What kinds of products are you using with your baby? Are baby products safe?

Over the last few years I have gradually been phasing out many cleaning and personal hygiene products that have chemicals like the one mentioned below.  As more research comes out about the effects of these chemicals, I’m increasing happy that I have chosen alternatives.  There are many many options for alternative cleaners and shampoos and creams.  I deeply hope that all of you will give this some consideration.

BABIES ABSORB PHTHALATES FROM BABY PRODUCTS

Read the article in Reuters.
Babies absorb phthalates from baby products

Mon Feb 4, 2008 10:35am EST
By Megan Rauscher
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A new study suggests that baby lotion, baby powder, and baby shampoo may be exposing babies to potentially harmful chemicals called phthalates.
“At this time, we do not know what the potential long-term health effects might be, but there is a large body of animal studies to suggest developmental and reproductive toxicity (from phthalates) and a few human studies with changes in health outcomes as well,” Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana told Reuters Health.
Phthalates are used to make plastics flexible and stabilize fragrances, and are found in a plethora of consumer products including toys, personal care products and medical equipment.
As reported online today in the journal Pediatrics, Sathyanarayana, from the University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues measured the levels of nine different phthalate breakdown products in urine from diapers of 163 infants aged 2 to 28 months.
All of the urine samples contained at least one phthalate at measurable levels, they report, and 81 percent of the samples had measurable amounts of seven or more phthalates.
“We found that reported use of baby lotion, baby shampoo, and baby powder was associated with increased concentrations of monethyl phthalate (MEP), monomethyl phthalate (MMP), and monoisobutyl phthalate (MIBP) in infant urine,” Sathyanarayana said.
This association was strongest in young infants less than 8 months old, “who may be more vulnerable to developmental and reproductive toxicity of phthalates,” the investigators note in their report.
At present, U.S. manufacturers are not required to list phthalate contents on products’ package labels, making it hard for parents to make informed decisions, the investigators point out.
“If parents want to decrease exposures for their children, they can try to use lotions, shampoo, and baby powder sparingly unless otherwise indicated for a medical reason,” Sathyanarayana suggested.
SOURCE: Pediatrics, February 2008

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I’m sure many of you are already using alternative products, why not share your favorites here with us?  Maybe we will all discover a new product that is great and healthy.

Marie

Below is a Comment from Brandy – that is so worthwhile, I’m posting it into the main part of the blog entry.

Like you Marie, I, too, continue to phase out products from my baby’s and my own personal hygiene routine. A site I love is www.cosmeticsdatabase.com and you can search all of the make-up, skin care, and hair care products that your family uses on a regular basis. Products are analyzed by the not-for-profit group called the Environmental Working Group and they list all of the chemicals, noting their effects (eg. reproductive toxicity, neurological toxicity, carcinogenic etc) and rate how “bad” the overall product is on a scale from 1-10. Personally I love lines like Burt Bees, Aveda, and some body shop lines, but it is a challenge to find non-toxic products.

The other night I watched a documentary on CBC called “The Disappearing Male”, and wow (!), what an eye opener. It explores the probable impact of phtalates and other chemicals on our children, male babies in particular. Many experts feel there is a strong link between these chemicals and decreased fertility in adult men (as compared to their grandfathers who had 50% higher sperm counts!), smaller penis size and increased rate of genital defects in male infants, and a whole host of other health concerns (autism, behavioural problems, chronic diseases…). You can watch the entire documentary (45 min) at:
http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/doczone/2008/disappearingmale/index.html

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