Years ago, when I first started reading about how many chemicals there were in our food, personal care products, cleaners, water, air….you name it, I was shocked. I would read something and then put the material down to digest it, not to mention get the shocked look off my face. Once I resumed reading, the next shock would hit….one after another, shock after shock. In those days I usually walked around bewildered. Today, rarely anything has that effect on me. I have become shockproof, or so I thought, until the idea came to me for this blog post. The subject was to write about the chemicals in baby/toddler bubble bath soap. It has been a very long time since I’ve bathed a baby, as my youngest is heading off to college in the fall. However, something perplexed me to write. Given that it had been at least 15 years since I looked at baby bath products, I was absolutely stunned when I saw the ingredients! I haven’t had a “peel me off the floor” episode in so many years. I forgot what it felt like. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So here it goes…..
Did you know that your skin is your biggest organ? And, not only that, is super absorbent and sucks everything that you put on it into your body. When we take a bath, our skin is absorbing the water in the tub as well as everything we put in the tub. For instance, if we put some olive oil in our bathwater, it will get absorbed into our system. If we put chemicals in the bath water our biggest organ will suck that into our body as well. Our skin does not play favorites. Now, if we bathe our baby or toddler in baby bath products that contain chemicals, it enters his/her bloodstream. Scary!! Another problem with chemicals in bath water is that young children frequently put their fingers in their mouths. Hence, in addition to a nice dose of chemicals being absorbed via the skin, the child is also ingesting chemicals via the mouth.
I decided to check the ingredients of a bubble bath soap from a very popular baby brand….Guess who??!! Can I just say, “Holy s$it!!!” Now, as I list the ingredients, you can scream or I may have to peel you off the floor as well:
Baby Bubble Bath & Wash
Ingredients: Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, Acrylates Copolymer, Glycerin, Disodium Lauroamphodiacetate, Phenoxyethanol, Glycol Distearate, Fragrance, Tetrasodium EDTA, Laureth-4, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Polyquaternium-7, May also contain Sodium Hydroxide.
Since I cannot pronounce these chemicals, let’s take a look at this chart:
PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate
May contain harmful impurities linked to cancer or gastrointestinal or liver toxicity hazards
Sodium Trideceth Sulfate
Not assessed for safety
Film forming agent, antistatic agent
Surfactant, used for skin cleaning
This has not been assessed for safety
Potential for reduced fertility, classified as toxic and an irritant, linked to cancer
Skin conditioner, controlling thickness of product
Limited or no toxicity information available
Who knows what chemicals this consists of or their possible effects
Skin irritation, eye toxicity, kidney or renal system failure
Irritation: eyes, skin or lungs
Endocrine disruptor, increased risk for certain cancers, itching, burning and blistering of skin
Asthma, allergic reactions, skin redness, itching and swelling, hives, anaphylaxis
Control’s static electricity and leaves skin feeling soft
May link to cancer
· Surfactant (surface active agent) can be defined as an emulsifier, foaming agent, solubilizer, wetting agent or cleanser.
HOW CAN ANYONE RECOMMEND PUTTING A CHILD IN BATH WATER FULL OF THESE CHEMICALS?
I bet you’re wondering, “How can this happen?” I hate to break this to you, but the FDA does NOT regulate the cosmetic industry. The government granted self-regulation to the Cosmetic, Toiletries and Fragrance Association (CFTA) in 1938. This gives manufacturers “cart blanche” to use whatever chemicals they want without providing safety tests to the public. Even scarier, since we see the individual effects of each chemical listed above, can you imagine the synergistic effects of this toxic soup?
NOW HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS??!!......YOU HAVE A CHOICE! The beauty of choice is that there are alternatives! Your child will enjoy his/her own baths just as much, if not more, if you put items in the bathwater that you can find in your own kitchen. These items are safe, non-toxic and cheap! My favorite is milk, organic of course! Cleopatra was known for taking milk baths, which gave her soft, radiant skin. You can add a drop of an essential oil, such as lemon or orange, to make the water smell really nice. A milk bath can be made into a fun game to play with your child. Once milk is poured into the tub, the water will turn opaque. You can hide items such as bath toys under the water and make your child reach and try and find them. In addition, you can crack your child up if you play dress up (i.e. Cleopatra) as he/she takes a bath or maybe crack yourself up….LOL
Other items you can put in the bath water are olive oil or minced oatmeal. There are numerous organic body care books available. My personal favorite is Organic Body Care Recipes, 175 Homemade Herbal Formulas for Glowing Skin & a Vibrant Self, by Stephanie Tourles (http://www.amazon.com/Organic-Body-Care-Recipes-Formulas/dp/1580176763/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1302045880&sr=8-1) You can also find numerous organic bubble bath recipes for children online as well. These will be non-toxic, safe and best of all, you control the ingredients!
The bottom line is we must read the ingredients of personal care items we purchase for ourselves and others and make conscience, informed and educated choices……
Statham, Bill. What’s in your food?, Philadelphia, PA: Running Press Book Publishers 2006
(This is my opinion, protected by my First Amendment right to Freedom of Speech)