It seems phthalates are cropping up everywhere. A recent article published here, When Getting The Lead Out Is Not Enough, highlighted some of the major health concerns linked to phthalates. Parents by now have heard about the incidence of this toxic substance in toys and baby accessories. Now it looks like we have a new worry.
In the February issue of the journal, Pediatrics, researchers found a link between use of baby skin care product and phthalates.
Phthalate exposure is widespread and variable in infants. We found that mothers’ reported use of infant lotion, infant powder, and shampoo was significantly associated with MEP, MMP, and MiBP urinary concentrations. This association was strongest in infants who were younger than 8 months. In addition, we found a relationship between phthalate concentrations and the number of products used.
The study surveyed a mix of mothers of children born between 2000 and 2005 and asked about usage of powder/talc/cornstarch, lotions, diaper creams and shampoos, as well as, plastic toys and pacifier use. Almost all of the mothers used baby wipes and about half used baby shampoo.
The result: the more products that parents used on their babies, the higher the concentrations of phthalates found in their urine, leading to the hypothesis that phthalates enter children’s bodies not only when substances containing this chemical enter through their mouths but also through their skin.
We found a strong association between several phthalates and infant care products that are applied dermally and therefore conclude that this is a major source and route of exposure for infant phthalate exposure, but phthalates from these products may also be ingested orally and inhaled.
The study did not ask what brands of products were used on the infants and, interestingly, did not differentiate between such natural products as cornstarch and processed products such as talc. I’d be interested in hearing from manufacturers of natural baby care products for their take on this study.
In the meantime, you can check The Environmental Working Group’s database of skin care products to fine those that are safest for baby’s skin.
Melissa Blackwell says
This is frightening! My 19 month old inherrited his dad’s dry skin and i use lotion on him twice a day. At night he gets his lavender lotion which has been pushed as relaxing…now I find out it may make him sterile?!? it’s bad enough we had to worry about lead in toys and plastics leeching chemicals to the point where I am leery of every sippy cup – but now the lotion I have been using on him is dangerous?! How do we know what ingredients to look for? What brands to avoid? How do we find phthalate-free products? No one tells us that – just not to use lotion. Not helpful at all.
Jennifer Lance says
My son also had dry skin and eczema. Here is the wonderful product we used:
You can also look up the safety of any beauty product on Skin Deep:
Here is just some brief info. Feel free to contact me if you would like more information about Belli. I’d be happy to chat with you more or put you in contact with one of our founding physicians.
At Belli,we have known about the risks of xenoestrogens (phthalates) for several years, and we’re able to use that information to help formulate our products. Our Belli Baby collection contains only natural fragrances, and is completely free of phthalates.
In fact, Belli Baby goes a step further by excluding ALL known xenoestrogens for our formulations. We’re also the only brand in the WORLD that teratology screens our pregnancy products to avoid ingredients linked to birth defects. This is why we are #1 ob/gyn recommended. We are the safest skin care for mom and baby, no one can match our ingredient screening processes.
I’m part of a group called Going Green Family and this month our focus is looking at the toxic personal products we’re using and gradually weeding them out over the next month.
We’re finding that a great place to start is to sit down with a few of your favorite products and log on to (the already mentioned) Skin Deep (http://www.cosmeticdatabase.com/), a searchable database that tells you about the ingredients in your product, and suggests healthier alternatives. Next time you go shopping, you can buy a much healthier alternative.
You can check out our other ideas on our website at:
A great place to find all phthalates free products (most lotions, shampoos, soaps, etc arent marked at all!) is http://www.greenhealthybaby.com
They also have BPA free baby bottles, etc.