EWG is an environmental working group that has shared information on tips to buy safer products for your child. Everyday we buy products from shampoo to lotion, from baby oil to body wash. We apply cosmetics or personal care products every day to our skin, hair and nails.
Many contain troubling ingredients, including ones linked to harm and many that have not been assessed for safety. Not everything that says natural is necessarily so. Below are 5 tips to learn how to choose safer products for your family and reduce harmful chemicals in your bodies.
Tips to Buy Safer Products for your Child
Know what you are buying.
Learn as much as you can about a product before you purchase it. Read labels and pay attention to ingredient names. Help is available:
Watch out for harmful ingredients in your Child’s products.
Here are five worrisome ingredients in body care products.
- PARABENS These hormone-disrupting preservatives are in many types of products. Avoid products with propyl-, butyl-, iso-propyl, and iso-butyl parabens.
- ISOTHIAZOLINONES These preservatives can cause serious skin rashes and are banned in other countries, yet they are still in products— even those advertised as “hypoallergenic.” Look for and avoid products with “methylisothiazolinone” or “methylisochlorothiazolinone” on the label.
- FORMALDEHYDE RELEASERS The preservative ingredients can cause skin sensitization and allergies. Ingredients include DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, among others.
- FRAGRANCE.Many shoppers don’t know what’s hiding behind the label “fragrance.” The term “fragrance” is shorthand for a complex mixture of scented ingredients and ingredients that make a scent last on skin. Some ingredients are irritating or allergenic, and others can disrupt the body’s hormone systems.
- RETINYL PALMITATE AND OTHER TOPICAL RETINOIDS This form of vitamin A can be used in sunscreens, lotions and lip products. Look out for retinyl palmitate and other retinyls, such as retinyl acetate. When exposed to the sun on skin and lips, retinyls can break down and damage skin.
Keep it simple for babies.
Babies’ tiny bodies are especially vulnerable to harsh, toxic chemicals. Protect your baby by taking the following precautions.
- Avoiding baby wipes with these harmful od irritating ingredients – parabens, methylisothiazolinone, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, and fragrance.
- Skipping baby powder – Just like auto exhaust or secondhand smoke, tiny airborne particles can damage a baby’s delicate, developing lungs.
- Use food or natural oil rather than lotions – Sooth dry skin with food or massage grade oil. Try almond or coconut oil, but avoid olive oil.
- Cradle cap – Treat cradle cap by washing with a gentle shampoo rahter than harsh chemicals. See a doctor for advice for a serious case, which occurs infrequently.
Protective clothing provide the best protection from the sun, but a good sunscreen can help save you from serious sun damage. Look for active ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, with SPF 15 to 50; then apply whenever you go outside.
Ignore Market Labels.
Many products on the market carry labels such as “natural,” “safe,” “gentle,” “hypoallergenic” and “green”—yet such claims may mean very little. The Food and Drug Administration does not approve labels before products are sold, and manufacturers often use these terms just for advertisement purposes. Making smart, informed choices about the products you bring into your home is an essential step toward protecting your family from harmful or irritating personal care products.
Research more than 70,000 products in EWG’s Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database to see if your products contain any hazardous ingredients. Visit their site for more information.