What is in your “Baby” Products?

Ingredients to avoid and why:


Most US companies have not tested their products for safety and are using ingredients considered unsafe for children. Many also include ingredients not disclosed on the label, which is why they have been banned in many European countries. Don’t be fooled by words like “natural” or “gentle” on labels, some of these are the worst on the lists.

The following were reported to be the top ingredients to avoid on one website, but were given relatively low scores on the EWG website. On further investigation I found that this was because the FDA has not assessed them for safety in the US (even though they are considered toxic).


1. Propylene Glycol

*Not assessed for safety in the US – EWG

– One of the main active ingredients in Anti-freeze, and known toxin. Used to de-ice airplanes.

– One of the main ingredients in Johnson’s Baby lotion and baby shampoo.

– This is so highly toxic that industrial workers are warned of severe health risks if contact occurs (brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities). Stick deodorants contain a higher concentration than most industrial applications.

– Health Concerns: Alters the skin structure to allow other chemicals to penetrate deeper into the skin increasing the amounts of other chemicals that reach the bloodstream.

– Other Concerns: Skin sensitizer, suspected respiratory, skin, immunotoxicant and neurotoxicant.


2. Isopropyl Alcohol

*Not assessed for safety in the US – EWG

– Solvent and denaturant (poisonous substance that changes another substance’s natural qualities).

– Used in antifreeze and shellac.

– Health Concerns: Eye, skin, & lung irritant, classified toxin.


3. Mineral Oil (modified crude oil)

*Not assessed for safety in the US – NO SAFETY DATA AVAILABLE – EWG

– coats the skin like plastic wrap, inhibiting it’s ability to breathe and release toxins.


4. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)

*Classified toxin; Not assessed for safety in the US – EWG

– Used in cleansers to dissolve oil & grease.

– Health Concerns: Strips the natural moisture, leaves the immune system vulnerable and is potentially carcinogenic. Skin or sense organ toxicity hazards suspected.


5. Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS or SLES)

*Insufficient Safety Data – EWG

– Often derived from coconut oil, then chemically altered.

– Originally designed for car washes, garage floor cleaners, and engine degreasers.

– Found in 95% of shampoos & body cleansers, even the natural ones.

– Known skin & eye irritant; enhances allergic response to other toxins/allergens.

– Causes irritation/ infection in the genitals of young children, yet it is the main ingredient in baby shampoos and bubble baths.

– Health Concerns: Skin Irritation/corrosion, hormone imbalance, eye irritation & eye deformities in children, protein denaturing, and carcinogen.

– Health implications found in a 1983 report from the American College of Toxicology.


6. DEA, MEA, TEA (Cocamide DEA or MES, Lauramide DEA, etc.)

*Classified toxin and carcinogen – EWG

– Readily absorbed in the skin. Has hormone disrupting chemicals known to form cancer-causing nitrates.

– Health Concerns: Skin/lung sensitizer, liver/intestinal toxicity, neurotoxicant, respiratory toxicity, skin toxicity.

* Dr. Samuel Epstein, Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Illinois said “repeated skin applications of DEA-based detergents resulted in a major increase in the incidence of liver and kidney cancers.”

** John Bailey, who oversees the cosmetic division for the FDA said the new study is especially important since “the risk equation changes significantly for children”.


7. FD&C Color Pigments

*Not assessed for safety in the US – EWG

– Health Concerns: Suspected carcinogen, not properly assessed.

– Made from Coal Tar. Absorption of certain colors can cause oxygen depletion, even death.

– Highly controversial additive, animal studies show almost all of them to be carcinogenic. – American College of Toxicology.


8. “Fragrance”

*Not assessed for safety in the US – EWG

– Health Concerns: immune sensitization, neurotoxicant

– “Fragrance on a label can indicate the presence of up to 4,000 separate ingredients. Most or all of them are synthetic. Symptoms reported to the FDA have included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing, vomiting, and allergic skin irritation. Clinical observation by medical doctors has shown that exposure to fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and other behavioral changes,” – Home Safe Home.



*Classified toxins, insufficient safety data – EWG

– Preservatives that release **formaldehyde.

– Health Concerns: skin sensitizer, possible carcinogens, and gastrointestinal/liver toxicants

** Formaldehyde can irritate the respiratory system, cause skin reactions and trigger heart palpitations. Exposure to formaldehyde may cause joint pain, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness and loss of sleep. It can also aggravate coughs and colds and trigger asthma. Serious side effects include weakening of the immune system and cancer. – Mayo Clinic.

– Nearly all brands of skin, body and hair care, antiperspirants and nail polish found in stores contain formaldehyde releasing ingredients.


10. Talc

*Cancer Hazard, classified toxin, Not assessed for safety in the US – EWG

– Health Concerns: Respiratory toxicant, linked to uterine cancer and respiratory problems in infants.

– Literally suffocates the skin!!


11. Boric Acid

*Classified toxin, unsafe for use in cosmetics or infant products, reproductive/developmental toxicant, – EWG

– Health Concerns: neurotoxicant, liver, kidney, respiratory and skin toxicant, bioaccumulative (builds up quickly in babies).

– Linked to potential for reduced fertility or reduced chance for a healthy, full-term pregnancy.

– Used in MANY diaper rash creams (Vaseline, Gerber, Johnson & Johnson, Aveeno, Desitin, Palmer’s Balmex, Boudreaux’s Butt Paste).

– Commonly used in eye drops (Visine, RhotoV)!


12. Salicylic Acid

*Classified toxin; penetration enhancer – EWG

– Health Concerns: Triggers systemic immune response, photosensitizer, blood toxicant, skin toxicant, bioaccumulative (builds up quickly in babies).


13. Triclosan

*Classified toxin, not assessed for safety in the US – EWG

– Registered pesticide with EPA!

– Can combine with chlorine in tap water to form chloroform gas.

– Health Concerns: Immunotoxicant, skin toxicant/ irritant.


14. Titanium Dioxide

*Carcinogen, not assessed for safety in the US – EWG

– Known to cause cancer & birth defects in animal testing.

– Health Concerns: carcinogen, has not been assessed properly.



*Classified toxins, insufficient safety data – EWG

** Parabens are preservatives that have been identified as estrogenic and disrupt normal hormone functions. Estrogenic substances are chemicals foreign to the body that mimic the function of the naturally occurring hormone, estrogen. Estrogen has been shown to control the growth of  breast cells, and exposure to external estrogens has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer.

– Cause many allergic reactions and skin rashes yet still widely used in care products.

– Health Concerns: breast cancer risk, endocrine disruptor, skin sensitizer and toxicant.


16. Quaternium-15 (Q-15)

*Classified toxin, insufficient safety data – EWG

– Preservative that releases formaldehyde. Relatively common cause of allergic contact dermatitis.

– Health Concerns: Skin sensitizer, immunotoxicant, blood toxicant, skin toxicant


17. Chlorine (environmental safety hazard)

– Found in tap water, pools, laundry detergents, cleaning agents & food processing.

– Contributes to asthma, hay fever, anemia, bronchitis, circulatory collapse, confusion, delirium, dizziness, heart disease, high blood pressure, nausea, etc.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by ljhealth on Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Great article, I would really like to connect. Did you hear about this today:

    Some of the nation’s largest child-product companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Proctor and Gamble and Kimberly Clark, are the target of a nationwide class-action lawsuit by parents after a study revealed that many of the companies’ products contain questionable chemicals.

    The suit, filed March 19 in U.S. District Court in Chicago, will represent parents or other consumers who purchased any of an extensive list of products, if the court certifies the action, according to law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro.

    The findings were part of a study conducted by nonprofit, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which tested commonly used baby products and found amounts of carcinogens such as formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane. According to the report, manufacturers say the levels of the potentially cancer-causing toxins are so small that they do not pose a risk to the public, and are within government guidelines.

    The defendants include Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Gerber Products Company, The Proctor and Gamble Company, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Expanscience Laboratories Inc. doing business as Mustela, and Limited Brands Inc.
    Visit my wordpress blog I would really appreciate your feed back.

  2. This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

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