frequency of diaper dermatitis decreases as the number of diaper changes increases. It is not known how much exposure to urine or feces is necessary to generate irritation, but one study recommended changing newborns every hour and older babies every 3-4 hours, no matter what kind of diaper they are wearing (Shin, 2005).

There are other reasons for rash, such as food allergies, yeast infection, skin sensitivity, chafing, and chemical irritation. For older babies who have started eating solids, diaper rash can result from the introduction of new foods. Food sensitivities can develop and change the content of a baby’s stool, increasing the likelihood of dermatitis. Also, some foods can raise the frequency of bowel movements, adding another source of irritation. Changes in a breastfeeding mother’s diet may alter the baby’s stool, causing rash (Boiko, 1979).

Yeast infection rashes or candidal dermatitis can easily grow in the diaper area, especially if a baby has been taking antibiotics for a bacterial infection. Antibiotics kill the bacteria causing the infection, but they can also kill the bacteria that prevent yeast from developing. Without these bacteria, the warm, moist environment of the diaper area makes an ideal breeding ground for yeast infections (Kazzi). Babies with sensitive skin are also more prone to diaper rash. Those with atopic dermatitis or eczema may be more likely to develop diaper rashes, although they will usually get a rash on other parts of their bodies, too (Wong, 1992).

Another type of diaper rash is tidemark dermatitis. Tight diapers or bindings that rub against the baby’s skin can cause painful chafing (Kazzi).

Some diaper rash may be caused by chemical irritation. Disposable diapering products, including wipes, are composed of many chemicals that are likely skin
irritants. Residual detergent, bleach or fabric softener used to launder cloth diapers and lotions or creams used in diapering can also be bothersome. (Kazzi). In my daughter’s case, we concluded that the chemicals in the commercial wipes we were using were probably causing her newborn rash.

As common as it is today, diaper dermatitis is a relatively new phenomenon. Fred Weiner, a Montreal doctor who studied rash in the 1970’s, reported that diaper rash was almost unheard of before the use of rubber or plastic pants in the 1940’s (Weiner, 1979). In an article published in the Journal of Pediatrics in 1959, before the introduction of disposable diapers, only 7.1% of 1,505 babies in a one-time clinical study had diaper rash (Tanino, 1959). In a study of diaper rash in the 1980’s, some twenty years after the invention of disposable diapers, 63% of 1,050 babies had diaper rash at least once in an 8-week period (Gaunder and Plummer, 1987). The most recent study I reviewed reported that at least half of all babies will exhibit rash at least once during their diapering years (Shin, 2005).

Why would wearing disposable diapers lead to higher incidence of dermatitis? Weiner believed the lack of airflow in a tight-fitting plastic cover to be one of the main factors for rash. He noted that babies also developed rash from plastic or rubber pants (Weiner, 1979).

Disposable diapers are made using a large variety of in chemicals and the manufacturers are not required to disclose these chemical ingredients. Consumers should be aware of what chemicals are present in disposable diapers. Ingredients include polyethylene film, polypropylene plastic, bleached paper pulp, petrolatum, stearyl alcohol, hot melts (glue), elastic, cellulose tissue, and perfume. There are also super absorbent polymers (SAP), sometimes called absorbent gelling material, that keep the diaper from leaking. SAP has been known to cause skin irritations and severe allergic reactions including vomiting, staph infections and fever. The use of super-absorbent polymers was banned from tampons in 1985 due to links to toxic shock syndrome. When wet, this gel can escape through the liner and end up in direct contact with a child’s skin (Landbank, 1991).

In disposable diapers, there are also traces of dioxin and tributyl-tin (TBT), two highly toxic chemicals. TBT is known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals (Greenpeace, 2000). Dioxin is a by-product of the bleaching process. Dioxin is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. It is banned in most countries but not in the U.S (Greenpeace, 1994).

Considering this list of ingredients, it might be expected that research would show a higher incidence of rash and allergic reactions in babies wearing disposable diapers. How do researchers view the connection between diapers and dermatitis? What type of diapers cause more rash?

The dozens of studies I surveyed appear to favor the use of disposable diapers for rash prevention. Also, most pediatricians seem to believe that disposable
diapers are superior to cloth when it comes to keeping babies dry and rash-free. In fact, studies and medical professionals in favor of cloth diapers are hard to find. Why? If disposable diapers put harmful chemicals next to babies’ skin, it would make sense that throwaway diapers would cause more rash. The reasons may be economic and political.

Fred Weiner was an early exception to the tendency to favor disposable diapers. Dr. Weiner, the Montreal doctor previously mentioned, studied 146 infants who appeared for their one-month checkup. He reported that babies wearing disposables had 20% more incidences of diaper rash than babies wearing cloth diapers with plastic pants, and three times more than babies wearing cloth alone. He did not, however, gather information on the frequency of diaper changes or the overall health of the babies, which could have been a factor in the development of the rashes. He also did not blind his study, which means that he knew which parents used cloth and which ones used throwaway diapers. Regardless, he came to the conclusion that disposable diapers were not allowing the babies’ skin to breathe, and airtight fitting diapers should be avoided (Weiner, 1997).

Another study (supported by a grant from Johnson and Johnson) in 1982 also failed to demonstrate superiority of disposable diapers. Unlike previous studies, this was “double-blinded,” which means that not only were the examiners of the rash unaware of what kind of diapers the participants were using, the mothers of the infants studied were not aware they were participating in a study about diaper rash. This eliminated any bias by parents or the examiners toward a particular
diapering system. The study was also controlled to some extent by standardizing skin care. No specific recommendations were given with respect to laundry practices or the frequency of diaper changes. The results showed that there was no significant difference between cloth and disposables when it came to diaper
rash (Stein, 1982).

During the first 20 years that disposable diapers were on the market, they were composed of cellulose fluff as an absorbent. In the mid-1980s, sodium polyacrylate (SAP) gel began to replace cellulose fluff. SAP is able to absorb liquid in excess of 80 times its weight. For a few years after SAP diapers were introduced, they
were sold alongside the old cellulose disposables without SAP. Eventually, throwaway diaper manufacturers stopped making “non-SAP” disposable (Shin, 2005). Today, unless you buy eco-friendly disposables in a natural food store, all disposable diapers contain SAP.

The pro-disposable studies claim that super-absorbent polymers themselves are the reason fewer babies get rash with this type of diaper. Most pediatricians seem to believe it also. They claim that diaper rash is due to excess skin moisture, and the SAP in disposables wick the moisture away from the baby’s skin (Boiko, 1997). On closer inspection, it appears that many of the studies favoring disposable diapers are influenced by the manufacturers, who either sponsor the research or adjust the way in which the results are presented.

For example, two studies conducted in 1987 found that babies wearing diapers with absorbent gelling material had significantly less rash than babies wearing home-laundered cotton diapers. One study compared three different diapering systems — two types of disposable diapers as well as home-laundered cloth. However, the study did not control how the cotton diapers were used or laundered. No mention is made of the type of cotton diaper or the type of cover used (plastic or wool). Detergent was not standardized or measured, and there is no note of how often diapers were washed. The authors even admit, “No attempt was made to control or change the diaper care or the skin care habits of the participating families.” (Campbell et al, 1987).

There are other problems with this study. The participants using the two types of disposables were blinded, meaning that those who were grading the rash and taking measurements did not know what diapering product was used on that particular baby. However, the cloth-diapered group was not blinded. If researchers had biases against cloth diapering, this could easily have influenced their conclusions. A leading disposable diaper company sponsored the study.

Another study done on diaper maintenance in 1989 compared seven brands of reusable diapers of various types (cotton, birdseye, terry, flannel among others), four types of “conventional” disposable diapers (the kind without SAP), and five types of disposables with SAP. Again, the diapers with SAP were found to be better at keeping the skin dry. There was no difference found between cloth diapers and conventional disposables when it came to dryness (Wilson, 1990).

This study, however, was not conducted on babies. They used college-age volunteers who did not wear diapers, but instead wore, on their arms, square patch samples cut from the diapers. Each diaper patch was loaded with synthetic urine made from distilled water, sodium, chloride and a non-ionic surfactant. Participants had to wear the patches of fake urine for two hours. The moisture absorbed by the patch was recorded. How relevant can this be if it is not measured on a baby’s skin? The laundry practices were not.

I do not find that the question of rash and diaper systems has been adequately addressed by the research. I am not satisfied with the generalizations of
researchers and pediatricians. Although many doctors might disagree, it seems risky for babies to spend years with throwaway diapers papered to their bottoms. While there are a variety of factors that contribute to rash, the most common reason is excessive moisture against the skin. Usually, a baby will feel a wet cloth diaper because it can be hard to avoid the wetness. Cloth diapers are usually changed more often. Many parents leave disposable diapers on their baby too long. There is urine in the diaper and bacteria in the urine. When the ammonia in urine mixes with the plastic, the baby’s skin does not get a chance to breathe and the bacteria can grow.

It may be that previous studies don’t provide satisfactory answers because they don’t consider advances in design of both cloth and disposable diapers. The old
studies comparing conventional, cellulose disposable diapers and “old-style” cloth diapers are worth learning from, but they are not relevant to today’s diapers. Disposable diaper manufacturers have significant financial resources to spend on research and development, and are constantly trying to prove with science that their products are superior to cloth diapers. As a result, their diapers have changed. Cloth diapers, also, have changed dramatically since the days of plastic or rubber pants that did not let babies’ skin breathe. Today, parents use a wide variety of cloth products, including all-in-one and pocket diapers. Some parents do not use plastic of any kind to diaper their child, preferring to use only wool covers over cotton diapers.

It seems clear that now is the time for new research on diaper rash. In order to ever find an adequate answer to this issue, we need a new study on diaper rash that is independent of disposable diaper manufacturers. It needs to be blinded and controlled with standardized laundry practices, a variety of cloth diapers and covers used, and an equal number of diaper changes performed. Independent research also needs to be done on the health effect of SAP on infants and other chemicals that are present in throwaway disposable diapers. We need unbiased research that examines all angles of rash and the role of diapers. Until then, change your babies frequently and keep their bottoms clean. Diaper rash is ultimately under the control of the primary caregivers.

  • Sources:
    Allsopp, Michelle. Achieving Zero Dioxin: An emergency strategy for dioxin elimination. September 1994. Greenpeace.
    Boiko, S. (1997). Diapers and diaper rashes. Dermatology Nursing. 2/1/1997.
    Borkowski, S. (2004). Diaper rash care and management. Pediatric Nursing, 11/1/2004.
    Campbell, R. et al. (1987). Clinical studies with disposable diapers. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 17: 978-987.
    Gaunder, B. and E. Plummer. (1987). Diaper rash: managing and controlling a common problem in infants and toddlers. Journal of Pediatric Health
    Care. 1: 26-34.
    Greenpeace. New Tests Confirm TBT Poison in Procter & Gamble’s Pampers: Greenpeace Demands World-Wide Ban of Organotins in All Products.
    15 May 2000.
    Kazzi, A.A. Pediatrics, Diaper Rash. eMedicine,
    The Landbank Consultancy Limited. A Review of Procter & Gamble’s Environmental Balances for Disposable and Re-useable Nappies. July 1991.
    Seymour, J.L. et al (1987). Clinical effects of diaper types on the skin of normal infants and infants with atopic dermatitis. Journal of the
    American Academy of Dermatology, 17: 988-997.
    Shin, H.T. (2005). Diaper dermatitis that does not quit. Dermatologic Therapy, 18: 124-135.
    Stein, H. (1982). Incidence of diaper rash when using cloth and disposable diapers. The Journal of Pediatrics, 101: 721-723.
    Tanino, J. et al. (1959). The relationship of perinatal dermatitis to fecal pH. The Journal of Pediatrics, 54: 793-800.
    Weiner, F. (1979). The relationship of diapers to diaper rashes in the one-month-old infant. The Journal of Pediatrics, 95: 422-424.
    Wilson, P.A. et al. (1990). Diaper Performance: Maintenance of Healthy Skin. Pediatric Dermatology, 7: 179-184.
    Wong, D.L. et al. (1992). Diapering Choices: A Critical Review of the Issues. Pediatric Nursing, 18: 41-54.


With the introduction of Pampers disposable diapers in 1961 we are now seeing the impact of disposable diapers on Health and Environment. Have a look at the history of diapers and make an educated choice for using cloth diapers and Pumpkin’s Diaper Delivery Service Calgary. Let’s work together to make a better future. A Happy baby starts with Pumpkin’s premium nappy.

The Politics of Diapers
By the Mothering Staff
Issue 116, January – February 2003

1961 Proctor and Gamble (P&G) introduces Pampers.

1971 Pennsylvania Boy Scouts conducting a highway cleanup campaign report that the largest single source of litter is the disposable diaper. Disposable diapers contribute 171,000 dry weight tons of waste to be processed by US sewage systems. (M. A. Shapiro, Preliminary Study of the Environmental Impacts from Processing and Disposal of Diapers)

1975, February In comparing the effectiveness of several brands of disposable diapers, Consumer Reports notes that trees are cut down in their manufacture,
enteric (intestinal) viruses and live polio viruses from vaccines have been found in feces in disposable diapers removed from “sanitary” landfills, flushing diapers can ruin septic tanks and plumbing lines and damage sewage-treatment plants, and only commercial incinerators can safely burn disposables.

1975, July Wildlife-management personnel complain of the increasing presence of throwaway diapers improperly disposed of in parks and preservation areas. In North Carolina, a marine biologist reports that raw sewage spilling from pipes clogged with disposable diapers is killing fish. (The Sentinel, Winston-Salem, July 31, 1975)

1975 “The presence of viruses in untreated human fecal matter in solid waste disposal sites originates largely from the increased, wide-spread use of disposable diapers, which often send feces to landfill sites rather than to the sewage plant. Small children and babies excrete large numbers of enteric viruses in their feces, and viruses from landfill sites might be leached out and contaminate underground water supplies.” (Baylor College of Medicine)

1975 The EPA warns that rainwater washing through dumps may carry viruses-which can live in compacted solid waste for up to two weeks-into underground streams, and from there into public and private water supplies. Improved sanitation during this century has made rare the diseases associated with direct contact withraw sewage: hepatitis A, shigella, salmonellosis, amebiasis, and typhoid. However, the University of Oregon Survival Center notes that outbreaks of shigella, salmonellosis, and hepatitis A are now more common in hospitals and daycare centers. The World Health Organization has called for an end to the inclusion of urine and fecal matter in solid waste.

1978 The Office of Appropriate Technology of Lane County, Oregon, takes three random samplings from a sanitary landfill and finds that disposable diapers comprise 16 percent, 26 percent, and 32 percent of the garbage extracted in each sample.

1979 Pediatrician Dr. Fred C. Weiner, of Montreal, Canada, studies one-month-old babies brought to a well-baby clinic for a period of one year and finds that disposables cause more frequent and more severe diaper rash. He advises limiting their use. (Journal of Pediatrics 95, September 1979)

1979 Oregon Senator Mary M. Burrows co-authors the state’s first proposed bill to ban the sale of disposables.

1981 Testimony on behalf of HB3047 and HB2838, the Disposable Diaper Ban Bill, before the Oregon House Energy and Environment Committee of the Legislative Assembly: “Valuable wood pulp goes into the manufacture of close to ten billion diapers annually. This represents in excess of 800,000,000 pounds of paper. All of this paper is used only once and thrown away. It cannot be recycled. Yet, the timber industry doesn’t have enough allowable cut at the same time that the public is increasing its use of recreational timberland and is clamoring for more. We cannot afford to sink our valuable and diminishing natural resources into throwaway diapers. Industry sources claim that disposable diapers require less energy than rewashing reusable (cloth) diapers. These claims must be rejected out-of-hand.

None of these energy use figures include the costs of sewage treatment or solid waste hauling and management, to say nothing of long-term costs of directing
natural resources from other uses.”

1986 “Over 40 percent of newborns in US hospitals are diapered in Ultra Pampers. In addition, the diaper has received a highly favorable response from
pediatricians. In fact, within the first five months of introduction, over 25 percent of your colleagues reported that they had recommended Ultra Pampers to parents of diaper-age children.” (“Dear Doctor,” a brochure enclosed in Proctor and Gamble’s Medigram, November 7, 1986)

1987 US disposable diaper revenues total $3.2 billion. 82,000 tons of plastic and 1.3 million tons of wood pulp-about a quarter of a million trees-are consumed annually in the production of disposable diapers.

1987 The Empire State Consumer Association petitions the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, and the New York State Attorney General’s office to prohibit the sale of synthetic super-absorbent disposable diapers and adult incontinence pads. The chemicals used in synthetic super-absorbent products contain sodium polyacrylate, cross-linked with polymers to create super-absorbent components. These chemicals can cause severe skin infections and, rarely, toxic shock syndrome.

1988 Proctor and Gamble pay $120,000 for a three-year study at the University of Michigan to determine the effects of sodium polyacrylate in disposable diapers once it enters a landfill. The researcher says that the study shows that disposables are environmentally safe. (UPI, July 28, 1988)

1989 EPA estimates that single-use diapers account for 2 percent of all solid waste in US landfills. A Seattle, Washington study finds that 1.8 percent of its municipal garbage is made up of diapers.

1989 In a study commissioned by the National Association of Diaper Services (NADS), Carl Lehrburger of Energy Answers Corporation, a resource recovery company in Albany, New York, estimates that parents pay ten cents in disposal costs for every dollar spent on throwaway diapers. With 18,000,000,000 soiled diapers being hauled to the landfill every year, Lehrburger figures that American mothers and fathers spend $300 million annually on disposable diapers that take 500 years to decompose. Throwaways comprise 2 percent of the nation’s solid waste by weight, making them the third most common solid waste item after newspapers and beverage and food containers. Even if all 18,000,000,000 of the single-use diapers disposed of annually in the US were biodegradable, the public would still spend $300 million each year for their disposal. Each famil y that chooses cloth diapers for their child prevents one ton of waste from entering the solid waste stream each year. (Diapers in the Waste Stream, 1989)

1989 Dioxin is produced when chlorinated compounds, such as chlorinated plastics, are burned at high temperatures. Dioxin is formed when paper and wood pulp are bleached. The bleached pulp is then converted into a variety of paper products, including disposable diapers. Dioxin has been associated with cancer, liver disease, miscarriage, immune-system depression, birth defects, and genetic damage in a variety of laboratory animals. The fatty tissue of the average person living in the industrialized world harbors measurable levels of dioxin. When Proctor and Gamble faces the possibility of losing its share of the Swedish diaper market because of that country’s curtailment of chlorinated pollution levels, the company begins making chlorine-free Pampers for export. (“Whitewash: The Dioxin Cover-Up,” Greenpeace 14, no. 2, March/April 1989)

1989 “Diapers are a good target for waste reduction advocates because with the exception of newspapers and beverage containers, they are the single consumer product that contributes the most to solid waste stream.” (Positive Steps towards Waste Reduction, June 1989)
1989 Diaper services, which almost disappeared in the late 1970s because of the introduction of the throwaway diaper, increase business by more than 70 percent as a result of hundreds of news stories on environmental concern and the growing demand for reusable cotton diapers. The National Association of Diaper Services (NADS), trade organization for the $150 million yearly diaper-service business, has about 400 members. Another $50 million is generated yearly by the manufacture and sale of cloth diapers.

1989, June Gerber, Childrenswear, and Dundee Mills, major US manufacturers of cotton diapers, lobby for quotas limiting cotton-diaper imports from China-producers of the world’s best and most durable diapers, the ones that diaper services use. According to some critics, the quota on Chinese imports creates a cloth-diaper
shortage and kills competition. Some services have to create waiting lists of prospective clients. NADS does not take a position on the Chinese quota, but does make an agreement with Gerber “to do nothing to denigrate Gerber’s current sales level for one year.” Gerber contributes $80,000 to NADS in 1989 and $60,000 in 1990.  (San Francisco Examiner, June 7, 1989)

1989, June Proctor and Gamble announces two pilot programs designed to test the feasibility of recycling its millions of disposable diapers and to show that
composting “is a viable disposal method for municipal solid waste.” One pilot program is in King County, Washington, where the King County Nurses Association has been working to educate hospitals and parents about cloth-diaper alternatives, and where 20 of the county’s 34 hospitals have switched to cloth in their newborn nurseries and pediatric units. The second program, a $250,000 composting demonstration project, is planned for St. Cloud, Minnesota, a city that already recycles two-thirds of its trash. According to a Proctor and Gamble spokesperson, “Our aim is not to get into the recycling business on a permanent basis. Rather, we want to demonstrate that the technology is feasible and encourage entrepreneurs to get involved in this business.” (Proctor and Gamble press release, “Perspectives on Disposable Diapers,” June 20, 1989)

1989, July Connecticut begins to phase out the use of disposable products, including those used in patient care. Oregon is in the process of extending a 50 percent recycling credit to diaper services. New Jersey legislates a tax on the manufacture of “disposable, ‘one-way,’ nonreusable or nonreturnable products.” Connecticut and New York consider requiring manufacturers of single-use diapers to affix labels to all diaper products, stating the environmental hazards associated with their  disposal. Nebraska bans the sale of all nonbiodegradable diapers effective 1993. (Press Release of the National Center for Policy Alternatives, July 19, 1989)

1989 Contra Costa County, California, sets a December 1990 deadline to begin recycling throwaways; otherwise, a ban may be in order or purchasers may be
charged with disposal fees. (USA Weekend, September 15-17, 1989)

1989 Kimberly-Clark, the second largest manufacturer of single-use diapers in the US, unveils a new line: Huggies Pull-Ups, training pants aimed at toddlers who are being toilet-trained and bedwetters.

1990, April 20th anniversary of Earth Day.

1990 Legislation is introduced in 24 states and dozens of smaller jurisdictions to reduce the use of disposable diapers. Between eight and nine of every ten US
families with diaper-age children use throwaway diapers most of the time. While in polls US families overwhelmingly support a ban on single-use diapers, three out of four mothers do not want to give up disposables.

1990 Proctor and Gamble commissions a study by Arthur D. Little, Inc., a consulting firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The consultant finds that laundering a cloth diaper over the course of its lifetime consumes up to six times the water used to manufacture a single-use diaper. In addition, the study concludes that laundering cloth diapers produces nearly ten times the water pollution created in manufacturing throwaways. (Arthur D. Little, Inc., “Disposable Versus Reusable Diapers: Health, Environmental and Economic Comparisons.”)

1990 Jeffrey Tyrens, associate director of the Center for Policy Alternatives in Washington, DC, criticizes the Arthur D. Little study for a math error that makes single-use diapers appear cheaper than they are. He also finds that the ADL study fails to account for the water used in flushing away fecal material from single-use diapers-a practice recommended by Proctor and Gamble and other manufacturers on their diaper-box labels. Other critics point out that the ADL authors did not use independent data but instead relied on information gathered by P&G and other companies interested in promoting single-use diapers.

1990 Proctor and Gamble uses the Arthur D. Little data in a letter sent out under the auspices of the American Paper Institute, of which it is a member. The “Dear Legislator” letter reiterates the conclusions of the ADL study but fails to disclose that the study was funded by P&G. This letter prompts a rebuttal, a “Dear Colleague” letter signed by six legislators who support bills to encourage greater use of reusable diapers. Branding the API letter “misleading,” the legislators write, “The disposable diaper industry realizes it is in danger of losing market share for this very profitable single-use product. Faced with overwhelmingly negative public opinion polls, they have launched a pro-disposable campaign among state lawmakers and commissioned the ADL study expressly to discredit cloth diapers.” (“Review of Arthur D. Little, Inc.’s, ‘Disposable Versus Reusable Diapers,’ ” Update on Diapers, September 1990)

1990 Proctor and Gamble sends more than 14 million copies of a pamphlet to US households stating that their diapers can be effectively composted in municipal solid-waste plants. The pamphlet, “Diapers and the Environment,” complete with discount coupons for Luvs and Pampers, cites a five-week study conducted by P&G in St. Cloud, Minnesota, in which diapers from 2,700 homes and 17 daycare centers were composted along with the rest of the city’s garbage. The results, according to the brochure, were “very positive.” As part of a broad campaign to promote the company as environmentally friendly, P&G sponsors ads in more than a dozen major magazines featuring photographs of seedlings grow ing in pots filled with dark, porous-looking earth. The ads claim that 80 percent of each plastic and paper diaper is compostable and can be converted into a “rich, high-quality soil enhancer that’s good for planting baby flowers, trees and just about anything else that grows.” By some estimates, the company spends $250 million in 18 months on advertising. The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs charges that P&G promotes its diapers as easily compostable, but in fact few consumers have access to adequate composting facilities. A Rhode Island state official demands that P&G remove the following misleading statement, which appears on boxes of free samples of Luvs dropped on doorsteps that spring: “This product is compostable in municipal composting units. Support recycling and composting in your community.” Rhode Island has no such facilities for composting diapers.

1991 P&G’s $750,000 disposable diaper recycling project in King County (see 1989, June; second entry) is declared a technical success but an economic failure, yet continues to be touted in brochures for Luvs and Pampers. (Seattle Times, January 25, 1991)

1991, January Sponsored by NADS, Carl Lehrburger and colleagues undertake the most detailed study to date: a life-cycle, or cradle-to-grave, diaper analysis. They find that throwaway diapers, compared with reusables, produce seven times more solid waste when discarded and three times more waste in the manufacturing process. In addition, effluents from the plastic, pulp, and paper industries are far more hazardous than those from the cotton-growing and -manufacturing processes. Single-use diapers consume less water than reusables laundered at home, but more than those sent to a commercial diaper service. According to industry data from Franklin Associates and the American Petroleum Institute, 3.5 billion gallons of oil are used to produce the 18 million throwaway diapers that end up in landfills each year. Washing cloth diapers at home uses 50 to 70 gallons of water every three days-about the same as flushing the toilet five times a day. A diaper service puts its diapers through an average of 13 water changes, but uses less water and energy per diaper than one laundry load at home. (Carl Lehrburger, Jocelyn Mullen, and C. V. Jones, “Diapers: Environmental Impacts and Lifecycle Analysis,” January 1991)

1991, July The American Public Health Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics publish the recommendations of their joint Child Care Standards Project. After four years of debate and research, the groups conclude that “only modern disposable paper diapers with absorbent gelling material” meet the standards they suggest for daycare centers.

1991, July In the United Kingdom, the Campaign for Reusable Diapers, the Women’s Environmental Network’s first initiative, finds that all of the available research on the environmental impact of throwaway diapers had been funded directly by makers of throwaways. A London independent environmental agency, the Landbank Consultancy, is asked to review and evaluate the data. The Landbank Report concludes that, compared to cloth diapers, throwaway diapers use 20 times more raw materials, three times more energy, twice as much water, and generate 60 times more waste. Using the Landbank Report, the Women’s International Network challenges Proctor and Gamble’s environmental equivalency claims before the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The ASA rules that P&G’s claims are misleading. Under pressure from the press, P&G withdraws its claims.

1994 The Women’s Environmental Network (USA) joins with other groups to demand a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation of the single-use diaper industry, charging the industry with deceptive advertising of environmental and health outcomes. Proctor and Gamble pays out-of-court settlements to the New York City Consumer Protection Board and to the Attorneys General of at least ten states for misleading advertising claims related to the recycling and composting of Pampers and Luvs. Environmental groups nationwide, including the New York Public Interest Group and Californians Against Waste, present Earth Day Awards to cloth diapers. Environmental Action, in Washington, DC, gives the Environmental Citizenship Award to the more than 300 hospitals nationwide that have switched to cloth diapers in the past few years. (Wet Set Gazette, April 1994)

1998 Fewer than one in ten US and Canadian households use cloth diapers. Thirty-five percent fewer cloth diapers were produced in the first six months of 1997 as compared with 1996. NADS has 150 members, a 37 percent drop in less than ten years. Disposable diapers have gone up as a percentage of solid waste in landfills. In Seattle, disposable diapers have increased from 2.5 percent of all residential waste in landfills from 1986 to 1989, to 3.3 percent from 1994 to 1995. (Residential Waste Stream Composition Study by the Cascadia Consulting Group)

1998 Seattle Baby Diaper Service receives a subsidy from Seattle Solid Waste for the cost of diaper service for low-income families because it’s cheaper to pay a diaper service than to haul the waste away. Certain cities in Germany and Austria subsidize the cost of cloth diapers. Each child in disposables costs the city roughly $400 in municipal waste costs yearly. Coupons of $50 to $100 per family toward the purchase of cloth diapers have increased cloth-diaper usage in certain areas of Austria from almost zero to more than 40 percent.

1999 A study, “Acute Respiratory Effects of Diaper Emissions,” in the October issue of Archives of Environmental Health, finds that laboratory mice exposed to various brands of disposable diapers suffered eye, nose, and throat irritation, including bronchoconstriction similar to that of an asthma attack. Chemicals released from the diapers included toluene, xylene, ethylbenzene, styrene, and isopropylbenzene, among others. The lead author of the study, Dr. Rosalind C. Anderson, advises asthmatic mothers to avoid exposure to these chemicals. Asthma rates are on a sharp incline in the US and worldwide, particularly among poor and inner-city children. Six leading brands of cotton and disposable diapers are tested. Of these, three are found not to affect the breathing of mice: American Fiber and Finishing Co., Gladrags organic cotton diapers, and Tender Care disposable diapers. Cloth diapers are not found to cause respiratory problems among mice.

2000 German study links use of plastic diapers to male infertility. The mean scrotal temperature is significantly higher in all age groups during the periods of plastic diaper use. Plastic diapers seriously undermine the body’s natural ability to keep the scrotum and testicles cool. The researchers call for further research on the impact of increased testicular temperature in infancy on later sperm production. (“Scrotal Temperature is Increased in Disposable Plastic Lined Nappies,” Archives of Disease in Childhood 83, October 2000.)

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