February 5, 2008

Beware of Chemicals in Baby Items

A recent study suggests that people should be aware of baby shampoos, lotions, and powders that expose infants to chemicals. The Chemicals, called phthalates, are already in many of the common items we use, such as cosmetics, toys, vinyl flooring, and medical supplies. The chemicals are also used to stabilize fragrances and to make plastic flexible.

The harmful chemicals were found in elevated levels in the urine of babies who had been shampooed, powdered, or lotioned with baby products. The federal government doesn’t limit the use of the chemicals but California and some countries have restricted their use. Studies say that the phthalates chemicals could cause reproductive birth defects and might cause reproductive problems in boys and problems in the early puberty years of girls.

Doctors say that it is not necessary to use special lotions, powders, or shampoos on babies and you can use water by itself or a small amount of regular shampoo to clean the air of infants. Parents can look for products that are labeled phthalate-free or check the labels of products to see if they contain phthalates, DEP, and DEHP. Sometimes, the names of the chemicals aren’t found on the product labels, because it is not required of companies to do so.

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