2012: An explosion at Japanese plant making a key ingredient for disposable diapers has caused many to wonder if a diaper shortage might be imminent. Production at the factory has halted, stoking fears that diaper prices could skyrocket. ABC News reports:
Powerful blasts rocked the facility Saturday, as firefighters were trying to control a blaze at one of the tanks containing the chemical. One firefighter died and 34 employees and first responders were injured in the blast.
Acrylic acid is a key component of superabsorbent polymers or SAP, which absorb large amounts of liquid. Nippon Shokubai makes roughly 20 percent of the world’s SAP and maintains a 10 percent global market share of acrylic acid. The plant had been ramping up production to meet increasing global demand, especially from China, according to Japanese media reports.
Nippon Shokubai spokesman Akira Kurusu said the company had already reached out to other producers to make sure their clients’ needs are met, but said he could not comment on whether the plant closure in Japan would affect global costs and supply.
1945: WWII-related rationing affected even the United States’ smallest citizens. Factories dedicated to diaper production ceased operations almost entirely, leaving many families high and (not so) dry. After a Congressional hearing on the matter failed to solve the problem, outraged mothers staged a protest in Washington. A bemused Washington Post reporter had the scoop:
Something new in marches on the Capital—this one at a definite toddle—will be conducted by irate babies of servicemen and war workers (conveyed by their mothers, of course) Thursday to complain about the diaper shortage.
The National Institute of Diaper Services of New York last week stated that during the past two months diaper services have not received sufficient diapers to serve the new-born infants of the Nation.
The mothers, along with representatives of national women’s and maternity organizations and diaper service operators, hope to get to the bottom of the shortage. Their sentiment, it was explained yesterday, is that the situation is hitting their young ‘uns below the belt.
Canadian subscribers add $10; All other international subscribers add $40.