It’s no secret that today’s parent are more concerned than ever when it comes to the foods that they feed their children. GMOs, toxic chemicals, and pesticides are some of the biggest offenders.
It seems like the more that we know, the more we realize that the products promoted in magazines and on TV may not be the best choice for our families, and the planet. Along with the buzz in the food industry, the ingredients in baby’s personal care products have drawn the attention of consumers worldwide.
Research shows that a baby’s immune and nervous system is far more vulnerable than an adults to the onslaught of toxins and chemicals that they are exposed to on a daily basis.
Babies have twice the amount of skin on their bodies that adults do, when you take into consideration their body size and weight. This means that your baby absorbs twice the chemicals that an adult does. Babies also breathe more than adults do, increasing their chances of inhaling harmful toxins.
By decreasing the amount of toxins in your baby’s environment, you could be sparing her from allergies, hormonal imbalances , and even some forms of cancer.
7 Are Baby Products Really That Harmful ?
Hidden behind a laundry list of ingredients that we can’t even begin to pronounce, traditional baby care products contain toxins and chemicals that are destroying your baby’s health, and the planet.
Just a few generations ago, the only baby care products available were truly all natural and eco friendly. Soap was made with lye, fats, and water, diapers were cloth, and babies were either breastfed or drank goat’s milk from glass bottles.
Today, our babies are diapered in disposable diapers, fed formula from cans, and scrubbed with chemical compounds that you would need a science lab to recreate.
We’ve traded truly safe, natural products, for convenience and chemicals. Research done by the Environmental Working Group, showed that there were over two hundred industrial chemicals and toxins evident in the bloodstream of newborns that were tested by two separate laboratories.
6 Is It Really “Natural, Safe, and Gentle”?
Baby care products bring in an estimated twenty three billion dollars a year. The profits provide the incentive for manufacturers to make products with the cheapest ingredients that they can to increase their earnings, in spite of the health risk these ingredients pose to your baby and the environment.
By labeling their products “natural, safe, and gentle” manufacturers instill a false sense of security in consumers whose busy lifestyles have them mindlessly grabbing for products that can harm their babies.
- Talc- This mineral is used as a drying agent in many commercial baby powders. It is also known to cause breathing problems and contribute to cancer. While talc is a natural ingredient, it is found in rock formations that include magnesium silicate minerals, as well as asbestos. When the talc is mined it is virtually impossible to completely extract the talc from the other cancer causing minerals.
- Propylene glycol- This cancer causing chemical is used in windshield wiper fluid, and airplane deicer, and is a common ingredient in baby wipes. In addition to causing cancer, this ingredient opens up the pores of the skin and makes it easier for the body to absorb other the other toxic chemicals in products.
- Fragrance- Fragrance is currently unregulated by the FDA. This gives manufacturers the green light to concoct a mixture of any of the two thousand ingredients that are classified for use as “fragrance”, and not tell you what they are. Most of these ingredients are petroleum and coal derived ingredients that can cause asthma, neurological damage, eye damage, and respiratory issues. Fragrance is in everything from shampoo to diaper cream, and is often used to mask the chemical smell created from the other chemicals in the products.
- Mineral oil- Mineral an inexpensive byproduct of petroleum processing that provides barrier on the skin that prevents the skin from from releasing toxins.
- 1,4 dioxane and ethylated surfactants- According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Acute inhalation exposure to high levels of 1,4 dioxane has caused vertigo, drowsiness, headache, anorexia, and irritation of the eyes , nose, throat, and lungs in humans. It may also irritate the skin. Damage to the liver and kidneys has been observed in rats chronologically exposed in their drinking water.” These issues can prove to be fatal in infants, who absorb toxins at a higher rate. While your baby may not drink baby care products with 1,4 dioxane in them, babies tend to put their hands in their mouths and ingest whatever substances are on their hands.
- Triclosan- Whenever a product claims to be “antibacterial”, it usually contains triclosan. Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor, which can wreak havoc on your baby’s immature body systems.This ingredient has been known to cause cancer. Because triclosan is in antibacterial soaps and wipes, babies are prone to ingesting residue from their hands, placing them at higher risk for complications.
- Parabens- Parabens are in almost all baby washes, shampoos, lotions, and lotions. This neurotoxin has been known to cause hormonal imbalances, reproductive toxicity, and skin irritation.
5 Natural Products
Just because a product states that it is “natural” or “safe”, doesn’t mean that it truly is.Because of the attention that the dangers of chemicals and toxins are getting in the media these days, many manufacturers have added certain buzz words to their labels, without changing their chemical laden formulas.
The best advice is to check those labels! Avoid products that list the following as ingredients:
- propylene glycol
DIY Natural Baby Care
When it comes to DIY natural baby care recipes, the internet is chock full of them, and books on the subject abound on Amazon. Here are a few DIY ideas for those of us who like to keep it simple:
- For body wash and shampoo, use an organic liquid castile soap. These gentle formulas come scented with all natural ingredients, and help baby get squeaky clean.
- Some natural mommas opt to bathe baby in plain water to preserve the natural oils in baby’s skin.
- Instead of mineral oil based baby oil, use an all natural oil with a few drops of lavender or chamomile essential oil added for an all natural scent boost. Organic olive oil is a super frugal choice that has tons of skin softening properties.
- Use coconut oil for diaper cream and as a lotion substitute. Coconut oil has been used for centuries by Polynesians as an antiviral and antibacterial skin softener.
- Use arrowroot powder with a few drops of essential oil blended in as a safe substitute for baby powder. For convenience, place it in a sugar shaker.
Not only are these DIY hacks frugal, they are easy on the budget as well!
4 What About Diapers?
Using disposable diapers is just a part of parenting in today’s time crunched world. Diaper companies have earned the trust of millions of parents over the years, so much so that few question whether or not there could be dangerous chemicals lurking in their baby’s diapers.
Toxins in diapers are especially dangerous because babies are exposed to them 24/7, and the skin on baby’s diaper area is delicate, and absorbs toxins at a higher rate than the skin on other areas of the body.
Dioxins and sodium polyacrylate are found in almost all disposable diapers, and have been known to cause following:
- reproductive and fertility problems
- respiratory issues
- allergic reactions
- chemical burns
- developmental problems
- cognitive issues
The outside waterproof cover is made from petroleum products. The plastic cover of one diaper takes one cup of crude oil to make. Three and a half billion gallons of crude oil are used annually to manufacture disposable diapers in the United States alone. Thats enough to power over five million cars for one year.
Wasting precious oil places the environment and our country in danger as we seek out new ways to provide for the ever growing demand for fossil fuels.
Why place your baby and our planet at risk all in the name of convenience? Today’s cloth diapers are more convenient than ever, and more and more childcare providers are accommodating parents who wish to use them. Besides, you can literally save thousands of dollars by the time your baby is toilet trained.
3 Bottles and Nipples
Baby bottles and nipples can also harbor toxins. Latex bottle nipples can release cancer causing chemicals, called nitrosamines, whenever baby is fed. Because they tend to break down easily, they can harbor harmful bacteria in small cracks.
Polycarbonate is a plastic that is commonly used to manufacture bottles. The FDA found that this plastic leaches bisphenol- A into baby’s formula during heating and streilization. This common plastic is an endocrine disruptor, causing hormonal imbalances, cancer and other issues.
Other types of bottles use disposable bags that contain phthalates, that are known to cause cancer.
Bottles with designs on the outside are also a danger, as the toxic materials used in making the design can rub off and be absorbed into baby’s skin or ingested.
The best option for bottles is a tempered glass bottle with a silicone nipple. These bottles are readily found in big box stores, as well as online. Because these bottles are made to last, they can easily be passed down to other children, making them much cheaper than their plastic counterparts.
2 Cleaning Up
Keeping things clean for a new baby is one of new parents top priorities, but it can also expose your child to a number of toxins and chemicals that can cause life long issues.
The US Poison Control Centers report that ten percent of all toxic exposures in America are due to the chemicals and toxins in cleaning products. Forty four percent of all poison exposures occur in children under the age of six.
Over two million children under six are poisoned each year by the same dish soap we use to clean our dishes. This seemingly harmless household product leaves ammonia and formaldehyde residue on baby’s bottles, silverware, and plates that is digested by by your baby and goes directly into baby’s bloodstream.
Fragrances in household cleaners may give your home a fresh scent, but they also contain ingredients that can cause acute respiratory distress. The same goes for the synthetic fragrances used as air fresheners.
OSHA researchers have found that one third of the ingredients used as fragrance in products are toxic.Because there are no laws saying which ingredients manufacturers use as fragrance in their products, it’s difficult to know exactly which toxins products contain.
Because babies put everything in their mouths, it’s extremely important to search out natural cleaners to avoid exposing baby to harmful toxins.
In addition to the many all natural cleaners that are out on the market, people have cleaned their homes using products that you may already have in your kitchen to get their homes spic and span.
You can easily find natural cleaning recipes online, Pinterest is full of great ideas for cleaning your house naturally. Here are a few basic ingredients that can take the place of most household cleaners:
- baking soda
- lemon juice
- liquid castile soap
- essential oils
Natural cleaners may take a little extra elbow grease, but protecting your family from toxins is worth it!
1 Chemicals in Baby’s Clothes ?!
One of the most fun things about your baby’s arrival is dressing her in all of those darling outfits that you got at your baby shower. Before baby dons those adorable clothes, you need to treat them to ensure that toxins and chemicals aren’t up against baby’s delicate skin.
Clothing companies treat their products with toxic chemicals to prevent mold, keep them wrinkle free, and make sleepwear flame retardant.
Removing the majority of chemicals and toxins from baby’s clothes is quite simple. Here’s the quickest and easiest way to get the job done:
- Separate clothes by color.
- Wash the clothes using an all natural, organic laundry soap.
- Rinse the clothes twice, using ½ cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle each time.
- Hang outside to dry in the sun, if possible.
While it is completely impossible to remove every toxin from your baby’s environment, you can reduce the amount of toxins your baby is exposed to as much as you can. With just a little effort, you could be sparing baby from the complications that constant exposure to chemical overload can cause.