The dangers that hid in our children’s bath products.

Yes, will the worries ever cease… it seems not, because after researching new bath products for our kids I not only discovered some potential candidates, but also reasons to worry.

tub bubbIt seems there are some serious, and harmful, chemical “monsters” lurking in far too many children’s bath products.  This includes the most common products we all used on our babies (and often continue to use) – Johnson & Johnson, Gerber, Baby Magic and L’Oreal – all are major offenders.

And the two scariest ingredients, you ask? They are 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde (doesn’t THAT one conjure up some horrible images?).  Both are known carcinogens and unbelievably harsh on the skin, especially for young children.

1,4-dioxane is common in personal care products as a foaming agent.  Of course the ingredients won’t actually list it under this name, so avoid ingredients called sodium laureth sulfate, PEG-100 stearate, polyethylene, myreth, oleth and ceteareth-20.

Formaldehyde comes into play when common preservatives (like parabens) used in the bath products release formaldehyde but, of course, this won’t be on the ingredients list either!  Instead, look for and avoid names like quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea.

It’s absolutely mind boggling.  Sometimes I truly don’t know what to look for and what to avoid, because it seems we need a chemistry degree to have the ability to read between the lines (and I think manufacturers count on that)!
I have heard good things about both Gaia and Weleda, as well as the line of Burt’s Bees Baby (often much easier to find at a local retailer) but we’re currently giving Organix South TheraNeem a try!  The kid’s Shampoo & Bodywash and Conditioner are in use and (as far as my “non-chemistry-degreed-self” can decipher!) they don’t contain any of these scary ingredients!  I also find it fairly interesting that they seems to work wonderfully (and make our kids smell fabulously citrus-y) but they don’t foam-up as much as the common brands and aren’t nearly as thick… hmmm?  A likely side effect of what happens when you remove some of the bad stuff!

I know it will take extra effort, but there are plenty of products out there that are safer options.  If you have something you recommend, please share!

But whatever you do, don’t settle for the old stand-bys just because they’re easy to find and an ad campaign and some slick marketer appealed to your emotional side to sell a product.  Believe me, I used to be one of “them” and things aren’t always as they seem.

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5 thoughts on “The dangers that hid in our children’s bath products.

  1. This is really a wonderful and most informative blog site. It provides good knowledge or we can say information about the beauty and bath products.
    Bath and Body

  2. Doreen – This is one of the very things that jump-started my green journey a few years ago. We have had much success over the past 2+ years using soaps and beauty products that are healthy and work just as well and don’t have the ingredients you mention, especially sodium laurel sulfate! Burts Bees is a fav here for me, but I adore Calofornia Baby for my kids. You can find both at Target. The nice thing is that even when I do try a new product, I can use the shampoo and conditioner on my kids because it’s safe for them too. For soap we use Dr. Bronners Castille soap and it’s great — even helped stop a mysterious skin condition my husband got a year ago that Dove seemed to exacerbate. (And isn’t Dove supposed to be mild?) Anyway, good luck finding something you like. I will say the journey can be a little painful, some products aren’t that great, but Burts and California Baby are good ones. It’s really nice to know that many companies are starting to take this seriously and offer a wide variety of products. I’ve even been using more ‘natural’ nail polish that doesn’t have formaldehyde in it.

  3. Always great info Doreen! This is one of my biggie’s too…we just pretty much use baking soda in the bath and olive oil as a moisturizer. I have yet to get a shampoo and conditioner that we like and can afford.

  4. Bath – thanks!

    Frannie – great changes you’ve made too! I just always worry about “greenwashing”… sometimes what’s real and what a clever marketing campaign or label can make use feel are two totally different things.

    smilinggreenmom – thank you too! I love your baking soda and olive oil ideas!

  5. Hi Doreen,

    It is great seeing that other parents are concerned about the “chemicals” that are in our everyday personal care products. Especially, children’s shampoo. I’ve converted my home to all – natural products and I must say – my family loves the products and choices we’ve made.

    I only wish more people were aware that the Government doesn’t regulate these items and we can’t rely on them to keep our families safe.

    Anything that’s safer for family, home and environment is for me!

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