Learning About Toxic Chemicals Often Used in “Organic” Products

What in the world are cocamidopropyl betaine, PEG-100 stearate, 1,4-Dioxane and quaternium 15 and what are they doing in my baby’s bath products?

My expertise is in the area of toxic chemicals in plastics, but lately I’ve been immersed in the surprising underworld of chemicals in brands I’ve always believed to be safe.  This new experience is an amazing side benefit to joining forces with The Smart Mama and Green and Clean Mom to form 3 Green Angels (you can read more about what we do here).

We’ve been working with Melinda of Earth Mama Angel Baby to educate concerned parents on Twitter about what these chemicals are and why they shouldn’t be in your children’s bubble bath.  My eyes are now wide open and I’m watching those labels like crazy.  And sometimes I feel like I’m going to go crazy with information overload – which makes me SO thankful for upstanding companies and non-profit organizations like EWG who are taking the lead and lightening my burden.

Here are a couple of must-read tidbits on that list of chemicals I mentioned, along with some resources to help you get it all straight:

  • Earth Mama Angel Baby is the only company to receive all zero’s in testing done by EWG; they also provide up-to-date information on changes in the status of toxic chemicals in personal care products as they did here.
  • The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Cosmetics Database is an indispensable resource for finding out exactly which chemicals are lurking in the products you thought were safe.
  • The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics explains why seemingly innocent ingredients like PEG-100 stearate can turn into a carcinogen like 1,4 dioxane in your baby’s shampoo; you can follow the founder, Stacy Malkan, on Twitter @safecosmetics for an amazing amount of new info and even to get your questions answered.
  • SafeMama is all over safe product cheat sheets, detailed product analysis and easy to understand info regarding chemicals in personal care products; also check out Lovely Safe Mama for even more info on products for moms
  • The Smart Mama constantly updates us with the latest detailed background info on toxic chemicals
  • Be sure to read through the rehash of our latest #EcoWed Twitter party with Earth Mama Angel Baby experts here to bring it all home
  • Take action today and make a statement with Organic Consumer Association’s “Buycott Certified Organic Products and Boycott the Cheaters”

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  • Mkokopelli

    Thanks for sharing!!

  • CanCan

    It really isn't fair to the consumer that we have to be THIS vigilant to not bring toxins into our homes, or into our baby's bathtub!

  • Fruitfulvine2

    This is great! I will definitely check into those links when I get back on the computer. You are a simply wonderful resource. I even mentioned you and gave the site address to a friend over the weekend.

  • jshaw

    thanks for sharing and being a solid resource for us all.

  • safemama

    Thanks for sharing this Alicia! I know how maddening all the ingredient talk is and I've come to learn that even the brands I once trusted contain things I'd not think of approving now. Another great resource is Stephanie from Bubble and Bee's Chemical of the Day blog: http://chemicaloftheday.squarespace.com

    She is who I ask first when I have questions about weird ingredients.

  • max191

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  • erinely

    The discouraging part is that we have to even think about this. OK, I'm reading an ingredients label and I see long chemical names. These are not “organic” products. If I don't understand the ingredient, then it's not natural or organic.

    Plants are natural and organic, not “derived” from ingredients. If you can't understand the name, if it's a multi-syllable chemical name, it's not natural or organic.

  • erinely

    The discouraging part is that we have to even think about this. OK, I'm reading an ingredients label and I see long chemical names. These are not “organic” products. If I don't understand the ingredient, then it's not natural or organic.

    Plants are natural and organic, not “derived” from ingredients. If you can't understand the name, if it's a multi-syllable chemical name, it's not natural or organic.

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