It’s a billion dollar market out there with fake claims to keep your baby’s skin and heath as perfect as possible. The unsurprising irony is that none of these baby skincare products is necessary. Your baby’s skin is far better off with minimal intervention. The fewer soaps, shampoos, lotions and products that one apply to the little one’s incredible new skin, the healthier and more perfect it will be. Along with baby skincare products, there are also other peripherals that are all often containing toxic compounds that harmful to a baby’s health.
The baby skincare products like shampoos, soaps and lotions you use on your child might be labeled “natural” or “gentle,” but could also be filled with toxic chemicals which are dangerous and carcinogenic
for your child’s health, according to latest studies.
In reality, babies are exposed to at least 27 types dangerous chemicals each day through personal care products alone, according to a survey by the Environmental Working Group. Most of the chemicals in use have never been tested for safety nor are they regulated in the U.S. and its worst in countries in Asia. As far as possible never believe any labelling of baby products made in Asia as the controls are very lax and often many of these companies are run by Chinese or Indians in various countries in Asia and South East Asia and they have no ethics, and are simply greedy. Those companies in South East Asia that often use celebrities or actors for product endorsement of baby products should be avoided completely as these are usually the unethical ones as they spend a lot on marketing but sacrifice safety and quality to maximize profits.
When it comes to shopping for baby products, sifting through all of the information and searching for safer alternatives is time-consuming, confusing and can make you want to pull your hair out but its important
Most common brands of baby products contain numerous toxic ingredients that will enter your baby’s body if used. The best option is to stick with natural, nourishing, and edible ingredients such straight oils (olive, sweet almond, coconut) and fragrance-free bar soap, although omitting soap and rinsing just with water is usually fine, too. (If you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, don’t use it.) Your baby may not have that stereotypical baby-powder smell, but he or she will be healthier in the long run, and that’s all that matters.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against using baby powder on your baby, because breathing the tiny particles can irritant baby's lungs – and those of her caregivers, too. Baby powder made of talc can be contaminated with asbestos, which causes mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer. Even the safer cornstarch-based powders create puffs of dust that baby can inhale. To protect baby's lungs, avoid baby powder, and opt for lotion or diaper cream instead.
Talc is powdered mineral is added to baby powder (and many other cosmetic powders). It’s used as a drying agent, but it’s a known lung irritant and may also be carcinogenic. The mineral talc tends to occur in rock mass formations that are intermingle with other magnesium silicate minerals, including the highly dangerous asbestos. Since it is
virtually impossible to extract the talc rock from the asbestos during the mining process, the carcinogenic contaminant is almost invariably going to be carried over into any consumer product containing talc.
Ever since news of this came out in the late 1990s, some companies have switched to talc-free baby powders, but there are still problems with many of the ingredients on their lists. Johnson and Johnson is currently facing numerous lawsuits in the US about its talc products and in the few cases it has already lost and been ordered to pay millions in damages while there is a whole list of cases being heard still.
Synthetic parfums or fragrance is added to countless products, either to create a particular fragrance or to mask the odour of the nasty chemicals used in production. The problem with fragrance is that it’s a catch-all term for whatever secret ingredients companies wish to add (they are not obligated to reveal what’s contained within ‘fragrance’), and are generally made of coal- and petroleum-derived synthetic chemicals.
The effects of fragrance are long lasting, lingering on the skin for hours, and can cause respiratory, neurological, skin, and eye damage. There is evidence that exposure to fragrance as a child may lead to asthma.
Fragrance is also added to disposable diapers (you know that strong baby powder-ish smell when you open a new package?), baby powder, baby wash and shampoo, lotions, and many other baby products. Check the labels carefully before you buy.
C) Propylene Glycol
This dangerous chemical is a penetration enhancer that is easily absorbed by the skin and may be carcinogenic. Its job is basically to open up all the pores and let the other chemicals in. Propylene glycol is used in wiper fluid and to de-ice airplanes, and yet it is often found in baby wipes, which is not safe. Look out for polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polypropylene glycol (PPG) on labels, too.
Try making your own homemade disposable baby wipes , or just stick with warm water and soap on a washcloth.
D) 1,4-Dioxane & Ethylated Surfactants
A recent study found that 57 percent of baby soaps are contaminated with 1,4-dioxane. Although it’s never listed as an ingredient, 1,4-dioxane is often present in beauty products because it is a contaminant or by-product that occurs when “ethylene oxide, a known breast carcinogen is added to other chemicals to make them less harsh”.
Any ingredients that contain the letters eth, then that is an indicator of the presence of 1,4-dioxane. Stay away from polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, sodium laureth sulfate, ceteareth, oleth, oxynol, -xynol, and PEG.
E) Mineral Oil
So calledFBaby oil is essentially made of mineral oil mixed with fragrance, which is a nasty combination. Mineral oil is a cheap byproduct of petroleum processing and acts as a plastic wrap on the skin, inhibiting the skin’s ability to release toxins. Opt instead for natural and nourishing oils such as olive, coconut, or sweet almond to massage into your baby’s skin.
Sadly parabens are everywhere. They can be found in all soaps, body washes, shampoos, and moisturizers, including those marketed toward babies. Parabens are neurotoxins and are linked to reproductive toxicity, developmental disorders,endometriosis, hormone disruption, and skin irritation. Stay away from anything with ‘paraben’ in its name, as well as benzoic acid and propyl ester.
Products that’s labeled as ‘antibacterial’ likely contains triclosan, which is a carcinogenic endocrine disruptor that’s also harmful to the environment. Although it makes sense to want to keep your baby away from unnecessary bacteria, that’s the wrong approach to take. By raising our babies in sterile environments, we inhibit their ability to create natural resistance and immunity, increase the likelihood of allergies, and render antibacterial treatments less effective for when we truly need them to work. Stay away from all antibacterial soaps and body washes. Many Hand sanitizers also contains triclosan.
H) Flame-Retardant Chemicals
A recent study tested baby products containing polyurethane foam and found potentially harmful flame-retardant chemicals in some foam-filled changing pads. For decades, such chemicals have been linked to learning disabilities, infertility and cancers and have been added to foam-based products to prevent fires, but scientists disagree about whether the chemicals improve fire safety. Avoid the ‘TB117’ label which indicates that the item meets a California flame resistance standard that virtually requires the use of chemical flame-retardants. And rest assured that keeping these chemicals out of your baby's changing pad won't increase your risk of a house fire.
I) Chlorinated Flame-Retardants
Most portable crib and bassinet mattresses recently tested positive for chlorine, a proxy for chlorinated flame-retardants, in tests conducted by the ‘Getting Ready For Baby’
coalition. Chlorinated flame-retardants, linked with learning disabilities, infertility, and endocrine problems, are still being added to these products, despite questions about their safety and doubts about their effectiveness. Help baby sleep easier by choosing products labeled free of chemical flame-retardants. As an alternative, seek products displaying the "TB117-2013" label. Such products are less likely to contain chemicals than products labeled with "TB117" compliance.
J) Vinyl Chloride
It is easy to find lots of waterproof, flexible vinyl toys at the baby store, promising to make bath time and play time fun. But vinyl toys are made from vinyl chloride, a cancer-causing chemical that has harmed workers and contaminated communities close to the factories. Vinyl chloride can also contain high levels of phthalates, endocrine disrupting chemicals added to plastic to make them soft and pliable. Keep bath time clean by avoiding toys with "vinyl" in the product description.
Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are used as preservatives in personal care products like baby shampoos and lotions.
Phthalates have been linked to endocrine disruption, which can cause reproductive problems, including a decrease in sperm motility and concentration, as well as allergies, asthma and cancer. To make it even more confusing for moms, fragrance can also contain phthalates.
L) Formaldehyde & Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives
Formaldehyde is a preservative added to water-based products to prevent mold from forming. It can be directly added to products or released through another preservative. Formaldehyde is a human carcinogen and has been linked to allergy-like reactions including respiratory problems, headaches and nausea.
To avoid it, stay away from products that contain formaldehyde, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol) and glyoxal. Can be found in baby bed sheets, cribs, mattresses and other peripherals.
M) Vitamin A and Oxybenzone
On it’s own vitamin A is safe, but when it’s used in sunscreen and skin is exposed to the sun, it can be problematic. In fact, a study by the National Toxicology Program suggests that retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A, may speed up the development of skin tumors and lesions.
When reading labels, avoid products that contain vitamin A, retinyl palmitate, retinol, retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate and retinoic acid.
Another dangerous chemical that’s used in sunscreen and should be avoided is oxybenzone, which is an endocrine disruptor and has been linked to endometriosis and reproductive problems. These products are found in baby sunscreens and also in a lot of baby skincare products.
Closing Take Away
Shopping for baby products is definitely not easy these days but its important to take all precautions for the well-being of your new loved ones. Thailand Medical News recommends
doing due diligence when shopping and preferably buy imported products from the US, Europe, Canada or Australia where standards are more stringent. Stay away from Asian brands especially those made by companies owned by ethnic Indians and Chinese , also those brands that tend to advertise a lot or use celebrity or actor endorsements in Asia. Do not trust terms like hypoallergenic, baby safe etc on labels found on Asian brands.