Avoiding Toxic Ingredients In Baby Care Products.
Many parents are unknowingly bathing, powdering,wiping and moisturizing their babies with products containing an alarming mix of harmful, toxic, chemicals. Parabens, Talc, Sulphates, Propylene Glycol, DEA, are just some of the known toxic ingredients commonly used in baby bath, skin & hair care products and also in baby wipes and nappy change creams.
Thankfully avoiding toxic ingredients in baby care products is a lot easier these days are there are now many safer alternatives out there and in this article I will help shed some light on how it is that toxic ingredients end up in baby care products and more importantly, show you how we can protect our babies by knowing what to avoid and what baby skin care products are safe to use.
Why Toxic Chemicals Are Allowed In Baby Skin Care Products
So how is it that governments allow these questionable products to still line shelves of the baby care section of our supermarkets?
When testing ingredients for harmful effects, the accumulative and also the combined effects, (how one ingredient may react negatively with another ingredient)are often unable to be tested and measured in humans and this is somehow being overlooked, or swept under the carpet and products get released.
The Dangers Of Accumulative Exposure To Toxic Ingredients In Baby Products
Baby product manufacturers are allowed to use certain amounts of concerning ingredients in their products. These amounts are deemed by the authorities to be at low enough levels not to cause harm. But this is the amount allowed in each individual product; e.g. each nappy cream, baby shampoo etc, what happens when you go through a jar of nappy cream every couple of weeks?
What happens is that your baby is being exposed to accumulative amounts of certain toxic ingredients. When you think of the number of baby wipes that will be used on the average baby over a 2-year period and the dangerous chemicals that your standard supermarket brand wipes contain, it is just frightening.
Due to their tiny body size babies and especially newborns are much more susceptible to the harmful effects of toxins than we are. A baby’s skin is also much thinner and permeable and their internal organs are still developing. Therefore accumulative exposure of toxic ingredients poses a real risk to their health and development.
Quaternium -15 is a formaldehyde releasing chemical that is a known carcinogen and it is found in the biggest worldwide baby skin and bath care manufacturer. It is such a dangerous chemical that some countries have managed to ban this company using this ingredient, but in other countries, like here in Australia it is still allowed – see Baby’s Tub Is Still Toxic by Safe Cosmetics .
Misleading Natural Labeling of Baby Care Products
Labeling on baby personal care products can be disconcertingly misleading. Many of the mainstream, popular brands cunningly market their products under less than honest slogans. They entice parents to buy their products with enticing words such as, soothing and calming. They give the impression that their product and pure and safe with slogans such as, “contains pure organic ingredients and essential oils’.
A great example of this is when these manufacturers add a minuscule amount of pure essential lavender oil to their baby bath and skin care products. This is to entice parents to purchase the products to calm and relax their babies, in the hope that they will sleep better. *Note-essential lavender oil acts as a relaxant.
This reels parents in, but few take the time to read the rest of the extensive ingredients listed in tiny print on the packaging. If they did, they would often find an overwhelming list of potentially toxic ingredients and only a tiny percentage of organic, or natural ingredients. Yet these companies are by law, are allowed to advertise and promote their products using words like ‘organic’ and ‘natural’.
Talcum Powder Health Hazards
Did you know that your everyday Talcum Powder, can contain asbestos like particles that are hazardous to our health and have been linked to ovarian cancer. It makes one wonder why some of the big brands still opt to have both talc and cornstarch options in their range? Is it to cover themselves legally, so they can say that the consumer had a choice and chose the talc, so therefore they, the consumer, are responsible for the outcome? See Talcum Powder And Cancer.
Dangerous Ingredients In Baby Wipes, Nappies & Creams
Well-known big brand name baby wipes, disposable nappies and nappy creams manufacturers, are notorious for adding dangerous, synthetic chemicals, chlorine bleaches, parabens, phthalates and dioxins to their products. As these products are applied to and cover the reproductive areas on babies and toddlers they pose a very real concern, especially due to the fact that they are used numerous times a day, for at least a couple of years.
Unsafe Children’s Toothpaste
Another concern are children’s toothpastes. Read the warning on the box of a well known brand of toothpaste – it clearly states that the consumer should not swallow the ingredients etc. Try teaching a toddler not to suck the yummy, artificially flavoured and scented, strawberry toothpaste off their toothbrush.
Children and adults too for that matter, should never use alcohol-containing mouthwashes as they have been linked to oral cancers. See report here
Using Safer Baby Care Products
Thankfully, in recent years there have been a mass of smaller, independent skincare companies popping onto the market offering natural, organic and safer bath, shower and skincare products, including toothpastes, for babies and children. These companies are ethical, don’t test on animals and actually care about the health of their consumers!
The good news is, as people are becoming more aware of the dangers of unsafe chemicals in products, more mainstream stores, even some supermarkets are opting to stock small ranges of natural, safer, baby products, and the prices for these products are no longer that much more expensive than the other leading, synthetic chemical-containing brands.
Remember it is us, ‘the parents’, to be diligent and take the time to read the ingredient lists and not just trust the flashy advertising on the front of the packaging.
Safe Baby Care Product Options
Safer Bath Product Choices For Babies
A newborns only need to bathed in pure water, at least for the first couple of months. If you choose to use baby bath products on young babies, be sure that they are completely natural and also free of essential oils, as although essential oils are natural, they are very potent and are not safe for use on very young babies.
Safe Massage Oil For Babies
You can massage your baby using pure, organic, cold pressed Olive, Coconut or Jojoba oils and these have the added benefits of moisturizing and protecting their young skins. You can even add a couple drops to the bath water.
Safer Nappy Wipes Options
Use good old-fashioned plain water and cotton wool, or a cotton face washer. This is especially easy to do when your baby is just a newborn. If you choose to use wipes, be sure to buy natural and chemical free wipes. There are some great ones available from many online eco baby stores. You can now find natural baby wipes in well-stocked health stores and even some supermarkets.
Safer Eco Nappy Options
If you choose to use disposable nappies, opt for the chlorine free, pvc free, unperfumed brands available from nappy stores, some supermarkets, health stores and online eco and baby stores; e.g Moltex and Bambo Nature. Alternatively use organic cloth nappies. See my article Choosing the Safest Nappies for your Baby
Safer Baby Powder Options
Be sure to use talc free ones and opt for baby powders made from cornstarch or tapioca starch .*Note – although cornstarch varieties are readily available in well known brands, it is better to support and purchase from the smaller, more ethical, cruelty free companies.
Safe Children’s Toothpaste
Use Cruelty Free Baby Care Products
Be sure to use accredited cruelty free baby care products. Animal testing does still go on and the tests that these animals are subjected to are horrific and extremely painful, often resulting in death. I recommend consulting the Cruelty Free List by Choose Cruelty Free or the Leaping Bunny List if in the USA/UK/Europe. Remember you cannot trust that a company may write on their products, or advertise that they are cruelty free, as any company can use clever loopholes to claim this, when in-fact they are still animal testing. See more in my article Animal Testing Do Your Part To Stop It.
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