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baby lying on side in a cuddlies eco nappy

The Chemicals in Conventional Nappies That Are Putting Your Baby At Risk

Nappies will sit against your baby’s skin for around 3 years of their life – so you should want to know what is used in them and what that can mean for the health of your bub! Conventional disposable nappy brands will commonly list which chemicals are not present in their nappies, but it’s more difficult to find out which chemicals are actually used – by making sure you’re aware of the harmful chemicals potentially present, you can do your due diligence and make sure you know which ingredients to avoid.

First of all, disposable nappies are made of three layers, each composed of different materials that parents should be aware of:

  1. An inner layer

Alarmingly, many nappy manufacturers don’t actually disclose what the inner layer of their nappies are made from – which is particularly concerning as the inner layer sits right against the baby’s skin.

  1. An absorbent core

While this layer doesn’t come into direct contact with your bub, any chemicals in these core materials may leach out with any fluid it comes into contact with when squeezed to affect your baby’s sensitive skin.

  1. A waterproof outer shell

While separated from your baby’s skin by the first two layers, the chemicals in the waterproof shell can still be released into the air – not so planet-friendly.

Cuddlies Biodegradable Bamboo Nappies share these essential layers of a disposable nappy, but are crafted with your baby in mind. With top and bottom layers made exclusively from 100% bamboo fibres with a natural aloe vera liner on the silky inside layer and an absorbent core made from Sumito SAP Chlorine Free Wood Pulp, Cuddlies are crafted with both your baby and the planet in mind – who needs all those chemicals anyway!

So what should you be looking out for and why?

Chlorine & Dioxins

Chlorine on baby skin can cause skin irritation, increasing the risk of bronchiolitis as well as increasing the chance of allergic reactions and asthma throughout your child’s life. Released from chlorine during the bleaching process, dioxins have been found to interfere with hormones and the reproductive system in animal studies, as well as cause cancer and damage to the immune system. Thankfully, Cuddlies is free of both!


Usually used in the coloured patterns and wetness indicator on disposable nappies, dyes can cause nappy rash or allergic reactions. Furthermore, one pediatrics study found that blue, pink and green dyes caused babies to demonstrate contact dermatitis. Cuddlies biodegradable nappies are made for sensitive skin - print-free with a plant-based wetness indicator - no nappy rash here!


Often found in the waterproof outer shell of disposable diapers, phthalates are used to soften plastics to allow them to bend without cracking. They are also unfortunately slowly released into the air over time, with inhalation having the potential to cause respiratory issues or interfere with reproductive development. All Cuddlies products are 100% phthalate free!

Tributyl-tin (TBT)

Highly polluting and extreme toxic with horrifying implications for our aquatic ecosystems, tributyltin can also have toxic side effects on humans including reproductive and developmental effects, hormone disruption, neurotoxicity and even the promotion of the growth of fat cells in humans, leading to obesity. Even tiny concentrations of the chemical have an effect on gene activity. All Cuddlies products are also 100% free of TBT.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

A study published in the Archives of Environmental Health found that volatile organic compounds (VOCs), when released from nappies, are toxic to the respiratory tract of animals and may cause or worsen asthmatic conditions in babies. VOCs commonly found in disposable nappies (and many other household products!) include toluene, dipentene, ethylbenzene and xylene - none of which you’ll find in your Cuddlies!


Many disposable nappies contain fragrances to mask odours, with these artificial scents containing skin irritants that can cause nappy rash or respiratory problems for your baby. Our bamboo nappies have natural anti-bacterial properties to avoid skin irritations, nappy rash and odours - no need for any nasty toxins here!

Sodium Polyacrylate (Super Absorbent Polymer)

A chemical that absorbs fluids and prevents leakage in nappies, SAPs are visible as small, jelly-like crystals in the nappy and on your baby’s skin - while there is a lack of research available on its long-term health effects as it is a fairly new chemical, there is evidence that the chemical is irritating to airways when inhaled, and was associated with toxic shock syndrome when it was previously used in tampons. Thankfully - our bamboo nappies are breathable, silky-soft, ultra-absorbent and touch dry against the skin, leaving your baby's bottom dry and comfy without any need for harmful toxins.

With the information and eco-friendly alternatives available to us, there’s no reason you can’t do better for the planet AND your baby’s bum - check out our biodegradable eco nappies here and make the change today!

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