A recent study shows that phthalates found in some baby products such as shampoos and lotions may be, well, seeping into your baby. Phthalates are thought to cause reproductive problems in children, especially males. They’re not listed on the labels, so its hard for concerned consumers to avoid them.
From the LA Times:
The research, to be published today in the medical journal Pediatrics, found that as the use of baby care products rose, so did the concentration of phthalates, which are used in many fragrances.
The lead scientist in the study, Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana of the University of Washington’s Department of Pediatrics, said the findings suggested that many baby care products contain a variety of phthalates that enter children’s bodies through their skin.
Manufacturers do not list phthalates as ingredients on labels, so it is unknown which products contain them.
The researchers at the University of Washington and the University of Rochester stressed that the potential effects on babies were uncertain.
But previous animal and human research suggests that early exposure to some phthalates could reduce testosterone and alter reproductive organs, particularly in males.
MSNBC took some reader questions and asked some pediatricians to answer them:
What’s the alternative to using these baby products?
Karr: In terms of bathing your baby, plain water is all that you need. Special soaps and shampoos marketed for your baby are really just a cosmetic choice, so parents can save money and save worry just by using plain water. With the exception of maybe excessively dry skin, most babies don’t need lotions or creams at all.
Linkner: Parents should go to health food stores, and read labels the best they can. Buy organic as much as possible. If they’re concerned about diaper rashes, they can look for a non-petroleum, natural product. But natural soap and water is what you can use most of the time. Let’s face it – do babies really care what they smell like?
The LA Times says no link was found to baby wipes or to diaper creams.