Green Baby Clean: Living Free of Phthalates and Parabens

Green Baby Clean: Living Free of Phthalates and Parabens


Qiana & Cooper Watson

The first time we washed our son in a basin he became very upset, though his cries pierced our young parental ears, it was still a wonderful experience to go through because it was a way of being able to nurture him; a way of bonding with him. We had all of his bathing supplies laid out for the occasion. They included a bottle of scented liquid body soap, baby shampoo, baby powder, baby lotion, and a little yellow baby towel. Many of the products we cleaned him with worked just fine and they were products put on the market for babies so we believed that they were completely safe as well.

Unfortunately, there is one important thing that we did not know about the products we use to clean our baby. A lot of these products contain Phthalates (pronounced th-al-ates) and Parabens (pronounced par-ah-bens); the former is a synthetic chemical used to make plastics flexible and stabalize fragrances in many consumer products (i.e. cosmetics) and the latter is a chemical preservative used in skin care products (i.e.shampoos,shaving and cleansing gels, lotions, topical pharmaceuticals and lubricants).

Phthalates have been shown to cause birth defects in animals. In an article published in the February 2008 edition of the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the authors stated that 'young infants are more vulnerable to the potential adverse effects of phthalates given their...metabolic capabilities, and developing endocrine and reproductive systems.

Parabens have been found to mimic the hormone estrogen and might contribute to the development of breast cancers. In an article published in the July 2002 edition of the Archives of Toxicology it was stated that when newborn male mammals are exposed to butyl paraben (an anti-fungal preservative in cosmetics), it “adversely affects the secretion of testosterone and the function of the male reproductive system.”

There are many health concerns associated with phthalates and parabens. There is no reason to risk exposing your baby to these chemicals when there are alternative products on the market. It is important that we find organic products that not only meet our babies cleaning needs but are safe for them as well.

When choosing your organic products make sure that you read the labels very carefully. Just because a product states that it is natural does not mean it is necessarily phthalate and paraben free. Here are some ways to determine whether a product contains these chemicals:

1) The first and most obvious is to look for products that say phthalate free (please note that not many products are labeled this way).

2) Identify phthalates in products by their abbreviations or chemical names such as DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate)DEP (diethyl phthalate), and BzBP (benzylbutyl phthalate).

3) Identify parabens in labels by the terms methyl paraben, propyl paraben, butyl paraben and ethyl paraben.

4) If it says 'fragrance' then it might have phthalamates. If is says 'unscented' or 'fragrance-free' there is still a possibility that the product is made using synthetic chemicals so as to cover the odor.

5) Contact companies to inquire about the ingredients in the products you are interested in.

6) Find out if companies have ingredient lists for their products that are either accessible on their websites or can be sent to you if requested.

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About the Author

Qiana & Cooper Watson are a writing team that focus on baby nursery ideas and tips. Their eco-friendly baby articles appear on
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