3 Steps to Help Avoid a Hormone-Mimicking Chemical by The Daily Green

New information has been released about phthalates in baby lotions and shampoos. It seems to be common practice for manufacturers to add phthalates to help bind fragrances. These products are readily absorbed through the skin and are adding to our children’s already heavy toxic burden.

The Daily Green blog presented several steps to help you avoid using products loaded with phthalates. Our personal favorite healthy alternative is Earth Mama Angel Baby.

The Daily Green: How to Avoid Phthalates

February 4, 2008

In the wake of news today linking baby powder, lotion and shampoo to higher levels of phthalates in babies’ bodies, many parents are looking for answers about avoiding products that contain them.

Phthalates are known as “endocrine disruptors” because they mimic the body’s hormones and have, in laboratory animal tests, been shown to cause reproductive and neurological damage. (California will ban the use of phthalates in toys and baby products as of 2009.)

Unfortunately, it’s not particularly easy to avoid phthalates.

You’ll rarely find the word “phthalates” on a label (except for the occasional “phthalate-free,” which is helpful).

Here are three tips for identifying products that have, or are likely to have, phthalates or another compound that has raised similar concerns and is found in similar products, Bisphenol A.

Read the ingredients. According to the organization Pollution in People, you can identify phthalates in some products by their chemical names, or abbreviations:

  • DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate) and DEP (diethyl phthalate) are often found in personal care products, including nail polishes, deodorants, perfumes and cologne, aftershave lotions, shampoos, hair gels and hand lotions. (BzBP, see below, is also in some personal care products.)
  • DEHP (di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate or Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate) is used in PVC plastics, including some medical devices.BzBP (benzylbutyl phthalate) is used in some flooring, car products and personal care products.
  • DMP (dimethyl phthalate) is used in insect repellent and some plastics (as well as rocket propellant).

Be wary of the term “fragrance,” which is used to denote a combination of compounds, possibly including phthalates, which are a subject of recent concern because of studies showing they can mimic certain hormones.
Choose plastics with the recycling code 1, 2 or 5. Recycling codes 3 and 7 are more likely to contain bisphenol A or phthalates.

Photo credit: Good.is

  • http://www.tksmith.blogspot.com tk smith

    thank you so much for breaking this down. i have to admit i am a little overwhlemed on this issue right now and really appreciate the info!!

  • http://www.tksmith.blogspot.com tk smith

    thank you so much for breaking this down. i have to admit i am a little overwhlemed on this issue right now and really appreciate the info!!

  • Susan

    Thanks for this info. Has anyone identified specific brand baby soaps, shampoos, and lotions that are phthalate and BPA free?

  • Susan

    Thanks for this info. Has anyone identified specific brand baby soaps, shampoos, and lotions that are phthalate and BPA free?

  • softlanding

    Hi Susan,

    The Environmental Working Group has started compiling a comprehensive list of products and their ingredients at http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com.

    Hope that helps!

    Alicia

  • soapchix

    Hi Alicia!

    I linked to your blog through mine at http://soapchix.wordpress.com/2008/02/05/phthalates-free-baby-products/.

    I make Phthalate and PBA free baby soaps and bath products, making sure that I use all essential oil blends without any fragrance oils. You can find the soaps here (click on the Wild Child link): http://www.wildlyluckysoap.com/

    I also have a ‘Simply Soap’ line that is all essential and natural oils, without any colorants. Our packaging, when not paper, is all recyclable 1.

    My co-soaper and I are really proud of our natural (really, no kidding around natural!) products, especially in light of all these reports coming out.

    Thank you so much for all the research and information you give out on this blog…I’ve been forwarding it to my friends all day.

    Soapchix Tiff

  • softlanding

    Thanks for the link and the great info Soapchix! I’ll definitely be visiting your website to try out some of your products :)

    Alicia

  • softlanding

    Hi Susan,

    The Environmental Working Group has started compiling a comprehensive list of products and their ingredients at http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com.

    Hope that helps!

    Alicia

  • soapchix

    Hi Alicia!

    I linked to your blog through mine at http://soapchix.wordpress.com/2008/02/05/phthalates-free-baby-products/.

    I make Phthalate and PBA free baby soaps and bath products, making sure that I use all essential oil blends without any fragrance oils. You can find the soaps here (click on the Wild Child link): http://www.wildlyluckysoap.com/

    I also have a ‘Simply Soap’ line that is all essential and natural oils, without any colorants. Our packaging, when not paper, is all recyclable 1.

    My co-soaper and I are really proud of our natural (really, no kidding around natural!) products, especially in light of all these reports coming out.

    Thank you so much for all the research and information you give out on this blog…I’ve been forwarding it to my friends all day.

    Soapchix Tiff

  • softlanding

    Thanks for the link and the great info Soapchix! I’ll definitely be visiting your website to try out some of your products :)

    Alicia

  • jsavedge

    Hi Alicia,

    Thanks for this great information. It absolutely drives me crazy that it is considered O.K. to put use phthalates in any products…let alone the ones that come close to our babies. I recently wrote about this as well on my site, The Green Parent, http://thegreenparent.blogspot.com/2008/02/i-hate-phthalates-how-to-avoid-bathing.html

    Thanks again for posting this!

  • jsavedge

    Hi Alicia,

    Thanks for this great information. It absolutely drives me crazy that it is considered O.K. to put use phthalates in any products…let alone the ones that come close to our babies. I recently wrote about this as well on my site, The Green Parent, http://thegreenparent.blogspot.com/2008/02/i-hate-phthalates-how-to-avoid-bathing.html

    Thanks again for posting this!

  • http://bpafreebottles.blogspot.com Green Eilleen

    Great information, thank you! I’ve been following the whole problem with bpa in baby bottles but hadn’t learned about lotions and shampoos also being dangerous. Bpa free bottles are a good start, but why on earth are they still putting this other toxic stuff in so many things that we put on our little ones? Makes me crazy!

    GE

  • http://bpafreebottles.blogspot.com Green Eilleen

    Great information, thank you! I’ve been following the whole problem with bpa in baby bottles but hadn’t learned about lotions and shampoos also being dangerous. Bpa free bottles are a good start, but why on earth are they still putting this other toxic stuff in so many things that we put on our little ones? Makes me crazy!

    GE

  • Heather

    Hi Alicia-

    As always this info is so important for parents to know. I am wondering if you know anything about the Burt’s Bee’s products I recently went to my local health foods store to purchase the California baby shampoo and was told that Burt’s Bee’s is good also and inexpensive. I was wondering if this product was as safe? Thanks again for all of your wonderful advice and help!!

  • Heather

    Hi Alicia-

    As always this info is so important for parents to know. I am wondering if you know anything about the Burt’s Bee’s products I recently went to my local health foods store to purchase the California baby shampoo and was told that Burt’s Bee’s is good also and inexpensive. I was wondering if this product was as safe? Thanks again for all of your wonderful advice and help!!

  • softlanding

    Hi Heather,

    I recommend you check EWG’s database at http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com for an in-depth report on many of the current personal care products available. Burt’s Bees seems to have some items that are really great and others that have several “unknown” ingredients.

    Alicia

  • softlanding

    Hi Heather,

    I recommend you check EWG’s database at http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com for an in-depth report on many of the current personal care products available. Burt’s Bees seems to have some items that are really great and others that have several “unknown” ingredients.

    Alicia

  • Rachel

    Hello! I just wanted to post that Trader Joe’s (for those who have one near them) have an excellent body wash! It is called Pure Castile Soap and the only ingredients are: water, potassium cocoate (from coconut), potassium tallate (from pine), glycerin, olive oil, peppermint oil, and aloe vera. PLUS, it is under $3 for a 16 oz bottle – very inexpensive! Great for body wash, hand soap, and shampoo! We love it – it is nice and sudsy it smells so good!

  • Rachel

    Hello! I just wanted to post that Trader Joe’s (for those who have one near them) have an excellent body wash! It is called Pure Castile Soap and the only ingredients are: water, potassium cocoate (from coconut), potassium tallate (from pine), glycerin, olive oil, peppermint oil, and aloe vera. PLUS, it is under $3 for a 16 oz bottle – very inexpensive! Great for body wash, hand soap, and shampoo! We love it – it is nice and sudsy it smells so good!

  • MathDad

    We use ilumina organics baby wash on our kids and bar soaps for us. No Phthalates or other nasties.

  • MathDad

    We use ilumina organics baby wash on our kids and bar soaps for us. No Phthalates or other nasties.

  • http://www.iluminaorganics.com Trish

    Ilumina Organics is the only company that I know of that has estrogenic-free (BPA and phthlate-free) soaps and lotions etc. AND estrogenic free BOTTLES for their products so they don’t leach into the products.

  • http://www.iluminaorganics.com Trish

    Ilumina Organics is the only company that I know of that has estrogenic-free (BPA and phthlate-free) soaps and lotions etc. AND estrogenic free BOTTLES for their products so they don’t leach into the products.

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