Prevalence of childhood asthma has increased approximately three-fold during the past several decades. We report here several types of acute respiratory toxicity in mice breathing airborne emissions of certain brands of disposable diapers.
Epidemiologists have found links between asthma symptoms and the presence of wall-to-wall carpeting, recent interior painting, and formaldehyde and limonene concentrations in homes. We have reported asthma-like reactions to emissions of air fresheners, colognes, fabric softeners, and waterproof mattress covers. Certain brands of disposable diapers also pose problems.
- Three brands of disposable diapers and one brand of cloth diapers were purchased in retail stores. All diapers were stored in their original packages in an exhaust hood. Mice breathed emissions of these three brands of disposable diapers.
- Measurements of breathing patterns showed various combinations of irritation of eyes, nose, and throat; irritation of lungs; and decreased airflow as in an asthmatic attack.
- Mice exposed to cloth diapers did not show these problems.
The results demonstrate that some types of disposable diapers emit mixtures of chemicals that are toxic to the respiratory tract. Disposable diapers should be considered as one of the factors that might cause or exacerbate asthmatic conditions.
We have recently found some brands of diapers which do not harm our mice. For brand names click here.