The baby soaps, shampoos, and lotions that are very popular in the market might be labeled “natural” or “gentle,” yet could also contained toxic chemicals which are harmful for a child’s skin and other organs, experts say.
According to a survey conducted by the Environmental Working Group, children are gradually exposed to 27 toxic chemicals through personal care products alone. In fact, most of these chemicals have never been checked the safety nor whether they are regulated in the U.S or not.
But when parents go shopping for baby products, looking at all of the information and seeking for safer alternatives may be very time-consuming and confusing. That’s why experts draw up a list of the 5 biggest toxic offenders to avoid when choosing personal products for your child.
Many parents might love the smell of the baby’s lotion, but fragrance can be associated with skin irritation, allergies, eczema and can be harmful to various organs in the body. Moreover, the term itself can be used as a cover for hundreds of other harmful chemicals within the product, said Leah Segedie, founder of the website Mamavation.com.
Parents should avoid products that are labeled with fragrance, perfume (or parfum).
#2 Phthalates and parabens
Phthalates and parabens are among a group of preservative chemicals in many personal care products like baby lotions and shampoos. Phthalates are dangerous as they are linked to endocrine disruption, which can result in a reduction in sperm concentration and motility, allergies, asthma and even cancer.
Another class of chemicals, parabens, is also found in baby products. Parabens are as dangerous as phthalates since they have been linked to skin irritation, developmental disorders, endometriosis, and cancer.
Parents should skip products that contain phthalates, DBP, DEHP, DEP and ingredients ending in “–paraben.”
Another preservative that can be found in water-based products is formaldehyde, a toxic chemical as it can cause allergy-like reactions such as headaches and nausea. This human carcinogen can be directly added to products or released through middle preservative.
Parents should be aware of products that contain quaternium-15, formaldehyde, DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, polyoxymethylene urea, glyoxal, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1 and 3-diol (bromopol).
1,4-dioxane a possible human carcinogen that is usually found in bath products. However, this is a chemical byproduct, so it’s rarely listed on a label. 1,4-dioxane can cause skin allergies and organ toxicity.
To avoid it, stay away from products that contain sodium laureth sulfate, xynol, oleth and ceteareth, as well as PEG compounds.
#5 Vitamin A and oxybenzone
Vitamin A itself is safe, but when contained in sunscreen and exposed to the sun, it can cause a trouble. A study carried out by the National Toxicology Program found that a form of vitamin A, called retinyl palmitate, may promote the development of skin lesions and tumors.
Products containing vitamin A, retinol, retinyl palmitate, retinyl linoleate, retinyl acetate, and retinoic acid should be avoided.
Oxybenzone is also a toxic chemical that’s used in sunscreen and should be avoided. This chemical is an endocrine disruptor and is tied to endometriosis and other reproductive problems.