Why Organic Matters
These days, more and more parents are conscientiously choosing products that are organic, but does it really matter? Without a doubt. It’s more than a label – certified organic products must meet strict requirements in order to be considered unprocessed and pure, and natural products contain more of the healthy, uncontaminated nutrients our bodies need.
Why Babies Are Extra Sensitive
Babies’ skin is significantly more absorptive than adults’, which puts them at greater risk of chemical exposure. The EPA has stated that certain cancer-causing chemicals are, on average, 10 times stronger for babies than for adults. In fact, some are up to 65 times more potent!
Lower levels of certain chemical-binding proteins make it easier for chemicals to reach major organs. Since babies’ organs and systems are still developing they are more vulnerable to damage from chemical exposure. Infants have immature blood-brain barriers which means more chemicals can pass through to a developing brain.
Is It Worth the Cost?
Absolutely. Recent research predicts that one out of every two men and one out of every three women will get some form of cancer in their lifetime, and it’s been proven that many cancers are caused by the buildup of toxins within our systems. Every 40 minutes, a child is diagnosed with cancer. Sadly, more children than ever are suffering from asthma, allergies, cancer, autism, ADHD, and other serious health problems.
It’s easy to forget that we absorb products through our skin on a regular basis, and anything topical that penetrates our skin has an effect. Even tiny nanoparticles that are found in many products can quickly be absorbed. Once they’re in our bodies, chemicals can easily enter our bloodstream, storing themselves in fatty tissue and organs, traveling through our hair follicles and sweat glands, and building up throughout our lifetime. In certain cases, this can even result in heavy metal or toxic poisoning.
So while organic and truly all-natural products may be a bit more expensive, the long-term health benefits are priceless.
What to Avoid
- DMDM hydantoin
- Imidazolidinyl urea
- Diazolidinyl urea
- PEG – 100 Stearate
- Sodium laureth sulfate
- Sodium myreth sulfate
Other Chemical Culprits
Diethanolamine or DEA – Diethanolamine is commonly used in shampoos and soaps, and can be very irritating to babies’ skin. This potentially cancer causing agent can react with other ingredients in the formula to create a potent carcinogen called nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA). DEA can also block the absorption of choline, which is critical for the development of your baby’s brain.
Propylene Glycol – This ingredient, commonly found in shampoos, is known to be a skin irritant and can also cause damage to the liver and kidneys.
Parabens – Parabens are used in some baby products as inexpensive preservatives. These parabens can show up under the names methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and isobutylparaben. Parabens can act like the female hormone estrogen and have been linked to breast cancer in some studies. Methylparabens in particular, have been linked by the EPA to hormonal, developmental and neurological disorders along with some types of cancer.
“Natural” Doesn’t Mean Safe
There’s been an increased focus on natural and organic, and many companies have recognized that there’s a growing market for these types of products. Unfortunately, just because something is marketed as “natural,” doesn’t mean that it’s truly “organic,” “all-natural,” or most of all, safe.
Many baby products marketed as natural still contain damaging chemicals. You may find the word “organic” on a product that has as little as 1% organic ingredients! A product can only be labeled “made with organic ingredients” if it contains at least 70% organic ingredients, which is an important distinction when it comes to what you’re choosing for your baby.
Here’s What You Can Do
- Look for the NSF logo or the USDA organic seal on products to ensure the safest ingredients and quality production. This means a regulated certifying board has given their stamp of approval.
- Read labels carefully! Look for harmful ingredients mentioned above or ingredients you can’t pronounce.
- Look for products that say “paraben free,” “fragrance free” and “SLS free.”
- Look up products you buy on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. It’s an excellent resource for assessing which personal care products to purchase.