What toxins are present in baby products?
Are common baby products unsafe?
You know that I have been trying to lead myself and my family towards a healthier lifestyle and that includes avoiding packaged foods as much as possible. That is the reason you see all these homemade recipes on our blog and the youtube channel. I was not always so conscientious about what is in the various products that we used. But this happened progressively after we became parents. That is when I started to read the fine prints and the ingredient list on most things I purchased. This included the various baby products that I bought for my little one.
As I read and researched more and more about it, I was surprised to know how those harmless looking contents were actually full of toxins, which are banned in plenty of developed countries. I also came to know that infants upto 2 years of age are 10 times more vulnerable to carcinogenic chemicals than adults. Children accumulate up to 50% of their lifetime cancer risk by their second birthday.
So I thought of sharing some of my research on various toxins which are present in a lot of baby products and may cause harm to baby without us even realising it.
You might have heard of the word Parabens. Parabens can be found in soaps, baby shampoos and lotions.
Parabens can cause breast cancer tumors, reproductive toxicity, hormone disruption and skin irritation. Stay away from ingredients ending in “– paraben.” There may be parabens even in your baby’s wipes.
2) 1,4 Dioxan
1,4 dioxan is classified as an ether. The process of Ethoxylation is used to provide mildness to harsh ingredients, and requires the use of the cancer-causing petrochemical ethylene oxide, which generates 1,4 Dioxane. It is a kidney toxicant, neuro-toxicant and respiratory toxicant. You won’t see 1,4 Dioxane listed on the product’s ingredient labels, because it is considered a ‘contaminant’ and is carcinogenic.
Organic Consumers Association’s (OCA) study indicates the toxin is present in products with synthetic ethoxylated ingredients, including those with myreth, oleth, laureth, ceteareth, any other “eth,” or PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, or oxynol, in their names.
Baby products with this ingredient in it may also have traces of formaldehyde, nitrosamines, phthalates and other contaminants.
3) PEG (Poly Ethy Glycols)
Various chemicals of this family of poly ethylene glycols are found in lotions, creams and shampoos. These glycols are carcinogenic and may cause brain, liver and kidney damage.
This petroleum ingredient reduces the skin’s natural moisture, increases the appearance of ageing and leaves you vulnerable to bacteria. Look out for PEG on the baby product label.
The reason that glycols are used in such abundance in cosmetic products is that they are cheap while the similar non-toxic organic ingredients needed to replace them are expensive. The reason a number packaged cookies remain soft and tender even months after buying them, is the addition of propylene glycols.
4) Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
This harmful ingredient, recognized as one of the most harmful ingredients in personal care products. It is strong detergent and is found in car wash soap, engine degreaser and detergents too!
This and other sulfates are used to give soaps, shampoos and toothpastes that foamy appeal. These are the cheapest way to create foam and hence they are used in most foamy products. These are very harmful and can linked to eye damage, depression, skin irritation and diarrhoea.
This irritant can be extremely harsh on the delicate skin of a baby/child and can keep their eyes from developing optimally. It can damage the immune system; causing separation of skin layers and inflammation of skin. (Source: List of carcinogens)
5) Mineral Oil
Mineral oil is a by-product of petroleum processing and is literally like a plastic wrap on the skin. Sometimes baby oil is a horrid combination of mineral oil mixed with fragrance.
6) Fragrances/ Perfumes
An undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals. Perfumes may contain hundreds of ingredients to create the desired smell.
Many baby products like body powder, baby wash, shampoo, lotion, diapers contain fragrance. There is evidence that exposure to fragrance leads to asthma, causes neurological, skin, respiratory and eye damage too. Avoid any product that lists fragrance, perfume or parfum.
You must have heard about how many developed countries have banned talc based baby powders and many baby powders use corn starch instead now.
The reason for this is that talc may be contaminated with asbestos fibers causing respiratory toxicity and cancer. USGC study has proved that even asbestos-free talc is toxic and carcinogenic. This powdered mineral is often added to baby powder, but is a lung irritant.
8) FD & C Color pigments
Synthetic color pigments derived from coal tar are one of the most toxic ingredients that are commonly found in many cleansing and beauty products as well as foods. FD&C color pigments, also known as artificial coloring or food dyes, are found in many everyday personal care, “health” and beauty products including shampoos, facial cleansers, body washes, baby products, toothpastes, cosmetics, wipes, lotions, hand washes, deodorants and creams.
Phew!! And this is only the tip of the iceberg. If you dig deeper, you will find that toxins and chemicals are prevalent in almost everything we use. It is scary how many harmful toxins ,our children are getting exposed to right from the time they are born. Knowledge is power and education and knowledge about the presence of these toxins goes a long way in protecting ourselves and our children.