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Common Baby Skin Products with Harmful Chemicals Part 1

Jessica Kellner


Tags: healthy baby products, toxic baby products, safe baby skin products, nontoxic baby skin products, phthalates, parabens, fragrance, Johnson's Baby Creamy Oil Aloe Vera & Vitamin E,

It's disturbing enough to look at the ingredients in personal-care products and cosmetics for adults--with zero government regulation, these products are frequently filled with chemicals that are, no exaggeration, proven carcinogens. Take, for example, formaldehyde, categorized as a human carcinogen by both the U.S. government and the World Health Organization. This ingredient is the base of keratin treatments used for straightening hair. It's also frequently used as a preservative in lotions and other products.

But it's even more disturbing to discover the harmful ingredients present in popular products for babies. Parents of infants--likely too overwhelmed to research every ingredient on every product they buy--purchase these items in good faith, hoping to help their babies. Unfortunately, despite marketing to make these items seem healthful, some common baby products contain chemicals proven to be harmful.

So for this blog series, I researched some of the top-selling baby products in the U.S., and hope to share their harmful ingredients for all the parents of little ones who are a little too busy to spend time researching product ingredients. Here's to naturally healthy little ones.

 Johnsons#1: Johnson's Baby Creamy Oil Aloe Vera & Vitamin E 

This product gets an overall score of 5 out of 10 on the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Skin Deep database--a moderate risk. It's likely not going to cause serious damage, but it has several ingredients of concern. My take is why use something with potentially hazardous chemicals when you can use natural salves or other better products.

Ingredients of concern:

Fragrance: The main problem with fragrance is that companies don't have to disclose what makes up this ingredient. The EWG ranks this ingredient an 8 on its 10-point hazard scale, citing high concerns for allergies and immunotoxicity. Fragrance frequently contains phthalates,  known hormone-disruptors. "Fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system," the EWG writes.

Propylparaben: Parabens are a family of preservatives that mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone system disruptors. The EWG ranks propylparaben a 7 out of 10, citing strong evidence of  human endocrine disruption, immune toxicity and allergenic activity.

The product also contains several items ranked a 4 by the EWG, among them: Hydrogenated cottonseed oil, which itself is fairly safe but raises the risk of contamination (contamination risks occur when chemicals break down and recombine to make new potentially dangerous pollutants) in the product of mercury, arsenic and lead, all ranked highly hazardous; ethylparaben and methylparaben, two more parabens considered endocrine disruptors and potentially immunotoxic; and phenoxyethanol, a preservative that can cause irritation of the skin, eyes or lungs.