Posted by: soapchix | February 5, 2008

Phthalate Free Baby Products.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics said a 2002 study found phthalates in more than 70 percent of products tested, including shampoo, deodorant and perfume. The chemicals were not listed on labels, the group said Monday in a release.

When I brought each of my 3 kids home from the hospital, I waited impatiently for their little umbilical cord to dry up and fall off so I could give them their first bath. Is there anything sweeter than the smell of a tiny, warm, squirmy baby all soft and clean?! Just the thought almost makes a girl rethink her “3 kids is my limit” stance and have another one STAT!

Anyway, I would bathe my kids every day, when they were little–in the sink, and as they grew they’d move into a baby bath, and then finally in the bathtub. Bathtime was our nightly ritual!! So imagine my horror when I read the news today about how babies absorb phthalates through their skin from baby shampoos and bath products.

Until a couple years ago, I had no idea what phthalates were….it’s not like you see that listed on labels. This is because manufacturers aren’t required to list them. Nevermind phthalates are linked to liver, kidney, and lung damage as well as limiting testes development in boys. Typically, phthalates are added to the ‘fragrance’, and the manufacterers hide that under the guise of ‘secret fragrance formula’.

This kind of stuff really freaks me out. I’ll admit I haven’t been on the forefront of the ‘all natural’ movement, but I’m getting more and more on board every day.

Reason number one:

We found that infant exposure to phthalates is widespread, and that exposure to personal-care products applied onto the skin may be an important source,” said the study’s lead author, Sheela Sathyanarayana, an acting assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

“This is troubling,” she said, “because phthalate exposure in early childhood has been associated with altered hormone concentrations as well as increased allergies, runny nose and eczema.”

Reason number two:

The phthalate levels found in some of the infants were “nothing short of horrifying,” he said. It’s critical because infants are building organs, and could feel lifelong ramifications of early toxic exposures. High levels of phthalates in infants can lead to “the whole masculinization process being disrupted.”

The rate of adult testicular cancer has been “ballistically increasing,” he said, and has been closely associated with undescended testicles in children, which in turn has been related to high phthalate levels.

If you google ‘phthalates in baby products’ you can find 334854039584309 more really frightening articles.

I don’t think this is a witch hunt or a scare tactic. Personally, I have dealt with exczema with my kids and an undescended testicle in my son. Since starting Serendipity Bath Co., I have heard from countless other parents dealing with skin issues with their children.

Unfortunately, simply choosing products labeled “natural” can backfire, since some natural goods may still be toxic, says Dr. Landrigan.

At present, U.S. manufacturers are not required to list phthalate contents on products’ package labels, making it hard for parents to make informed decisions, the investigators point out.

Here’s what you can do to get more informed about phthalates in your personal care products:

Choose personal care products that do not contain synthetic fragrance. Check labels carefully; even “fragrance-free” products sometimes have masking fragrances that may contain phthalates.

Check the labels of nail polish. Phthalate-containing nail polish should list “phthalates” on the label (because the chemicals are not used as part of the fragrance in that type of product).

Ask the companies. Call the manufacturer if you have questions about whether your favorite personal care products contain phthalates. Most companies have a toll-free number. It’s important for companies to hear about your concerns regarding phthalates.
L’Oreal: 1-800-322-2036
Estee Lauder: 1-877-311-3883
Proctor & Gamble: 1-800-725-3296
Revlon: 1-800-473-8566
Avon: 1-800-445-AVON

Visit The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics for more information.

Visit the Cosmetic Database to find out exactly what is in your cosmetics and sign a petition to Congress to remove phthalates in our products.

Visit The Soft Landing Baby Blog for more info on baby products that are safe.

Ashley and I have made a concerted effort to keep our Wild Child Baby Products and Simply Soap lines free from synthetic fragrance oils and completely natural. They are phthalates free and 100% natural. We also have our Honeybuns Oil that replaces evil, nasty, petroleum and frangrance oil based Baby Oil in our homes. This has lead to a safer, gentler bath for our kids and many of our customers children who suffer from chemical sensitivities and exczema. This takes a dedication and commitment on our part, because it increases our cost to make it, and it takes time to find safe ingredients. It aint easy being green, but the alternative just isn’t a option for us our our families…and certainly not an option for our products that we make for you.



  1. I had NO idea!!!! Once again, another reason why you’re Wildly Lucky Soap.

    xoxox Amy

  2. Huh. This is really interesting! I’m wondering if this is what I’m allergic to. Sometimes I have very violent reactions to “smelly” products (sever nausea & vomiting – lovely, right?), even if I just get a very small whiff of something. But some “smelly” stuff is fine! Definitely hard to pin point… this gives me another starting point in my research.

  3. Catherine–my hubby gets horrible migraines with anything really fragranced…from deodorant to perfume to potpourri and anything in between.

    Part of our rigorous soap process is making him use the soap, and if he gets a migraine we don’t make it anymore.

    There is definately a difference between synthetic fragrance oil and essential oil! And, I know that even our soaps with fragrance oil in them have far less concentration than commercial products.

  4. If your soap makes me barf, do I get a refund? ;-) :-P

  5. Yeah, I think that is covered under our ‘refund policy’, lol.

    I wonder if your smelly products are the same ones that gives hubby a migraine. It’d be interesting to see what correlation there is.

  6. […] Phthalates Free Baby Products. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics said a 2002 study found phthalates in more than 70 percent of products tested, […] […]

  7. Excellent. I was looking for a good excuse to buy some soap. ;)

  8. It’s interesting because my mother’s fancy hand lotion is a doozie, but some stuff from the dollar store that is probably made in China or something is fine. *shrug* It never seems to be anything that is actually on the ingredient label (I’ve compared/contrasted).

  9. […] have outlined the problems of phthalates in baby and bath products here and here and here and here, and we don’t have the energy to outline it all again. But, suffice […]

  10. Thank you for linking to my podcast. Great blog you have here. I’ll visit again. :)

  11. […] and personal care products like soap, shampoo, body wash, etc. As we’ve written before (here and here) currently the FDA does not regulate the use of phthalates and BPA’s in cosmetic […]

  12. This is all very terrifying, not only bc of soap, but bc my children had something plastic in their mouths constantly from birth to end of teething. I’ve asked a scientist I know to lay out the facts on her blog at, so forgive me for this blatant plug for another blog. I just thought some moms would enjoy seeing her dissect the scientific literature in mom-speak.

  13. So what actually baby products have this? I have been researching and just find sites that say lotions, powder, etc…But they dont name the brand or type! Would I have to call all the different companies to make sure?

  14. Hi,

    Glad to see that other bloggers are spreading the word about toxins in our cosmetics. I wrote about the Skin Deep database on my blog, too. Good posts, keep it up!

    check out:


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