Organic Consumers Association

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6 Toxic Chemicals Lurking in Baby Products

According to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG), “the EPA has determined that infants up to age 2 are, on average, 10 times more vulnerable to carcinogenic chemicals than adults, and from age 2 to 15 they are 3 times more vulnerable to carcinogens than adults. Before the age of 2 babies have accumulated 50% of their life-time cancer risk.”

This is shocking information that every parent needs to know. As a society, we need to be concerned about what our children absorb through their skin, the body’s largest organ. There are numerous ingredients to avoid in a plethora of products, from soaps, washes, powders, and lotions to laundry detergent, dryer sheets, candles, and air fresheners. It’s scary but true that some potentially toxic ingredients and known carcinogens are not even required by law to be labeled on products.

So to keep your baby safe, always read the labels and be mindful of what may be hidden behind typical greenwashing words like “natural,” “botanical,” “pure,” and “free.” And always avoid purchasing baby-care products that use any of these 6 toxic chemicals:

1. Fragrance. The term “fragrance” on an ingredients label often means the product is hiding a chemical concoction whose ingredients aren’t required by law to be listed individually. Manufacturers can legally hide hundreds of ingredients under “fragrance” (or “parfum”). This is called a “trade secret” in the industry. More than 75 percent of the time, if you see “fragrance” listed, it signals legally hidden phthalates (THAL-ates), which are known endocrine disruptors that are linked with birth defects, breast cancer, infertility, liver cancer, diabetes, and obesity. On top of all that, exposure to phthalates during pregnancy is associated with autism and ADHD. Dr. Philip Landrigan of Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mt. Sinai has stated that prenatal exposure to phthalates can cause brain injury and behavioral problems. “Fragrance” is a deal breaker, so its presence rules out most conventional baby products.

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