It’s no secret that we always want to do what’s best for our babies. After all, it’s second nature to keep our children healthy and happy. As a parent, you’re probably aware of the large selection of new products claiming to be just what your baby needs — but how much do you really know about the ingredients they contain? You’d think that since these products were created for a delicate baby, they would be safe. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Are these harmful ingredients commonly found in baby products lurking in your diaper bag?
6 Chemicals & Toxins to Avoid in Baby Care Products
After doing some digging, it’s been determined that some common baby care products contain a plethora of unsafe chemicals. Don’t worry, though — we’ve compiled a list of 6 ingredients that you’ll definitely want to avoid:
1. Propylene Glycol (PEG and PPG): Commonly found in many commercial baby wipes, as well as in your windshield wiper fluid!
2. Triclosan: Sometimes found in pacifiers or any other “antibacterial” product
3. Petroleum/Petrolatum: Often found in diaper barrier creams and other skin soothers.
4. Formaldehyde: Was previously found in mass market baby shampoo, it was removed from most several years ago. That said, ingredients that product formaldehyde are still common.
5. Talc: A frequently found ingredient in some baby powders
6. Fragrance (generally made of coal and petroleum derived synthetic chemicals): Often found in disposable diapers, baby powder, baby wash and shampoo, and lotions
This list is by no means comprehensive but just represents a few of the more comment “baddies” that are not banned in baby and other personal care products in the United States.
Why Chemical-Free Baby Products Are Important
Our babies skin is thinner and more absorbing than adult skin. That means every chemical you expose your baby to is more likely to be absorbed into her bloodstream. Why risk that when there are plenty of natural, non-toxic alternatives available from brands who recognize the risks.
While some of these chemicals may seem obviously harmful, others mask themselves as innocent and helpful. like Triclosan. Before knowing the facts, I would have instinctively chosen an antibacterial product over a non-antibacterial product. The tricky thing about Triclosan is that it’s a carcinogenic endocrine disruptor (try saying that 3 times in a row!), and it’s also pretty bad for the environment. While it was recently banned from hand soap in the US it remains legal and common in things like hand sanitizer. Point blank: let your baby’s system create natural immunity and resistance without the antibacterial products. Soap and water will suffice and can be augmented with germ-killing essential oils for extra cleaning power.
Petroleum derived products are common in adult and baby care aisle alike. We wrote this post on avoiding petroleum in personal care products. Why we would want to slather petrochemcials on the delicate skin of our babies is a mystery! There are plenty of soothing oils that are equally effective as a barrier cream or healing balm for chapped skin. Brands we love that offer all of the TLC but none of the chemicals to avoid include Previse, Susan Brown’s Baby, Weleda.
Now for the formaldehyde. It’s a known human carcinogen, meaning that it’s directly involved in causing cancer. Interestingly enough, formaldehyde might not actually be listed as an ingredient in your baby’s shampoo — it’s a sneaky chemical! Tear-free shampoos typically — though not always — contain formaldehyde-releasing chemicals called “releasers.” Common chemicals likely to contaminate products with formaldehyde include: Quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl urea, and Diazolidinyl urea. The good news is there are some great, safe choices on the market such as Baja Baby Shampoo & Bodywash. Bonus: it smells amazing.
Talc is another complex product, which is what’s commonly found in baby powder. Come to find out, studies have found that talc is linked to ovarian cancer and used to be contaminated with asbestos. Thankfully, the asbestos is no longer present in the products sold today, but even asbestos-free talc isn’t 100% safe. Luckily, you & your baby you don’t have to risk anything. Try talc-free products that contain arrowroot, earth clays, cornstarch, or rice powder, such as Nature’s Baby Organics Silky Dusting Powder.
Fragrance on a label really means “undisclosed chemicals”. If you use a baby product with that word on the label what you’re really putting on your baby is an big, scary unknown. The FDA allows this ingredient on a label to be undefined in order to protect trade secrets. Don’t be fooled by the word “unscented” – this product could still have Fragrance. Go for Fragrance Free or companies who derive scent from essential oils or other naturally derived sources.
How to Shop Healthy For Baby Diaper Bag Must-Haves
If you see one of these ingredients on an item you’ve been using, toss it. You don’t have to spend a lot for you and your baby to enjoy organic, preservative-free, and chemical-free products. You can be confident that everything in the Ecocentric Mom shop passes our rigorous standards for ingredients and chemicals to avoid in you baby’s care products and diaper-bag must haves. Other reliable sources include the Environmental Working Group website which rates some products. When in doubt, buy something certified by a reliable third party such as the Natural Products Association or Certified Organic.
What do you think of the information you’ve read? We want to hear from you!