What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Kids Sunscreens…

Summer On The Dock

I had no idea when I first became a parent of the variety of ingredients in kids sunscreens and how scary some of them could be.

And then one July day when my daughter was 2 she experienced a serious allergic reaction to a conventional sunscreen. Her wee body swelled terribly and turned beet red. Frightening.

Categorized by doctors as a ‘hyper allergic reaction’ it was something I never wanted to experience again.

And so the label-reading and researching began. The sunscreen that caused the reaction turned out to be a chemical stew. Try to find out what your child is allergic to when there are multiple potential culprit ingredients,  It included some likely suspects including oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate, isobutane, synthetic fragrance and homosalate. Enough to make a new mom cringe and her baby’s skin crawl.

The bottom line is I wish I had known before I slathered my first born in sunscreen that it could be much worse in many ways than what I was trying to guard her against.

Now I choose ONLY mineral-based sunscreens. Not only did my daughter have a reaction to the chemical-based stuff but in all my research I found concerns of endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity and cancer associated with commonly used synthetic sunscreens ingredients. Horrific for any parent to think of.

Only zinc oxide or titanium dioxide cut the mustard now. These minerals create a physical barrier and are not relying on chemical UV absorbers to do the work. As a bonus they do not sting eyes as do the chemical sunscreens and you don’t have to wait any length of time before going in the sun. Once applied, you are good to go.

Although there are MANY fabulous, SAFE sunscreen brands as per the Environmental Working Group, I do have my favourites that have served my extremely sensitive, allergic daughter well over the past few years:

Dr Robin For Kids SPF 30

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Best For: Super-sensitive-skinned, allergy or eczema-prone kids. No synthetics, no nut or seed ingredients, no fragrance or gluten. Bonus: It’s formulated by a pediatric dermatologist.

 

 

Thinkbaby SPF 50 / Thinksport kids SPF 50

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Best For: Sensitive and allergy-prone kids who like a little bit of scent. Still safe but yummy, all-natural scent.  My allergy-prone daughter is crazy for this stuff now.

 

 

COOLA Baby SPF 50

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Best For: Babies and very fair-skinned wee ones. Best to stay out of the sun of course but if you must, this super-safe, unscented formula offers a great physical barrier.

 

Good news is that there are lots of great sunscreens.  Do you homework here and make sure to choose something super-safe. You will find different brands carried in different areas so best to do your own research on a brand you might be interested in so you feel rest-assured. Happy and safe sun-screening!

Happy (and Safe) Spring Cleaning!

young happy mother is a housewife with a baby does homework and

Spring is finally here! So the age-old practice of spring cleaning our homes from top to bottom is upon us. Throw open your windows, enjoy the spring air and keep these 5 things in mind for happy, healthy, and safe spring cleaning:

1) Keep Cleaning Products Out of Reach of Children. Many conventional cleaning products are made with chemicals of concern and must be kept out of reach of small children. Keep all cleaning products well out of reach of little ones and read up on household chemical safety.  The Government of Canada offers safety tips on household chemicals because unfortunately, household chemical products are responsible for far too many serious injuries in children under the age of five each year.

2. Know Your products.  I have found that the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning is a great tool in determining the toxicity of ingredients in common household cleaners.  Simply type in the name of your cleaning product into their database and all ingredients will be listed and ranked in terms of toxicity. Look for an ‘A’ which indicates cleaning products which are the ‘cleanest’. ‘F’ just as in school, is a fail. You may be surprised what you find. And be sure to check EWG’s Hall of Shame for the worst of the worst cleaners in terms of toxicity. I once found I owned one of these. Yikes!

3) It is Not Necessary to Use Conventional Cleaning Products. Many people have great success with D-I-Y cleaning products made with ingredients commonly found in a pantry. These home made cleaners are effective, non-toxic AND far more economical than conventional cleaners. Loads of recipes exist on the internet…everything from floor to window cleaners. A good source for D-I-Y cleaners is David Suzuki’s Queen of Green. Get a copy of some of her tried and true D-I-Y cleaner ‘recipes’ here and give it a go!

4) Ready Made Clean Cleaning Products Do Exist!  For those who don’t count D-I-Y among their talents (I am one of these!) know there are fantastic, smaller companies making products with NO toxic ingredients.  One of my favourite Canadian line of all-natural cleaning products (and deliciously scented with essential oils!) is by Vancouver-based Sapadilla. From laundry to floors, they have you covered. And I love Toronto company, GRAYDON for their all-natural product, Germs Away Mist.  In my house, this product alone takes care of all unwanted household smells (think diaper bin, bathrooms, yoga mat or gym bag). Even germs on hands benefit from the natural anti-microbial action of The Mist’s blend of 15 essential oils including clove, peppermint and geranium. And essential oils are much safer and easier on the skin and nose than synthetic perfume compounds.

5) And Be Aware of GreenWashing.  Companies can use the words ‘natural’ or ‘Green’ as a marketing term in Canada or the US without being held to the product really being better or safer than any other product. This is important for parents to know especially when the safety of children is at stake. I was surprised when I bought a household cleaning product with the word ‘Green’ in the product name just to find that its ingredients were too toxic for my comfort-level.

Seriously…Plastic Beads In My Child’s ToothPaste?

Crest For MeNothing makes me crazier than huge corporations putting unsavoury ingredients in products marketed specifically for children.  There is no excuse.

I recently read an article on-line written by a mom/dental hygienist, alerting consumers about the use of plastic beads in tooth paste. The product specifically portrayed in the article was Crest’s ToothPaste For Me which promises to ‘Get The Gunk’ out for kids between 8 and 12 years old.  However, dental hygienists are finding the plastic beads are getting in and staying in…under gums. That sounds like putting ‘gunk’ into children’s mouths and I’m not ok with it.

Polyethylene does not break down, it is not biodegradable. So unless your hygienist can find and remove these beads, they will stay there. And what parent of a child wants to have their child go through having plastic microbeads fished out from under their gums?

I have to wonder why Procter and Gamble ever put plastic in any toothpaste, let alone one specifically for children? On their website, it is confirmed that the blue microbeads are added for colour. So kids are getting plastic microbeads stuck under their gums for COLOUR?

To find out if your product contains polyethylene, take a look at the Inactive Ingredients part of your toothpaste label. As well, the Skin Deep Database confirms specific Crest products reported to be using polyethylene beads.

Unfortunately my husband had just bought one of these Crest For Me toothpastes for our 8 year old.   Upset I actually owned one of these products, I called the company to voice my concern. They assured me PE is safe and is used in food packaging.  I asked if they had done any studies on kids health if plastic sits under their gums for years undetected? No surprise that I didn’t get a direct answer to that one.  Or do they know the impact is of kids having dental tools stuck up their gums to retrieve the beads? I just cringe thinking about it.

In my upset over my child having plastic beads in her toothpaste,  I didn’t even mention to P & G, how these beads are polluting our Great Lakes. Feel free to mention that point if you call.

Procter and Gamble can be reached at (800) 959-6586  or send an e-mail comment to them here

Is Your Child Suffering From This Not-So-Well-Known Allergy?

Most of us are well-aware that tree nuts, dairy, soy, corn, seafood and other foods can cause serious issues to those allergic to them.  However it is not so well-known that harsh, synthetic chemicals can also cause serious allergic reactions especially in children.

I found out the hard way a few years ago, when I slathered my then 2 year old’s body in a big brand chemical-based sunscreen thinking I was protecting her. The result was frightening. Her wee body swelled and turned red from head to toe. Luckily in our case no swelling of the throat occurred. The medical doctors attending to her described the situation as a ‘hyper-allergic reaction’.

However, as many parents of allergic children know, you NEVER let your guard down. You arm yourself the best way you know how and are always on guard. With allergies you can’t assume what the ‘next time’ could bring.  I now live life avoiding chemicals in my daughter’s products that could be suspect in fear of a similar or worse episode.

I was happy this week when CBCHealth raised awareness of chemical allergies. Their article documented the case of an otherwise healthy 8 year old girl who had an allergic reaction to a synthetic chemical in a children’s product. The girl was having her mouth wiped constantly with baby wipes containing methylisothiazolinone (aka MI or MIT). The picture of the young girl causes me upset. Unfortunately her parents had no idea what was in the wipes and the issue synthetic chemicals can cause.

MI is a very commonly used preservative that has been on my personal ‘hotlist’ since my daughter’s episode (it was one of the chems making up the chemical stew that was her sunscreen that day).  You will find this chemical on Health Canada’s Hotlist of cosmetic chemicals…a list of the nastiest chems known to be used in cosmetics in Canada. And if you research MI, you will also find medical studies linking it to neurotoxicity. All good reason for any parent to avoid methylisothiazolinone in their family’s products.

Also according to the CBC article the girl’s allergy was initially mis-diagnosed as impetigo or eczema and she was prescribed steroid creams and antibiotics.  As the baby wipes were still being used, the prescription drugs did nothing to clear up her skin. Makes me wonder how many other kids may have been similarly mis-diagnosed? And how many parents are not aware of the potential issues caused to children from commonly-used synthetic chemicals? How many parents think their child’s eczema-like symptoms may be an inherent skin condition as this girl’s family did?

Once I my guard down. My husband took my daughter to a classmate’s birthday party when she was in kindergarten.  It was being held in the family’s backyard. Being mid-June, the mom hosting the party opted to slather the child-guests upon arrival in big-brand sunscreen (full of the same chemicals that caused our family grief a few years before).  I never considered someone else would put product on my child’s body. As my husband ran to the car to retrieve our zinc-based sunscreen, the hostess was insisting not to bother as she had enough for all. In my perfect world all parents would be aware that products other than food can cause serious allergic reaction.

I understand navigating chemicals is not everyone’s cup of tea.  Fortunately, I have the advantage of having studied environmental chemistry at university. Since my daughter’s allergic reaction I have delved deeper into researching everyday household chemicals, all health issues they are linked to as well as alternative products which do not contain controversial chemicals. And I now love to talk chemicals to interested parents in hopes of helping out. So feel free to ask!

Toxic Trinket or Toy?

My 4 year old was at a classmates party recently and received the cutest little bauble as a giveaway. A brightly coloured ball on a keychain. Cute, cute, cute. But reading the ingredients inside the fancy pink ball made this mom squirm.

The product called Twist and Pout is a lip balm with SPF.  The package itself listed the active ingredients which did include 7.5% octinoxate and 4.5% oxybenzone. Both are commonly used synthetic sunscreen ingredients with oxybenzone being THE most controversial sunscreen chemical of the bunch. With health concerns that include endocrine disruption, oxybenzone certainly deserves a controversial billing.

I continued to check on-line for the remainder of the ingredients.  The company’s website sadly, did not list the ingredients.  After searching other websites that sell the product, I found the rest of the ingredients.

The fancy pink ball also contained retinyl palmitate. I had read recently that Health Canada is looking to put a warning on sunscreen products containing retinyl palmitate. It is suspected that retinol or its derivative retinyl palmitate breaks down in sunlight potentially causing cellular level damage. Yikes! The ingredients were beginning to sound more and more dastardly and far from being a suitable child’s toy.

I read lots of reviews of the Twist and Pout product on line.  Many blogs touted its natural ingredients and one even made mention of the products all ‘organic’ ingredients.  Huh?? Nary a mention of the unsavoury very synthetic ingredients. People seemed to love the feel of the product on their lips and of course the packaging was a huge hit.  The do-gooder manufacturer even offers 5% of sales of ‘Pink Ribbon’ balls to Breast Cancer-based work. Are people choosing this product without focusing on what toxins are lurking inside?

It made me realize how ever-important it is to research your own products and ensure you are comfortable with the ingredients.  In this case, I definitely say ‘toxic trinket’ not suitable as a giveaway for wee kids.

The manufacturer of Twist and Pout has loads of opportunity to improve on their cute product. Take out the synthetics (including the fragrance of unknown origin) and more people ( including me) may be touting it’s complete and utter fabulousness.

Recently at my eldest daughter’s birthday party, I chose to giveaway Keeki Pure & Simple products and Clinical Luxury’s LipStuff. The kids loved them AND both lines contain only the most natural ingredients with not one suspected toxin. To me these nicely fit the bill for young girls who wanted to look and feel fancy without their parents having to worry about any associated risks.

***  I have never received compensation of ANY sort from any company whose product I gush about.  I like to think of myself as a cheerleader for companies making a difference by offering ALL NATURAL, safe products and simply love to write about them.

K-I-S-S Sunscreens

KISS is an acronym for ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’. It was originally developed by the US Navy in the 1960 so to avoid unnecessary complexity in hope of increased success of any given system. Basically the ‘Less is More’ priniciple.

This methodology makes great sense to me when trying to explain the complex world of sunscreens and their chemicals. I am asked almost daily by people about what to avoid in sunscreens? And why? And what best is to use? And for kids?

Here goes:  What to Avoid In Sunscreens K-I-S-S Style…

OXYBENZONE.  Take note of that word and know that experts are now linking its use to endocrine disruption, photoallergic reactions, persistence and bioaccumulation.  This means not only can it pollute YOU but once in the environment it doesn’t break down potentially wreaking havoc on marine life. No two ways around it but to AVOID IT.

The Environmental Working Group notes these sunscreens use oxybenzone:

  • LaRoche-Posay Anthelios 60 Face UltraLight Sunscreen SPF 60
  • Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Lotion Sunscreen SPF 30
  • Aveeno Active Naturals protect + Hydrate Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30

RETINYL PALMITATE. This skin-conditoning agent has been found by the FDA to produce free-radicals that can damage DNA and cause gene mutations when exposed to UV light. So why is it used in sunscreens and especially those for kids???  Well clearly Canadian authorities are onto it as in the last few days it has been reported that Health Canada is looking at putting warning labels on sunscreens that contain retinyl palmitate. Bottom line: avoid, avoid, avoid the brands that still use it in sunscreens.

And EWG reports these sunscreens use retinyl palmitate:

  • Banana Boat Baby Tear Free Sunblock Lotion, SPF 50
  • Arbonne Baby Care Sunscreen, SPF 30
  • Almay Line Smoothing Liquid Makeup for Dry Skin SPF 15

SPRAY SUNSCREENS. Not only do they pose an inhalation hazard BUT the propellant used is often a form of butane, a fuel used in cigarette lighters.  Remember last summer, people caught fire after using Banana Boat Spray Sunscreen? If you find yourself saying, ‘but it is so easy to spray vs. rub’…give your head a shake…really is the risk worth it?

What To Use: Zinc and titanium dioxide or a mix of are the two mineral-based sunscreen ingredients that Health Canada recognizes as ‘natural products’ when it comes to sunscreens.  The only issue with zinc or titanium is if they are ground too find such that the particles can go into the skin.  Look for ‘No Nanotechnology‘ or ‘No Nanoparticles‘.

Caveat: ALWAYS READ LABELS.  It’s a good habit to get into.  When in doubt research your ingredients on-line. And don’t assume a brand or product name with a natural or healthy-sounding name is better for you.  Read and research always!

Happy and safe sunning everyone!

The Warrior Mom circa 2013

I gave birth to two fabulous, healthy little girls in the last 8 years and found out the hard way that common everyday household products contain harsh, synthetic ingredients that in many cases, are not tested for safety. So for my family’s sake I have decided that I MUST be a catalyst for change.

I now question everything and I research to make more informed decisions.  And in the hope I might help someone else to avoid the experiences I have had, I blog. Most recently I joined the blogging team at Safer Chemicals Healthy Families. I am so impressed with the fabulous work Safer Chemicals is doing, I am beyond thrilled to be a part!

My personal interest in toxic chemicals started with daughter’s severe reaction to synthetic sunscreen.  It was Canada Day 2007. Her tiny body swelled and became beet red after I applied harsh toxic chemicals to her body called ‘children’s sunscreen‘.  She was two.

People stared at our usually beautiful daughter that day in the medical waiting room. She was distorted and looked rather frightful. Medical authorities said simply it was a ‘hyper-allergic reaction’.  Any parent who has been through this, no matter what the exact cause or exact result, will tell you it is a life-changing experience.

I reacted by becaming a warrior mom. I set out to figure out what had happened and why and how it could be avoided in future? I found out that petroleum-based chemicals I had studied in University that were polluting waterways and affecting marine life were in my kids products!! And many are not tested for safety.  Scientists are now studying the health costs of using these cheap, industrial commonly-used chemicals.  The results are alarming… many common household chemicals are suspected carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. Shame on the huge corporations that continue to manufacture products for kids peppered with such toxic garbage.

Even if you have never considered toxins may be in your kids products, take a minute to read your own product labels. Make google your best friend and research, research, research. This will help you to be armed to make informed decisions. If your child hasn’t had an outward reaction as mine did you are fortunate. Trust me when I say that your research will confirm lots of nasty chems commonly used in everyday household products. Best to know these can be silently harming your children.

Who is surprised that moms are leading the way in demanding change?  I have since found that I am one small voice in a group of many moms trying to educate other moms and to ultimately make huge corporations change their ways for the sake of ALL of our children. Some note-worthy moms are moving mountains to speak up against environmental causes of childhood illnesses that plague us in 2013.  From autismfood sensitivities, life threatening allergies to pediatric cancers.The stats on increasing incidence of all of these is major cause for concern.

If you have ever wondered how successful moms are at affecting change, know that there have been some fabulous success stories of moms causing BIG BUSINESS to make healthful change. Such outstanding work! Keep on going sisters there is loads of work to still to be done!

If you know a mom or a mom to be, who may not know this info, please pass this post on to her.  Post something about this subject on your Facebook page or tweet about it. And if you feel so inclined, start a petition, sign a petition, or speak to other moms about this subject. AND speak with your wallet. Stop buying and they will stop making. If we don’t speak up, industry will most likely never choose to change.

Some of my favourite resources and some of the major catalysts for change on both sides of the 49th parallel are Environmental Defence Canada, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, Women’s Voices for the Earth,  and one of my all-time fave fellow warrior moms, Lori at Groovy Green Livin….I am inspired and impressed with all these people’s efforts everyday on behalf of children and families everywhere. All are worth a ‘follow’.

Feel free to share any personal comments or stories with me.  I would love to hear from you!

The Dark Side Of Baby Oil And Why You May Want to Avoid It

Conventional baby oil is made from mineral oil and fragrance. Mineral oil is sometimes called liquid paraffin (or Paraffinum Liquidum) as it closely resembles melted wax. You will find it listed by either name as an ingredient on product labels.

Mineral oil is a by-product of the petroleum industry, which translates to it is derived from crude oil.  Make no mistake, it is not environmentally-friendly nor baby-friendly. Pictures you may have seen of an oil spill in water gives a visual of the environmental part of the issue. As well, many believe that using mineral oil on your child’s skin is akin to wrapping the tot in plastic wrap as skin really can’t breathe properly when doused in petroleum oil. Worse, is that mineral oil is a suspected carcinogen according to some environmental experts and in recent years mineral-based baby oil has caused horrific, unspeakable injuries to at least one baby and death to  others.

So I am convinced that there may not be a more frightening ‘baby’ product available. As it is always best to know all the risks associated with a product so that you can make the best decision for your family, here are some details:

In 1985, a 15 month old boy suffered horrible injuries after he drank baby oil oil and inadvertently got some in his lungs.  The boy lived but is reported to live today in a state where he cannot move his arms or legs as they are stiff and spastic. He cannot speak and suffers mental retardation. A lawsuit ensued, the details can be seen here.

And in 2001, a 16 month old boy died in the US after swallowing baby oil and also getting some into his lungs.  According to this account, It took 28 days for the end to come, when he suffocated to death. Sadly, it was reported that doctors could do nothing to help him once the oil got into his lungs.

And in the news this past summer, a 14 month old girl in California died after ingesting baby oil. Reports of the tragedy, confirm the baby’s mother said that it took a split second for her daughter to get the baby oil and ingest it.  Little Mya Rose lived for a number of weeks then passed away earlier this month.

The bottom line was that the parents in each case claimed they had no idea that this product was a hazard to young children and thus, it was not treated as a potentially dangerous substance in their home.  I have to admit that when my kids were babies I had no idea either and had baby oil in arm’s reach of the change table. And even though it makes perfect sense that a child could aspirate on an oil, I had no real thoughts of the inherent danger either.

The early cases were apparently integral in putting in place laws regarding child-proof lids on products that could possibly injure children. However the danger still exists, so it is good to know that better alternatives exist to soothe your child’s skin without the potential risk of asphyxiation.

What’s the alternative?  For a baby’s behind, choose a good quality all-natural (non-liquid) balm made from soothing, plant-based oils such as olive and jojoba.  I like Ella’s Botanicals Magic Balm or Bottoms Up! Diaper Balm.  The Magic Balm has multi-uses for soothing all dry, irritated skin so is good for the entire family.  For a cream-based skin soother, I know tons of mamas who love the all-natural Original Sprout’s Scrumptious Baby Cream.  It definitely works well at soothing chafed skin and the scent is very close to the scent of conventional baby oil. Interestingly, the entire Original Sprout baby line seem to elicit almost a cult-like following by moms in the know. And for an unscented option,a good option is Dr. Robin For Kids Daily Moisture Cream. As it’s a great moisturizer developed by a doctor for children with super-sensitive or eczema-prone skin. And as the scent is  not specifically ‘baby’, it a good choice for anyone in the family to use. And a tube lasts a long, long time. Yippee!

If you have a personal favourite baby or toddler skin soother, feel free to let me know.  I always love to hear what other parents use on their wee ones skin. And please, please do pass this information along to anyone who may benefit from the info in hope this NEVER happens to another baby EVER.

I Was Feeding My Kids Butylparaben!

Butylparaben is a controversial but still widely used preservative.  As cough-medicine-babiesstrong evidence exists suggesting that this preservative is a human endocrine disruptor, people have opted to avoid it in droves with concerned parents leading the way.

I am on board having read details of the effects of butylparabens (and the closely related propylparabens) on the male reproductive system and the suspected link with parabens and breast cancer.  Ever since I found all of this out, I read labels and shun anything containing any sort of parabens in my family’s products. Sunscreen, shampoo, baby wipes, body wash and even bubble bath containing parabens that inadvertently made it into my home, were tossed out long ago.

So I was quite gobsmacked really to find that there was one place butylparabens were hiding out in my home…in my medicine cabinet.

After watching a segment of the Morning Show recently, which alerted parents as to where to check for toxins hiding out in their homes, I checked my kids Children’s Tylenol Fever and Pain meds. I was shocked to find the dastardly preservative had indeed eluded me!

How ironic is it that a medicine supposed to help kids get healthier and to feel better also contains something considered such a health-related issue that it has already been banned for use in young kids products in Denmark? Sadly no regulatory body has followed suit on this side of the pond so many wee North American kids are being fed a dose of potentially endocrine-disrupting preservatives every time they have a fever, a cold or teething pain.

I researched and found that there are a few big brand children’s cough/cold/fever/pain meds out there that DO NOT contain parabens. Much better choices if you too, wish to avoid controversial preservatives are Children’s Advil and Children’s Motrin as neither contains ANY sort of parabens.

Kudos to the manufacturers who figure out that parents prefer the less controversial variety of preservatives in their kids products. Even a link to ill health is not something most parents are good with when it comes to their tots. Needless to say, I know which way my dollar will be spent next time I shop for pain meds for my kids.

Please feel free to let me know if you knew this information already or if like me, you were surprised and will be making a change.

7 Nasty Chems to Avoid in Baby Products

 

iStock_baby in bathBaby bath and body products often contain unsavoury synthetic chemicals just as adult products do.  I am often asked by moms wanting to avoid chemicals with a bad rap, what to avoid in their kids products?

First off, I don’t subscribe to the’ If its allowed to be used, what could possibly be wrong with it?’ line of thought. My personal rule of thumb is if there is even a suspected health issue I will not use it on my kids. I grew up in an era when my parents said over and over again about smoking, ‘We didn’t know’…Science can take decades to conclude ill health effects of products and take action so why wait?

Here are current chemical concerns in common baby and kid products that I choose to avoid:

1) Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservativess such as Quat-15, Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea, DMDM Hydantoin

I found Quat-15, in the shampoo my kids were bathed in by hospital staff when they were hours old. I have really never got over the fact that both my babies had a ‘christening’ of controversial chemicals, only hours out of the womb. 

2) Parabens are one of the most widely used preservatives in body care products. Parabens have been linked to ill heath effects, most notably with breast cancer. Some baby products are ripe with this stuff. So make sure you are aware of brands that still see fit to use such unsavoury ingredients in baby products.

3) PEGs (polyethylene glycols) widely used as thickeners, solvents and softeners. There are a number of types of PEG’s used in baby and kid products.  The issue science has found with PEGs is that they are often contaminated with toxic compounds such as ethylene oxide and 1.4 dioxane both possible human carcinogens.  So best to be safe and not use any products containing these compounds

4) Sodium Laureth Sulfate is basically an inexpensive detergent which makes bath/shampoo products bubble and foam up. David Suzuki and others tell us it is ALSO often contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4 dioxane, again both suspected as human carcinogens. So as Sodium Laureth Sulfate is neither gentle on skin nor a safe option, better to avoid it. Check out baby shampoos currently using this.

5) Oxybenzone a very common sunscreen chemical.  Basically THE reason I gave up those conventional sunscreens when I had babies. Oxybenzone is linked to developmental, AND reproductive toxicity, and as if that’s not enough, also linked to endocrine disruption. So why do some products geared toward children still use it in baby sunscreens? And perhaps the most serious situation is by companies that claim to have at least one foot in the camp of natural or ‘better than’ products that use oxybenzone in baby sunscreens…. causing serious confusion in the marketplace.

6) BHT and BHA are closely related compounds which act as preservatives in moisturizers. These are also used as food preservatives most notably where kids are concerned in their breakfast cereals. Research has shown a link to messing up hormone function and both are sadly suspected as a human carcinogens. I find it unacceptable to find such nastiness in kids products at all.

7) Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone are widely used in shampoos and soaps.  As these are known neurotoxins, and are found in some kids products.   These compunds also used used in paper mills to control algae and fungus growth.  Yup, industrial chems. And be aware some ‘natural’ brands use these in children’s nail polish. So research your product ingredients to be sure you are getting something truly safe.

It is not so important what product or brand you use but that it is clean and offers no hint of potential health concerns.  And its good to note, ‘fancy’ brands are often no better. If in doubt, research and ask questions.

A great option to check what is in your products yourself is the Skin Deep database. It a valuable resource to check out ingredients in cosmetic and body care ingredients….even ingredients for which you may have sensitivities or allergies too. And if you find there is any suspected toxicity in an ingredient, of course you can research further.

I always like to say that we all need to become a warrior for our own family’s health. Only you can decide what level of risk you find acceptable where your family is concerned. And I take the stance that its best to figure out what level of risk is associated and then decide what I can live with. Nothing makes me crazier than someone trying to convince me about a particular chemical ‘It can’t be that bad or ‘Studies haven’t concluded…’  A ‘link’ to something horrible is enough to have me seek out alternatives where my family is concerned.