Natural and safe or carcinogenic baby’s skincare products?

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toxic chemicals in baby productsToxic chemicals in baby skincare products are hot news again this week. Stacy Malkan, founder of the non-profit campaign for safe cosmetics claims that her organisation has identified known carcinogens in popular baby products.

These aren’t the riff raff of companies, or little known manufacturers, but top leading brands such as Johnson and Johnson.

The toxic 12 list, is a list of ingredients known to be harmful to humans (including pathogens known to cause cancer and genetic mutations) and are found in many consumer beauty products, including those designed for babies.

The list is:

1. Benzoyl peroxide
2. DEA (diethanolamine) and MEA (monoethanolamine) and TEA (triethanolamine)
3. Dioxin
4. DMDM hydantoin and imidazolidinyl urea
5. Synthetic Colors and Pigments
6. Parabens (methyl, butyl, ethyl, propyl)
7. FEG (polyethylene glycol)
8. Phthalates 9xenoestrogens)
9. Propylene glycol and butylene glycol
10. Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate
11. Sunscreen chemicals like avobensone, benzphenone and PABA
12. Triclosan

Although levels of carcinogenic ingredients might be low in certain products, the problem is with overall exposure. A little in one product, a little in another used over time and that small exposure can start to add up.

There are some pollutants and toxic substances which we have no control over and we cannot avoid. But by purchasing safe beauty products, we can reduce our overall exposure.

Fortunately, there are many companies who are aware of the harmful effects of toxic chemicals in their products.  They are producing safer, effective and more natural alternatives for every day use.

In addition there are a great range of ingredients sitting in your own cupboards that can be used for beauty and cleansing. We’ll be covering more of those on the site. One very simple recipe is my oat and yogurt cleanser.

When Little Miss Green was a babe, we used virtually no products at all on her. I mixed up witch hazel and grapeseed oil to clean her bum, massaged her with jojoba oil with lavender, rose and chamomile essential oils in it and we used just water to wash her hair. We never used shampoo, bubble bath, body lotion  -there was no need; nature does a fine job of delivering perfect babies with great skin!

If you want to learn more, a great resource is the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. This free database has toxicity information about 30,000 products, and you can search for all the baby products in the database to find the safest brands.

My advice goes back to simple basics. Choose produces without synthetic fragrances (you can’t beat the smell of babies skin!) or dyes and simplify your routine. There really is no need for most of the products available today.  Keep the toxic 12 in mind, avoid them like the plague and look for products with only a few safe ingredients.

If you want to buy products, three of my favourite companies include:

Green People
Nature’s Paradise
Nothing Nasty

What about you? Does this information worry you? Do you think it’s blown out of proportion and do you have any favourite ‘safe’ companies to tell us about?

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