Harmful Chemicals In Baby Care Products – What's Safe?
Have you heard about all the harmful chemicals in everyday baby products?
Children today face increasing obstacles to healthy development, including rising incidence of premature birth; male genital defects; learning, attention and emotional distortions; early puberty; obesity; and low sperm quality.
A recent report, "Growing Up Toxic" by the Environment California Research and Policy Center, confirmed findings that chemical exposures are the primary cause for increased disabilities and disease. The only good news is that you can protect your child from many of these chemicals, armed with knowledge and the commitment to buy smart.
Headlines are screaming about bisphenol A (BPA), a noxious chemical used in many plastic containers including baby bottles, water bottles, sippy cups and other containers used for food and beverages. Much of the recent clamor occurred after publication of a recent study, Baby's Toxic Bottle: Bisphenol A Leaching from Popular Brands of Baby Bottles.
The study, commissioned by Environmental Health groups in the US and Canada, has responded in calls for bans on BPA, an environmental estrogen, since it is known to leach out of the plastics and has been implicated in development and reproductive health risks.
Dr. David Carpenter, a professor of environmental health sciences at the State University of New York at Albany School of Public Health, said that BPA taken into the body before birth or in early years of life could alter the ratio of sex hormones and affect development.
"It's absolutely obscene to use a substance that can make little boys less masculine and opens the chance that little girls will go on to develop breast cancer," he said at the teleconference.
The BPA studies call for a ban on the use of BPA following action by the State of California to ban the use of phthalates and other known cancer causing ingredients in products designed for children. Phthalates (pronounced thah-lates) are used to make plastic 'soft' and is found in toys, teeth rings, some bottles and other play things that children often handle or put into their mouths. The California legislation is leading other states to begin regulation on known carcinogens, hormone disruptors, neurotoxins, but the road to success is rocky and very long.
Early 2008, another study found elevated levels of phthalates found in the urine of babies who'd been recently shampooed, powdered or lotioned with commonly used, commercial baby products. These reports, along with a myriad of other recent studies, are contributing to real concern and outrage on the part of parents across the nation.
When the very products that are designed to encourage good parenting become a threat to good health, it creates worry and distress. It also points to the need for parents to become vigilant consumers who learn to read labels, follow new studies as they are published and begin to demand safe, clean products for their children.
One of the first and most controllable items that a parent can focus on are the skin and body care products they expose their child to each day. And, no, I'm not talking just about the baby care products. I am including all the items adults use to bathe or shower, brush their teeth, plus deodorant, lotion, makeup, nail polish and products that clean / freshen the home. READ the labels on your product containers and remember that the average American comes into contact with over 200 toxic chemicals just getting ready for work in the morning! If you put it on your own body and then pick up your child to quiet their sobs, it's safe to absorb your child is getting exposed to the same 200 chemicals that you just slathered over your own body.
So, how do you get started?
Just take one step at a time. READ labels and try to limit the number of toxins in each product. I've listed the most worrisome below – clip the list and take it with you when you are shopping. Remember that if a product has 5 or 6 ingredients that are on the list – or only 1 ingredient on the list, that should be reason enough to look for a safer product.
Red Flag Ingredients (toxic synthetic chemicals) to Avoid:
· Alcohol, Isopropyl (SD-40)
· Benzoyl Peroxide
· DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), & TEA (Triethanolamine) · Dioxin
· DMDM Hydantoin & Urea (Imidazolidinyl)
· FD & C Color Pigments
· PEG (Polyethylene glycol)
· Propylene Glycol (PG) and Butylene Glycol
· Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
· Sunscreen ingredients like benzophenone, avebenzone, methyoxycinnamates, paba, etc.
I recommend that you take the time to find the best natural, certified organic and / or wild crafted formulations. Look for certificates like: Certified ToxicFree® Product Seal, the EcoCert Seal or the USDA Certified Organic Seal.
These seals are indications that a third party has examined the formulas and judged them according to their safety standards. I believe that you have a 'Right to Know' that what is in products will not harm you or your baby! Feeling assured that the products you purchase are free from xeno-estrogens, carcinogens and other known toxic ingredients is important when you are buying for you and your baby.