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Toxin Baby Care Products
By Elizabeth Marglin
A recent study garnered a mother lode of attention by suggesting that babies absorb phthalates from bodycare products such as shampoo, powder, and lotion. Phthalates are synthetic chemicals commonly used to stabilize fragrances and make plastic more pliable. These known endocrine disruptors mimic hormones and may alter genital development. Although adults also risk exposure from skincare products—some studies link phthalates to cancer—babies in utero and infants are particularly susceptible because of their immature metabolisms and developing reproductive systems.
The study underscored just how widespread exposure is—every baby tested (163) had at least one phthalate at measurable levels, while more than 80 percent had seven or more in considerable amounts. The worst culprits: baby shampoo, lotion, and powder. Finally, infants less than 8 months old may be the most vulnerable, perhaps—as the researchers suggest—because their tiny bodies allow for more concentrated phthalate absorption.
While this could be enough to scare concerned parents away from using any product whatsoever, there’s no need for a total babycott. If you choose your products wisely, you can get your baby into a toxin-free lather. So how can you tell if your skincare has phthalates? The FDA doesn’t regulate the toxin’s use in bodycare, nor does it require manufacturers to disclose it as an ingredient. Nonetheless, manufacturers hide their use of phthalates and other noxious chemicals behind trade secret-protected terms such as fragrance or parfum. As a good rule of thumb, avoid products that list fragrance as an ingredient unless the label states that it’s derived from essentials oils. But because of the complexities of labeling, there are companies that make phthalate-free babycare that do list fragrance. In that case, look for that claim on the label. We found some phthalate-free skincare you can trust: California Baby, Burt’s Bees, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Weleda, and Nature’s Paradise Baby Organic.
Author: Elizabeth Marglin
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