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Dr. Nicole's Kid Corner
By Dr. Nicole Barry

baby

A study released from the University of Washington last week found baby shampoos, lotions, and powders may expose infants to chemicals that have been linked with possible reproductive problems.

The chemicals, called phthalates, are found in many ordinary products including cosmetics, soaps, toys, vinyl flooring and medical supplies. They are used to stabilize fragrances and make plastics flexible.

In the study, phthalates were found in elevated levels in the urine of babies who’d been recently shampooed, powdered or lotioned with baby products.

Phthalates are under attack by some environmental advocacy groups, but experts are uncertain what dangers, if any, they might pose. The federal government doesn’t limit their use, although California and some countries have restricted their use.

Animal studies have suggested that phthalates can cause reproductive birth defects and some activists believe they may cause reproductive problems in boys and early puberty in girls.

Rigorous scientific evidence in human studies is lacking. The current study offers no direct evidence that products the infants used contained phthalates, and no evidence that the chemicals in the babies’ urine caused any harm. Still, the results worried environmental groups that support restrictions on these chemicals. “Although several studies in people have explored possible associations with developmental and reproductive outcomes (semen quality, genital development in boys, shortened pregnancy, and premature breast development in young girls), more research is needed,” a 2005 CDC report said.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana, a University of Washington pediatrician, said, “The bottom line is that these chemicals likely do exist in products that we’re commonly using on our children and they potentially could cause health effects.”

Concerned parents can seek products labeled “phthalate-free,” or check labels for common phthalates, including DEP and DEHP.

But the chemicals often don’t appear on product labels. That’s because retail products aren’t required to list individual ingredients of fragrances, which are a common phthalate source.

This study continues to highlight the reality that dangerous chemicals are all around us. We are charged with doing our best to protect our children from toxic substances.  Keeping our children’s body’s healthy with nutrition, exercise and chiropractic adjustments is key to allowing their bodies to heal from our environmental exposures.

Additional information safety and cosmetic products can be found at Skin Deep, click here for more information.


In This Issue:
Sleep Tight
Dr. Nicole's Kid Corner
Recipe: Energy Bars

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