Expert's Opinion

The paradox of diapers - Part 2

By Carlos Richer, Contributor | February 24, 2012

Richer discusses problems in the institutional market.

Of all the diapers sold in the world, it is usually agreed that adult diapers sold to the institutional sector are probably the very worst you can find.I have seen diapers made in underdeveloped areas of the world, like India, China or Vietnam, with much better performance than the Institutional diapers sold in the U.S.;it is hard to believe, but a fact.In some cases Institutions go as far as suggesting the use of under-beds.Nothing can be more denigrating to an adult user with limited mobility than to force him to use regular under-beds as a treatment to a regular everyday incontinence.You need to be in their bed to understand all the trauma and denigration that this brings to the patient.In my humble opinion, under-beds are a good solution for unexpected events, but never as a treatment for regular incontinence.

Here is the Paradox: People that require the best diapers many times end up using the very worst performance products just because of government regulations.Many times the cost of skin control medications at the hospitals or Institutions is by far more expensive than the cost of the diapers. In fact many times the patient dies not because of a cancer or a heart disease, they die because of skin infection that started with IAD and the use of a low performance product..


What can be done?
1-I strongly believe a new National/State Health legislation is needed in order to recognize this unique medical problem.Patients at Insitutions should have access to different products depending on whether they are Active or Non Active adults.Diapers for people with limited mobility should be the highest performance products available, even better than those used on babies or active people.Diapers used for adults without mobility should be much drier than commercial diapers and also provide the required pH to help the sensitive skin cope with the humidity, such as an acidic 4.5 to 5.0 pH.; SAP is quite sensitive to an acidic pH environment, but there are solutions available as follows.

2-A good option may be the use of a treated ADL or Curly fiber designed to allow the quick pass of liquids but at the same time treated to slowly release a very small amount of acidic pH, as suggested by BMC Geriatr on Nov 2010.

3-Wetness in the diaper increases the toxicity of fecal incontinence as solid feces dissolve. Wetness is the most important cause of IAD, it is also the origin of main discomfort due to heath exchange from the body to the cold urine. Removing the urine from the diaper helps to eliminate the problem.Why can’t it be done?

4-A new niche can be started in the market with a product definition designed for these specific kinds of users.

5-Humany’s Unicharm proved the possibility of removing urine from a diaper last year, resulting in an excellent solution for adults without mobility; unfortunately at $1,284 per unit and $3 for each diaper change, it is a solution only good to the super elites.

6-A valid alternative with a cost even lower than the cost of a regular commercial diaper, is using a liquid extraction system connected to a Central Vacuum device or a Reservoir taking advantage of the capillarity created by the fibers when they are subjected to compression. This way the liquid can be easily extracted from the diaper and extracted to the reservoir as we have demonstrated with our Vacuum Dry Diaper in a previous paper. We recognize we made a mistake with the name, as it should have been called The Personal Disposable Toilet and should have been considered more like a medical device for bedridden and wheelchair people instead of a diaper.I

After 21 years with Mexican diaper manufacturer Absormex where he served as general director, Carlos Richer retired in 2005 to start his own company dedicated to providing consulting services to the disposable diaper industry. His website,, contains useful links related to the diaper industry, as well as links to websites of diapermanufacturers and raw material suppliers from all over the world. Part one of Richer's The Diaper Paradox was published on February 16.

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