Choosing The Best Personal Care Products For Your Baby

What do you need to know:

  1. Not all the products on the market are harmless.
  2. Read the labels very carefully, especially if your baby is under one year old.
  3. Look for the below ingredients in the cosmetic products you buy for your baby and avoid them at all costs:
Harmful IngredientCheck productWhat does it mean?
PEG (Polyethylene Glycol)Lotion, Diaper Ointment, Shampoo, SoapA class of Ehylene Glycol Polymers, it is used to moisturize, stabilize products and enhance other ingredients. PEGs assist chemicals to travel across one’s epidermis. A report in the  International Journal of Toxicology done the Cosmetic Ingredient Review proves that pollutants found in various PEG compounds include ethylene oxide (used to manufacture mustard gas), heavy metals (lead, iron, cobalt, nickel, cadmium, arsenic), 1,4-dioxane, polycyclic aromatic compounds.
Propylene glycolLotion, Diaper Ointment, Shampoo, SoapPG was voted upon Allergen of the Year for 2018 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society. Dangers of PG is skin irritation, allergic reactions, potentially toxic to the kidneys and liver, respiratory and cardiovascular issues, also may be condition for more harmful chemicals.
TEA (Triethanolamine)Lotion, Diaper Ointment, Shampoo, SoapThe American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) identified triethanolamine as a potent skin irritant in 2013. They stated that it could cause allergic contact dermatitis, contact dermatitis, irritation, eczema and erythematous vesicular lesions.
Used as fragrance, pH adjuster and emulsifying agent.
DEA/DEOA (Diethanolamine)Lotion, Diaper Ointment, Shampoo, SoapFound in brake fluid, degreasers and antifreeze. It reacts  with other chemicals in cosmetic products and can create a very potent carcinogen called nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA), which is absorbed through the skin and has been linked with stomach, esophagus, liver and bladder cancers. Also associated with miscarriages in laboratory studies. Used as an emulsifier in shampoos, cleaners, and detergents.
MEA (Monoethanolamine)Lotion, Diaper Ointment, Shampoo, SoapMEA has been classified in the EU for its corrosive effects. Primarily used in detergents, personal-care products, textile finishing, and wood treating. It can cause burns to the eyes and skin. It is harmful and corrosive if swallowed. It is also harmful if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. It can cause lung damage if aspirated, and repeated exposure may cause liver and kidney damage.
EDTA (Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid)ShampooEDTA salts are used in shampoos, cleaners, and other personal care products as a sequestering agent to improve stability. Considered an irritant to the skin.
BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)SoapAssociated with endocrine disruption, organ-system toxicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity, cancer, irritation.
BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)SoapAssociated with endocrine disruption, organ-system toxicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity, cancer, irritation.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)Lotion, Diaper Ointment, ShampooConsidered and irritant. Causes eye or skin irritation.
Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)Lotion, Diaper Ointment, ShampooConsidered and irritant. Causes eye or skin irritation in experiments conducted on animals and humans. Some products containing SLES contain traces of 1,4-dioxane, which is formed as a by-product during the ethoxylation step of its production. 1,4-Dioxane is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a Group 2B carcinogen: possibly carcinogenic to humans. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that these levels be monitored, and encourages manufacturers to remove 1,4-dioxane, though it is not required by federal law.
Quaternium-15Lotion, Diaper Ointment, ShampooWhat to look for in the label: Benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride, quaternium-15, centrimonium bromide, polyquaternium. It is a known human skin toxicant and allergen and possible eye irritant. It is also a formaldehyde-releasing preservative – formaldehyde is often the culprit of skin irritation and allergic reactions. The EU allows the use of Quaternium-15 up to 0.2% as a preservative in cosmetic products.
ParabensLotion, Diaper OintmentWhat to look for in the label: Ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, other ingredients ending in –paraben. Health concerns: Endocrine disruption, cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity.
Lanolin (unless organic)Lotion, Diaper OintmentWool alcohol, a component of lanolin, is the main source of allergens connected with this substance. People exposed to wool alcohol may develop allergic contact dermatitis, a type of rash, when they use products with lanolin. Swallowing products that contain lanolin can cause poisoning. Signs of lanolin poisoning include diarrhea, vomiting, rash, skin redness, and swelling.
1,4-dioxaneLotion, Diaper Ointment1,4-dioxane is generated through a process called ethoxylation, in which ethylene oxide, a known breast carcinogen, is added to other chemicals to make them less harsh. Cancer: Research shows that 1,4-dioxane readily penetrates the skin. 1,4-dioxane is considered a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is listed as an animal carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program. It is included on California’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer or birth defects.
FragranceLotion, Diaper Ointment, Shampoo, Oil, Soap, DiapersThe International Fragrance Association (IFRA) lists 3,059 materials that are reported as being used in fragrance compounds. Of these 3,059 ingredients, some have evidence linking them to health effects including cancer, reproductive toxicity, allergies and sensitivities. Current laws do not provide the FDA with the authority to require disclosure or public safety of fragrance ingredients. In the U.S., companies are required to list ingredients on the label; however, this regulation excludes the individual constituents of fragrance in order to preserve fragrance trade secrets. This sustains a loophole that leads to disclosure gaps. Read labels and avoid products when no information is given other than “fragrance”. What to look for in the label: Fragrance, perfume, parfum, essential oil blend, aroma.
Coal tar coloursLotion, Diaper Ointment, ShampooIt is considered a known carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. It is considered to cause cancer, organ system toxicity. Coal tar is a complex chemical mixture that also includes a number of suspected and known carcinogens, such as benzene, toluene, naphthalene, anthracene, xylene, creosote oils and benzoapyrene, which is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH). PAHs are a large class of chemical that are reasonably anticipated to cause cancer. What  to look for in the label: Coal tar solution, tar, coal, carbo-cort, coal tar solution, coal tar solution USP, crude coal tar, estar, impervotar, KC 261, lavatar, picis carbonis, naphtha, high solvent naphtha, naphtha distillate, benzin B70, petroleum benzin.
Mineral oilLotion, Diaper Ointment, OilA main health concern is cancer. The primary concern with petrolatum is the potential contamination with PAHs. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) considers PAHs as a class to contain reasonably anticipated carcinogens; the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) lists 14 PAHs as probable or possible carcinogens and one PAH as a known carcinogen. A study on Long Island, NY, found that those women with high levels of PAH-DNA adducts had a 50 percent greater risk of breast cancer. The formation of PAH-DNA adducts, an indicator of PAH exposure, is linked to cancer development. What to look for in the label: Petrolatum, Petroleum Jelly, Paraffin Oil, Mineral Oil and White Petrolatum (refined and safe for use).
TolueneDiapersConsidered to develop mental and reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity, irritation. Restricted in cosmetics in the EU; found unsafe for use in cosmetics by the International Fragrance Association Codes and Standards
XyleneDiapersThe health concerns:  Endocrine disruption, organ system toxicity, reproductive toxicity and bioaccumulation. What to look for in the label: Fragrance, musk ketone, musk xylene, galaxolide, tonalide. Environmental concerns motivated Japan to ban musk xylene and other nitro-musks in the 1980s. In line with the global International Fragrance Association (IFRA) standards, the European Commission banned musk xylene while musk ketone and tonalide are restricted. The United States does not restrict their use. It has been shown to have toxic health effects, such as cancer and brain damage, with long-term or high level exposure.
EthylbenzeneDiapersWhat to look for in the label: Styrene/acrylates copolymer, styrene butadiene copolymer, polystyrene, styrene copolymer, styrene resin, ethylbenzene, and vinylbenzene. Main health concerns: Styrene acrylates copolymer is considered safe because there is a low likelihood of absorption of the full compound. However, contamination with the possible carcinogen styrene is a concern.
DipenteneDiapersDipentene has been shown to have toxic health effects, such as cancer and brain damage, with long-term or high level exposure.
Latex rubberNipplesLatex rubber nipples can release nitrosamines, potent carcinogens, when babies suckle the nipple. They also tend to break down faster than silicone nipples, which can cause cracks where bacteria can hide.
NitrosaminesNipplesWhat to look for in the label: DEA or TEA can indicate the possible presence of nitrosamines. Nitrosamines form when certain compounds such as diethanolamine (DEA) or triethanolamine (TEA) are used in products along with preservatives that can break down into nitrates. Main health concerns: Cancer, endocrine disruption, organ system toxicity.
TalcPowderTalc is also used as an anti-sticking substance in food products and dispersing agent in animal feed and fertilizers. Talc-containing feminine hygiene products are widely distributed and commonly used in the United States. Main health concerns: Irritation, cancer, organ system toxicity. It is restricted in the European Union.
Antibacterial chemicalsSoapAnti-bacterial soaps are not necessary for home use. Children do not have to be protected from all bacteria, some bacteria are beneficial. Scientists are concerned that antibacterial soaps kill beneficial bacteria and also contribute to the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Not all bacteria will be killed by an anti-bacterial soap. The surviving bacteria are resistant to antibiotics and go on to produce a new generation of resistant bacteria. This means that when its really important, disease creating bacteria will be harder to kill. Antibacterial soaps can also be more drying and irritating.
Triclosan, one of the most popular antibacterial agents, is a derivative of the herbicide 2.4-D. It can create dioxin, a carcinogen, as a by-product. A Swedish study found high levels of this bactericide in human breast milk.
FormaldehydeSoap, Bubble Bath ProductsWhat to look for in the label:  Formaldehyde, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol) and glyoxal. Main health concerns: Cancer, skin irritation. Banned from use in cosmetics and toiletries in Japan and Sweden; in the EU, restricted in personal care products, and labeling is required in products that do contain these chemical; concentration restrictions in Canada. The EU allows the use of Quaternium-15 up to 0.2% as a preservative in cosmetic products.
PhenolSoapPhenol is a type of preservative. Formaldehyde, DMDM hydantoin, quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol) and glyoxal. Ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, other ingredients ending in –paraben. Benzylate, benzoic acid, and benzyl ester. Methylisothiazolinone (MIT): 2-methyl-4-isothiazoline-3-one, Neolone 950 preservative, MI, OriStar MIT and Microcare MT. Methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT): 5-Chloro-2-methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one and MCI. Phenoxyethanol, 2-Phenoxyethanol, Euxyl K® 400 (mixture of Phenoxyethanol and 1,2-dibromo-2,4-dicyanobutane), PhE. Triclosan (TSC) and triclocarban (TCC). Also, check for benzyl alcohol, benzalkonium chloride, citric acid, dehydroacetic acid, essential oils, grapefruit seed extract, lactic acid, levulinic acid, potassium sorbate, sodium dehydroacetate, sodium metabisulfite, sodium salicylate, sorbic acid, vitamin E, zinc pyrithione. Main health concerns: Cancer, endocrine disruption, developmental toxicity, reproductive toxicity, irritation, and many other health concerns.
Plastic (polyester, nylon, acrylic, spandex)Diapers, Bottles, Bubble Bath ProductsA common plastic used in baby bottles is polycarbonate. In separate studies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Consumers Union and researchers at Nagasaki University in Japan found that baby bottles made of polycarbonate plastic release a hormone-disrupting chemical, bisphenol-A, into infant formula during sterilization and heating on the stove-top. The Japanese scientists also found that used bottles leached up to nearly twice as much as new bottles. Other plastic bottles and plastic disposable bags for bottles may leach phthalates, another hormone disrupting chemical. Some plastic bottles have coloured designs on the inside of the bottle which can come off during heating. The best option is tempered glass bottles with silicone nipples. Both are widely available in pharmacies and department stores. Glass bottles are easily cleaned and sterilized, and can be handed down from baby to baby. Disposable diapers consist of a plastic exterior, an inner super-absorbent layer treated with chemicals, and a liner. One commonly used absorbent chemical, sodium polyacrylate, can trigger allergic reactions. Disposable diapers may also contain dyes and dioxin, a carcinogenic by-product of the chlorine bleaching process.

The list of things to pay attention to is quite long, but absolutely worth your attention.


Pregnancy & Motherhood

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