3 Toxic Chemicals Lurking in Baby Products

3 Toxic Chemicals in Baby ProductsWhen we buy baby products and see labels claiming safety for our loved ones, we want to believe that they really are safe. Unfortunately there are many ingredients in common baby products, even those labeled natural or organic, which may actually be hazardous.

Just last year 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. Here are three to avoid:

Phthalates are a man-made chemical typically used to make plastics flexible. They are also used in many fragrance oils since they prolong the scent and are commonly found in lotions, powders and shampoos. They 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.

Parabens are 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 give many products their lovely baby smell but 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 so they are allowed to determine what is safe without an outside agency to test for safety.

Always be sure to read labels and avoid these ingredients whenever you can. Since there are so many other chemicals being used in baby care products 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.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.

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