New Diaper Quality Standards Try to Put Lipstick on a Pig

Just before the holidays, the National Association for Continence announced that they had finalized the recommendations for quality performance standards for disposable adult absorbent products. A 15 member council including representatives of all major absorbent manufacturers in the U.S., the non-wovens trade association, five state government agencies from all regions of the U.S., recognized nursing educators in continence care, family caregivers appointed by the National Family Caregivers Association are implementing these diaper quality standards.

The diaper recommendations cover eight specific characteristics:

  1. Rewet rate – a measure of a product’s ability to withstand incontinent episodes between changes
  2. Rate of acquisition – a measure of the speed at which it draws away the urine from the skin
  3. Retention capacity – a measure of a product’s capacity to hold fluid without leaking
  4. Sizing options – ranging from youth and small adult to extra large and XX-large adult
  5. Safety – no components including additives that are on the list in any Federal Regulatory Agency as being “unsafe”
  6. Presence of a closure system – allowing re-open ability
  7. Breathable zones – an acceptable minimum air flow in side “wings” of the product sufficient to release trapped body heat/gaseous body perspiration in pelvic region
  8. Performance of elastics – giving evidence of fit and functionality of containment of waste, without sacrificing comfort

There are steps of testing procedures among the recommendations in detail, as are recommendations on how you should submit products for independent laboratory testing and allowance for variation. They’re offering additional cost-saving suggestions, such as encouraging states to share data of tested product. In early January, NAFC will be providing details to the Medicaid agencies of all 50 states, for instance.

However, as a company in the incontinence arena, I find these recommendations to be a bit like trying to put lipstick on a pig. Wearing absorbent products are quite simply bad for your health.

In general, absorbent products are made of hydrophilic materials which absorb urine and a hydrophobic external layer to hold the moisture inside and prevent leaks. To sum up, the main positives for diapers are that they are relatively cheap, readily available and easy to use.

The price of most superabsorbents is between $0.44 and $0.86 per pad[i].

In fact, pads should be changed 4-6 times a day[ii], meaning the annual expenditure for wearing absorbents could reach $4,402. Because insurance doesn’t generally cover absorbents, these costs are borne by the user.

The most common side effect of absorbents is Incontinence-Associated Dermatitis (IAD) which occurs in up to 25% of users[iii]. However, continuous use of absorbents for as little as 5 days has been shown to cause increased sweat production and compromised skin barrier function[iv]. Continuous absorbent use is also associated with an increased risk of pressure ulcers[v].

Absorbents also have several more ineffable downsides – like the pervasive ammonia smell, the bulky heft visible under your clothes and the need to carry extra supplies whenever you leave the house.

So let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? No matter how many committees you have, recommendations you implement, a diaper, is a diaper, is a diaper. And why spend time and money trying to put lipstick on a pig when there’s already a healthier, cost effective option on the market?

There is literally nothing else out there like Men’s Liberty. It’s truly a product that changes people’s lives. People have used nearly 1.5 million Men’s Liberty units without the device causing a single reportable adverse event including UTI and skin injury. Compare that to other outdated managements devices like indwelling catheters, condom catheters or diapers which have astronomical infection rates that result in additional medications, hospitalizations and even death. There is, quite simply, no comparison. We are head and shoulders above the rest.

DiaperThe most important features of Men’s Liberty are:

  • It’s completely external – In fact, there is nothing in Men’s Liberty which goes inside the body. Therefore, this eliminates one of the primary infection paths you find with indwelling catheters. As a completely non-invasive product, Men’s Liberty is more comfortable, easier to apply, reduces the need for skilled nurses to manage incontinence and improves health outcomes.
  • It’s made from skin friendly hydrocolloid – hydrocolloid has been used in wound care for decades. As a matter of fact, it is safe, skin friendly, latex free and hypoallergenic. Quite simply, it’s better for people’s skin. It reduces or eliminates skin tears and injuries, all the while maintaining a secure seal for 24-48 hours.
  • Medicare, most state Medicaids, VA/TriCare, Workers Compensation and most private insurances cover it. Most of our customers can get a healthier product for little to nothing out of pocket which helps their bottom line.



[i] Brazzelli et al. “Absorbent Products for Containing Urinary and/or Fecal Incontinence in Adults,” Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing, Jan. 2002: pp. 45-54.

[ii] Brazzelli et al. “Absorbent Products for Containing Urinary and/or Fecal Incontinence in Adults,” Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing, Jan. 2002: pp. 45-54.

[iii] Gray, M., “Optimal Management of Incontinence-Associated Dermatitis in the Elderly,” American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2010:00 (0).

[iv] Aly, R., Shirley, C., Cunico, B., et al, “Effect of Prolonged occlusion on the microbial flora, pH, carbon dioxide and transepidermal water loss on human skin,” Journal Investifative Dermatology, 1978; 71 (6): 378-81.

[v] BioDerm estimate, 2005, based on Pajk, Marilyn Pressure Sores. Merck Manual of Geriatrics Section 15, Chapter 124. Internet Edition provided by Medical Services, USMEDSA, USHH. Published by Merck and Co. Inc, 2000