Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Fuss Over Phthalates- Are baby shampoos and lotions harming your child?

I’m a bit of a cynic when the evening news tantalizes us with the latest danger facing our children as it always seems there’s something new to be paranoid about- and that makes for great ratings. This newest study, however, is worth knowing about…even if it blesses me with a few more gray hairs...uh, I mean auburn, my natural color.

The latest study to come out and send parents into a tailspin involves the occurrence of chemicals being passed on to children through the soaps, shampoos, and lotions used for bathing. The chemicals known as phthalates (pronounced “Thowl-ates”) are used in plastic children’s products to increase flexibility and bind fragrances (they’ve already been found in chewable toys- yikes!). The aforementioned study has revealed that the presence of these chemicals has been found in the urine samples of children exposed to them. Here’s the scary part: These very common chemicals have been linked to serious reproductive problems, allergies, and skin problems.

What products contain phthalates?

Teethers and Soft Toys: A lot of companies have vowed to remove PVC and DINP –phthlate family members- from their products, but as recently as this December ran a test on seven popular teethers, and six came back positive. This is terrifying when you consider that these products are meant for the mouth! The Consumer Product Safety Commission downplayed these results because they contend the levels of chemicals are too low to do real harm, but they are “still researching the effects”. Sounds like a pretty scary gamble to me. Of the major manufactures, only Gerber has vowed to remove all such products from the shelves, but stores like Target, Kmart, Walmart, and Toys R’ Us have also promised to remove these products from their stores.

Baby Bottles: Bottles made of polycarbonate have been proven to leak the chemical bisphenol-A into formula upon heating. Stick to glass bottles or bottles made of polyethylene (bottles that look less shiny; they’re often colored).

Lotions, Washes, Shampoo, and Powder: Read the labels…many companies are now making products that are “phthalate free”.

What can you do?

1) READ ALL LABELS. When in doubt, call the information number located on the product and look for products specifically labeled “phthalate free”.

2) Wash all plastics for children in either the top rack of the dishwasher or by hand as you want to avoid high heat and strong concentrations of dishsoap.

3) Don’t worry about pacifiers and nipples, they’re made of latex or silicone.

4) Try to avoid teething toys all together, unless they specifically read “phthalate free”.

5) One word: Arbonne

For more, check out the following:

1 comment:

akd8505 said...

This is really scary and I have been following this story on the news. However, we all used these products and were able to produce children...Is this a new chemical that has been added over the past 30 years (yikes, that's how old I am + one)? If the chemical has been there all along, why test it now? I love the pacifier that I have - the NUK button size one for my newborn and is this on the list?