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60 Toxic Chemicals All Wrapped Up in One Little Package: Your Baby’s Diaper

Herbicides. Endocrine disrupters. Dioxins, pesticides, formaldehyde and more. From glyphosate — an agricultural herbicide found to contribute to Non-Hodgkin lymphoma — to diesel engine hydrocarbons and fragrance compounds, a long list of chemicals was found in disposable baby diapers when French safety experts tested them.

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Some of the 60 chemicals they discovered have carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic effects, and the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety is sending out a worldwide warning about “the presence of different hazardous chemicals in disposable diapers that can migrate into the urine and come into prolonged contact with babies’ skin,” Sustainable Pulse reported.

If this doesn’t make you think twice about what’s lurking in the products you buy, whether it’s diapers for your baby or clothes on your back or food on your table, then just take a walk down memory lane a few months and remember: It was only a few months ago that the Environmental Working Group found glyphosate in Cheerios cereal, Quaker Dinosaur Eggs instant oatmeal, Nature Valley granola bars, Quaker steel cut oats and Back to Nature Classic Granola.

Glyphosate has even been detected in PediaSure Enteral Formula nutritional drink, which is given to infants and children via feeding tubes. Thirty percent of the samples tested contained levels of glyphosate over 75 ppb — far higher levels than have been found to destroy gut bacteria in chickens (0.1 ppb).

What’s worse is that, so far, exposure to the chemical, even at low levels, has been linked to a variety of health risks.

So what’s a consumer to do — especially if you have a baby? It may not be the most convenient choice, but cloth diapers made of 100 percent organically cotton is your best option when it comes to diapers. You also need to think about changing what you, as an adult, wear on a day basis too, as synthetic microfibers from clothing are becoming a significant water pollutant that eventually reaches freshwater lakes and oceans and, ultimately, the food supply.

In fact, higher concentrations of these microfibers have been found in beach sediment near waste water treatment plants. The fibers have also been found in table salt as well as fish sold for human consumption.

If you're concerned about glyphosate residues in your food, you can help to prompt change by reaching out to the companies that make your food. Let them know that you prefer foods without glyphosate residues — and are prepared to switch brands if necessary to find them.

Also speak with your pocketbook by refusing to purchase processed foods for yourself and your baby. Buy organic and use a food processor to whip up your baby’s foods fresh.

You also can join the movement to end preharvest glyphosate spraying. Glyphosate is often used as a desiccant late in the harvest season to speed up drying of crops so they can be harvested sooner. While industry claims residues from this use of the chemical don’t reach consumers, tests have proven otherwise — and that’s something no parent should have to worry about.

Remember: Change begins at home. When it comes to industrial operations, it takes everyone working together to fight against chemical and environmental pollution. You may not think one person can make a difference, but indeed, one person and another and another, and another, can add up to affecting a huge change that will benefit the world.

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