Sodium polyacrylate – the superior absorbency material
Sodium polyacrylate is a functional polymer used in a variety of common products such as paper diapers, pets pad, water retaining material (to help the soil retain water), instant snow and so on. It is known for its superior absorbency:
Sodium polyacrylate can absorb hundreds times its own weight in water. It starts out as a powder and as it comes into contact with moisture, it swells into its gel form.
Unlike other absorbent materials, it’s not easy to squeeze the moisture out of this gel. This is what makes it perfect for use in paper diapers — your baby can sit on it, roll around, sleep for hours in a wet diaper without leaks.
Is it safe?
According to various material safety data sheets (documents created by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration that list potential hazards of chemicals in great detail), sodium polyacrylate is totally safe.
“How about touching the skin directly ?”
Sodium polyacrylate itself is not irritating to the skin. As a polymer, it sticks together in long chains that are way too large to be absorbed through the skin.
But some kind of sodium polyacrylate is mixed up with small amounts of acrylic acid, a leftover from the manufacturing process.
In theory, acrylic acid in large doses could be harmful to a baby’s skin. But according to a 2009 report in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, there isn’t nearly enough acrylic acid in disposable diapers to raise concern. (The study was funded by Procter & Gamble, a major manufacturer of diapers.) Another side, sodium polyacrylate supplier should test the acrylic acid value and make sure it is less than 300 PPM (part per million).
So, the conclusion is …
Sodium polyacrylate is safe — non-toxic and free from any major safety risks.
It can pose certain dangers if not handled properly. But please be sure to take notes of the following hazards and take precautions to avoid any injury or mishaps when handling sodium polyacrylate.
- If the powder is inhaled, it can irritate the lungs–but that’s not generally a concern.
- When it comes in contact with a large amount of spilled water in an area, it can cause the area to become very slippery.
- If it enters sewer or drainage systems in large quantities, it can cause serious clogging and should be dealt with immediately.