The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that trace amounts of the toxic chemical dioxin may be present in some disposable diapers, left over from the paper bleaching process used during manufacturing. Dioxin has been shown to cause cancer, birth defects, liver damage, and skin diseases. In addition, sodium polyacrylate, the chemical used in the gel in "superabsorbent" disposable diapers, is the same substance that was removed from tampons for its link to toxic shock syndrome.
Human waste in landfills can also potentially leak and contaminate a community's drinking water, increasing the risk of spreading diseases, such as polio. To date, the Institute of Environmental Health has found no evidence of contamination in the United States. This concern tends to affect countries that do not have well-constructed landfills and proper sewage systems.
Although cloth diapers may seem to be the safer way to go, it is important to know the proper washing methods for cloth diapers to help curb the spread of bacteria and diseases. Improper washing methods can increase the risk of spreading germs and bacteria from person to person.