Monday, September 3, 2012

Choosing Products to Minimize Your Baby's Toxic Load

Having a baby can be one of the most joyous occasions in life. However, for the growing number of parents who are awakening to the many toxic dangers of our modern lifestyle, it can also be a time fraught with many nervewracking questions and decisions. The last thing you want to do is burden your new baby's body with potentially harmful chemicals - their bodies are already faced with enough adjustments as it is, and research has shown that many chemicals in the environment can contribute to a number of childhood diseases, including rashes, chronic skin conditions, asthma and other respiratory complications. This week we are going to share some tips for minimizing your baby's exposure to toxins in the environment, and helping make sure they grow into healthy, strong kids, who will become healthy, strong adults.

English: Baby Boy being bathed
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are many body care products on the market under the heading of "baby" - baby lotion, baby bath, baby soap. But just because something has "baby" in the title does not mean it's the best for your little one. Babies' skin is five times thinner than adults' skin, so even a product that is "safe" for adults could be harmful for your baby. Here are some things to consider when choosing body care products for your little one.

1. Think outside the labels

Unlike food, the FDA does not require extensive labeling of personal care product ingredients, nor does it require companies to test the safety of the ingredients they use. On labels that do show some ingredients, you might see parabens, sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate, and pthalates - all implicated in skin irritation and hormone disruption.

What the labels don't show are by-products, such as 1,4-Dioxane, a potential carcinogen and component of sodium laureth sulfate. If the product you are considering contains sodium laureth sulfate, that means it contains 1,4 Dioxane. Don't automatically trust labels that claim the product is "natural" or "mild."  There may be many chemicals in mainstream baby body products that are not listed at all on the label. (This article has a helpful list of ingredients to watch out for as well:

2. Don't perfume the baby
So many personal care products are infused with fragrance, which means they probably contain pthalates, a chemical that is often a component of scented items. Pthalates are linked to problems with reproduction. Fragrances have been known to cause allergic reactions as well. Be sure to choose fragrance-free products if these are concerns for you.

3. Research

There are excellent sites, some with databases, where you can research the safety and toxicity of specific personal care products for babies and children. Some sites even rate the products, giving them a toxicity "score."  One such helpful site is the EWG's cosmetic safety database, which is free to use and search.

Organic Baby Care by Butt Naked Baby
4. Go organic - or make your own
If the chemicals in baby body care products concern you - including the rather  significant "the consumer does not know" factor - consider getting organic products or making them yourself. Look for labels that say "certified organic" or have a list of what they don't contain, such as "paraben-free" or "NO sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate."

The simpler, the better - organic olive oil is a mild, natural moisturizer for baby's skin, as is organic almond oil. Oatmeal is soothing and inexpensive - powder organic oats in a blender and add to baby's bathwater. Or, mix the powdered oats with water to make a paste and use as a skin cleanser. That's all the cleanser baby's skin needs!

To find good baby care products, besides EWG's site, you may also wish to check out The Natural Product Directory - their "Skincare" category has a small but growing list of baby care products, which are helpfully rated by a number of safety factors, ingredients, and consumer reviews. (Click on Product Categories, then Skin Care. There is a baby care section near the bottom.)

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment