Top 5 Toxic Chemicals and the Risk to Your Baby
by contributing writer, Jacqueline Banks
Are you washing your baby with toxic chemicals? These products are marketed to make you buy them and feel “safe”, the reality is they are far from that.
When we buy baby products and see labels claiming safety for our loved ones, we want to believe that they really are safe. I mean, who wants to think that a label that was approved to be sold could be lying to you? Especially all those lotions, bubble baths and body washes that are made specifically for babies – surely those are safe? How could they not be?
Unfortunately there are many ingredients in common baby products, even those labeled “natural” or “organic”, which may actually be hazardous. Searching out brands that have been around for years or ones that have been stamped with that pretty green organic label just isn’t enough. You have to be as much of a label reader with those products as you hopefully are with your food. After all, the skin is the body’s largest organ so whatever you put on it goes straight into it!
Just a few years ago Johnson & Johnson, one of the most trusted companies when it comes to baby products, announced that it would be removing many toxic chemicals but would continue to use some of them, even though they have been found to cause cancer.
The following FIVE chemicals are not the only ones you want to avoid but they tend to make an appearance most often. Keep an eye out for them and avoid buying anything that contains them.
This powdered mineral is added to baby powder (and many other cosmetic powders). It’s used as a drying agent, but it’s a known lung irritant and may also be carcinogenic. As Gillian Deacon describes in her book There’s Lead In Your Lipstick:
“The mineral talc tends to occur in rock mass formations that are intermingle with other magnesium silicate minerals, including the highly dangerous asbestos. Since it is virtually impossible to extract the talc rock from the asbestos during the mining process, the carcinogenic contaminant is almost invariably going to be carried over into any consumer product containing talc.”
Ever since this news came out in the late 1990s, some companies have switched to talc-free baby powders, but there are still problems with many of the ingredients on their lists. Read on for more information!
These are man-made chemical typically used to make plastics flexible. They are also used in many fragrance oils since they prolong the scent. They are commonly found in lotions, powders and shampoos and have been linked to hormonal changes, birth defects, reproductive abnormalities in baby boys, and damage to the lungs, liver and kidneys. A study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that even young infants frequently exposed to phthalates are vulnerable to these adverse effects.
Often used as a preservative that prevents the growth of bacteria, mold, and yeast in cosmetics, foods and pharmaceutical products. They can be found most commonly in deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, lotions and shower cleansers. Parabens mimic the hormone estrogen and, according to the Breast Cancer Fund, have been linked to breast cancer after being absorbed through the skin.
Perfumes and Fragrances
These sound completely harmless right? Sadly they’re not. While they give many products their lovely baby smell it’s really nothing more than a mix of chemicals trying to cover up the smell of even more chemicals. Artificial fragrances are known for being one of the top five allergens and a frequent trigger for asthma. Unfortunately the fragrance industry is allowed to regulate itself, which means that they are allowed to determine what is safe without an outside agency to test for safety.
This chemical is a penetration enhancer that is easily absorbed by the skin and may be carcinogenic. Its job is basically to open up all the pores and let the other chemicals in. Propylene glycol is used in wiper fluid and to de-ice airplanes, and yet it is often found in baby wipes, which is not safe. Look out for polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polypropylene glycol (PPG) on labels, too.
Try making your own homemade disposable baby wipes, or just stick with warm water and soap on a washcloth.
What you can do to protean your baby
Always be sure to read labels and avoid these ingredients whenever you can. Your best bet is to choose products with an ingredient list you can pronounce. Your next best option is to search the Environmental Working Groups website Skin Deep which lets you search for safe products or type in a product and find out how it ranks for safety against toxic chemicals. Keep your family safe instead of being duped by tricky marketing.
Other resources we love are the Think Dirty app, where you can search real time toxicity of products while you are shopping so that you make an informed choice.
Over here at sustainably healthy we are Uber obsessed with making our own budget friendly products with pure essential oils! So simple and they improve our families health while keeping them clean.
Be empowered.Be informed.Be healthy.
Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor and online fitness coach. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception to those trying to get their grove back after pregnancy to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mom and baby. For more information or to work with her visit her website www.jacquelinebanks.com