Posted by: soapchix | February 8, 2008

Baby Products With Phthalates.

First, the bad news: Virtually all commercial Baby Products in the USA with ‘fragrance’ listed on the label HAVE PHTHALATES in them. Even the ones with ‘natural’ on the front label. If you inspect the list of ingredients on the back and see ‘fragrance’, then it most likely contains phthalates as part of the fragrance formula. This means that most top selling commercial products expose kids to these (and other) chemicals that disrupt the endocrine and reproductive systems.

“It shows that phthalates are everywhere in terms of baby shampoo, lotions, all kinds of products from all kinds of different roots all the time. It is also important because it shows that you can absorb phthalates through your skin,” he (Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana) told CTV News.

“It also confirms what we thought: the younger you are the more vulnerable you may be. So a younger infant will have a higher body weight of phthalates after using the same amount of lotion and the same amount of shampoo.

In the United States and Canada, there is no requirement that products be labelled as to their phthalate content.

As well, fragrances are considered a common source of phthalates, yet retail products aren’t required to list the individual ingredients of fragrances.

Parents may not be able to make informed choices until manufacturers are required to list phthalate contents of products,” the study authors note.

The FDA has absolutely NO regulations to how many potentially carcinogic chemicals are allowed in cosmetics, which is a huge loophole. This is why the report suggests that:

“If parents want to decrease exposures, then we recommend limiting amount of infant care products used and not to apply lotions or powders unless indicated for a medical reason,” the authors conclude.

NO to Johnson’s Baby Bath.
NO to Suave Kids.
NO to Aveeno Baby.

Surprising, but true.

In spite of the rather depressing news that Ash and I have been spreading about the absolute lack of relevant rules by the FDA to protect ourselves from harmful chemicals and carcinogins, we Soapchix are actually ‘glass is half full’ kind of people.

We think there is great hope for the laws to change, much like they have done in EU countries–which now regulate and ban phthalates from cosmetic products.

And, we have also found a better solution that avoiding bath products for our kids…we made up our own phthalate and chemical free baby bath products. We do not use fragrance oils, preservatives, or chemicals to make our stuff wonderful and lathery…we simply add essential oils to natural oils like palm, coconut, and olive oil. Simple. Natural. Baby friendly…because as moms, that’s what it’s all about.

We recommend our products because we are the ones making them and can assure the quality and natural ingredients.

If you’d like to explore how safe the products you have in your house right now, there is a partial list at Cosmetic Database which ranks baby products according to how many chemicals are in them. It has many, but not all, manufacturers on there and I’ve found it very helpful! It also gives some suggestions for safer baby Shampoos which we don’t offer right now due to our inability to make them all natural.

This is a great time to lead a charge against shady business practices…so if you, dear reader, look forward to a challenge and sticking it to the man, then link over to The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to find out how to advocate for changing the laws that govern (or, not govern as the case may be) the cosmetic industry. Believe it or not, only one state (California!) has any type of protection on the safety of our skin care products.

This bill faced tough opposition from major cosmetics companies including Mary Kay, Avon, Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, Neutrogena, Proctor and Gamble and Johnson and Johnson. Many thanks to everyone who wrote or called in to help make this new law to protect our health a reality!

Helpful Articles:
Baby products may contain harmful chemicals
Science for Sale blog
MSNBC article



  1. You said that you use palm oils in your homemade baby soaps. I saw at the zoo this weekend that people who use palm oil are contributing to the decline of many species of monkies and orangutan. There were signs everywhere stating that in order to save many species, we shouldn’t buy products that use palm oil.

  2. Hi Sonia! That’s an excellent point…and one my daughter brought up to me after attending a zoo class.

    Where the Palm Oil comes from that we use is important to us. Our supplier is not involved in clearcutting rainforests to plant Palm trees or contributing to habitat loss of indigenous animals or people.

    We also use only the minimal amount, so we reduce our ‘consumption’ to make sure it’s not excessive in our products.

    It’s important to know where the ingredients come from on any label…if you see palm oil then make sure they are taking it from a sustainable source outside of the red zones, where deforestation, depopulation, and animal displacement are occuring.

  3. […] 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 it to […]

  4. […] 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 products, […]

  5. Don’t forget about phthalates in children’s toys. Please see my post at Many children have health conditions that can be aggravated by fragrance (phtalates) such as Autism, ADD/ADHD and Asthma. Caution should be used when purchasing toys with fragrance. In our scent free home … no toys with fragrance allowed.

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