Possible Diaper Shortage Could Mean Higher Prices or Using Cloth Diapers (GASP!)

Say What!? 123

baby in diaper
Enjoy that diaper now, little buddy.
Nothing like a diaper plant explosion to make us cringe at the fact that acrylic acid is used in disposable diapers. But this is serious, my fellow parents. This is the stuff hitting the fan kind of serious. There is speculation there could be a diaper shortage as a result of the massive explosion at a chemical plant in Japan -- they are one of the world's largest producers of this key component in disposable diapers.

The acrylic acid is a main ingredient in a resin called SAP -- it is what makes diapers absorbent. But now we have to brace ourselves for what could turn into the biggest blow-out ever. This could mean no more convenience, much more laundry, and (gasp!) no more diaper cakes!

We all know what happens where there is a gas shortage. The prices soar. Now we have to worry about that with diapers! There may soon be long lines of people attempting to buy what's left in stock. And, worse, there could be empty shelves and just one last 'sposie in your diaper bag.

More from The Stir: Baby Poop 101: What Color Is Normal?

Many of us are going to put potty training into high gear.

I will also note that this is a terrible thing that happened because almost three dozen people were injured in this explosion at the Nippon Shokubai plant, and one brave firefighter lost his life.

Will this send disposable diapers users scrambling to stockpile just in case? Considering the news that other factories producing the same product have a backlog of work, I'm not going to take any chances and will get extras. In the event we successfully and completely conquer potty training (fingers crossed), I can always sell my stash to another mom in need. In fact, I bet a lot of trading may be going on amongst parents. Kids grow out of diapers so fast sometimes leaving us with extras of the smaller size lying around.

Of course we have to now prepare ourselves for the barrage of "that's why I use cloth." But before you go there, remember not everyone has a washing machine. And some of us have multiples.

Does this potential diaper shortage worry you? Will you stock up? Or is this just a big stink over nothing?


Image via Narith5/Flickr

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Billie Jo Evans

The most important thing missing here is, what disposable diaper brands would this affect?? And if something does happen I do already have cloth diapers because I used them when I had 2 babies in diapers.

Casey Dalbey

a CHEMICAL explosion should open some eyes as to what really is inside diapers. I cloth diaper with the occasional disposable thrown into the mix so I am not being judgmental or critical to thers. The same people that will only give their kids organic milk are all cool with sticking their babies in chemically created diapers. Good for the shortage, maybe more low income families will see cloth as an affordable option and our landfills will be a little better off.

nonmember avatar jess

Really, Casey, because every low income family has access to a washing machine every 2-3 days. Oh sure, mom working two jobs can totally take the trek to the laundromat after working her shift(s) and the laundromat will be totally ok with her washing diapers because every laundromat everywhere is all about cloth diapers!

I cloth too. But I don't think it's a viable option for everyone else. This shortage is going to hurt these moms the most.

miche... micheledo

So sorry to hear about the lives lost.  :( 

We cloth diaper at our house.  This will be just one more reason to consider cloth diapering - and maybe it will be the push needed for some to switch!  I LOVE my cloth diapers!! :D  (I know, I'm crazy.  I never understood that until I got my first shipment of colorful, fun prints in the mail.  :D)

Albond86 Albond86

I cloth diaper as well. I use disposables part time because my two year olds preschool doesn't like cloth and preferred me not to, which was fine, they would have had to get a lisence from the state, not worth it. I prefer my cloth! No nasty chemicals next to baby's sensitive skin! Plus less landfill waste, and tons of money saved! Plus I'm not pinching pennies to put diapers on my kids or choosing between food and diapers between paychecks. I think more moms need to understand what's in these diapers. Plus who wants paper ridden with chemicals on their butt all day?

Albond86 Albond86

Btw to those who nay say cloth, there are very cheap ways of doing it and the initial investment may seem like a lot but you only buy cloth ONCE! Plus if you don't have a washing machine you can hand wash very easily! It's not as nasty as people think. I was so against it until I had a friend lend me a few diapers when my first had the WORST rash.

mamav... mamavaness

The fact that there are chemicals in these diapers is seriously making me consider switching.


MamaD... MamaDV1012

I can't believe this is turning into a cloth/disposable debate.  This news story is just hype over nothing and if anything will cause people to create a diaper shortage if they actually stock up like they won't be able to buy diapers.  Face.  Palm.  Definitely the only thing newsy here are the people who were hurt and the firefighter who died. 

nonmember avatar jess

OK, but how is a mom who works a full day supposed to hand wash her diapers. If I didn't have a washer, there's no way I could make dinner and see my kid for a little bit and hand wash diapers.

You can sugarcoat it all you want, but cloth really isn't feasible for some families. This is coming from someone who is all for cloth. I've donated diapers and detergents to families in need and who could make it work. And I've donated my leftover sposies to families that couldn't. Yes, in a perfect world it would be great if cloth was an option, but I'm not willing to sit next to the mom who has to take a bus to another laundromat in a different neighborhood because her local one banned cloth diapers.

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