Diaper BagWhat You Need To Know

Your diaper bag will never be far from your side during the early years of parenthood. Make sure it’s made of non-toxic materials for you and your baby.

What To Avoid
Pesticides:Fabrics made with conventionally grown cotton, wool or felt materials may have residues of certain types of Pesticides. Organically grown fabrics are healthier for people and for the planet. The Pesticides are intended to kill pests that might damage the crops or harm wools, but these chemicals can be poisonous to other insects, birds, and mammals – including humans! Often pesticide residues stay in cloth fibers and then release as the cloth ages. Exposure to some Pesticides can impact brain development and may contribute to lower IQs, birth defects, and developmental delays. Despite concerns about Pesticides in fabrics like wool and cotton, they are still healthier than artificial, often plastic-based, artificial fabrics such as rayon, Polyester, and acrylic.
Polyester:Polyester, which is made of multiple artificial chemicals that are petroleum-based, can Lead to skin problems, such as rashes, itching and eczema, irritate lungs, and some ingredients can potentially contribute to certain cancers. As they break down with wear and through washing, plastic, synthetic fabrics release Microplastics into our water and environments, an additional health concern.
Flame retardant:Exposure to flame retardants, (particularly polybrominated diphenyl ethers, PBDEs) when babies are developing in the womb, and when children are young has been linked to poorer attention, lower fine motor skills, and lower IQs as well as a reproductive birth defect, Hypospadias. Research on whether or not these chemical additives effectively reduce flammability is mixed. Extra caution should be taken with older furniture and padding that is falling apart.
Perfluorochemicals (PFCs):Perfluorochemicals (PFCs) are added to fabrics for durability, stain, and wrinkle resistance. Exposure to PFCs may impact brain development, reproductive health, and the immune system.
Formaldehyde:Formaldehyde, which is used to prevent shrinkage, can off gas and contribute to leukemia and cancers of the nose, throat, and sinuses.
Antimicrobial and antibacterial agents:Antimicrobial and antibacterial agents are made with chemicals that destroy or reduce germs. That sounds like a good thing, but these chemicals can be harmful to our health. One chemical released by some antimicrobials is formaldehyde, a substance that can cause cancer (a carcinogen). Exposure to some antimicrobials may increase the risk of cancer, reproductive and brain impairments, and contribute to allergies, asthma, and skin conditions such as eczema. The overuse of these chemicals is also creating new “Superbugs” that are resistant to antibiotics.
Synthetic dyes:Synthetic dyes used to color baby clothes, such as Benzidine-based dyes, have toxic properties as well. Exposures to these chemicals can increase risk for cancer and skin irritations.
Safer Choices
Untreated fabrics:Cotton, linen, hemp, or wool materials without synthetic chemicals added.
PLA plastic:A few companies are starting to use polylactic Acid (PLA) plastic as an outer waterproof covering. PLA can be better than petroleum-based plastics because PLA is made from fermented plant starch and is considered biodegradable. However, it is not a “perfect” alternative since it biodegrades slowly and is typically made of genetically modified corn. Note that waterproof covers are often made from Polyvinyl chloride (pvc) products that frequently contain harmful chemicals, including Phthalates. Phthalates often get released into the air and are inhaled. Exposure is linked to reproductive health issues, brain development, liver cancer, birth defects, asthma, and allergies.
Find Safer Products
Websites and Apps:
Clearya is a free browser extension and app that notifies you when there are unsafe ingredients in your makeup, personal care, baby care, cleaning and other products, and helps you find safe products.
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics - Nontoxic Black Beauty Project
They offer a list and database of non-toxic beauty products made and sold by Black-owned companies that are committed to toxic-free beauty and personal care products.
Detox Me
This app allows you to scan barcodes on products to find relevant tips. They also offer a buying guide to decode product labels and find non-toxic alternatives.
Environmental Working Group (EWG)
EWG has a "Skin Deep" database that rates personal care and beauty products based on their safety and toxicity levels. EWG also offers a Healthy Living app that allows you to scan barcodes and find safer products.
Think Dirty
This app and website allow you to scan or search for personal care products to see their ingredient safety ratings.