INGREDIENTS TO AVOID — by Product

by Ms. S on February 9, 2009

(THIS IS AN INCOMPLETE FIRST DRAFT!)

(BABY) CREAMS / LOTIONS

  • The body takes in more chemicals through the skin and lungs than from the food we eat.  Because your baby’s skin surface area (relative to her body weight) is higher than an adult’s, she is particularly vulnerable to her environment.   One of the first steps that you can take to avoid harmful contaminants is to evaluate the creams that you rub on your baby’s body and bottom.  (“Natural Baby and Childcare”, p54)
  • Use creams only if needed.  If your baby does need a cream, avoid standard commercial preparations that contain mineral oil, petroleum jelly, lanolin (unless pure or organic), and other chemicals, which can block the release of toxins and cause dry skin or acne.  Instead, choose natural healthier versions.  Look for the following ingredients.  (“Natural Baby and Childcare”, p54-55)
    • Lanolin:  Used for ages, lanolin is the natural oil found on the wool of sheep (it is also known as wool fat or grease).  A natural emollient, it makes skin soft, and is also acquired without having to kill an animal.  On the downside, lanolin can be contaminated if the sheep has been exposed to chemicals.  Therefore, be careful to look for the pure (ultrapure) variety.
    • Zinc Oxide:  It provides a protective barrier on baby’s bottom and is safe to use.
    • Calendula:  An excellent healing agent for the skin made from marigold.  Effective for treating diaper rash, Calendula has natural antibacterial properties and is soothing and antiseptic.
    • Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) made from the seeds and the pulp of a grapefruit works against microorganisms and has bacterial, antiviral, fungicidal, and antiparasitic properties.  It is excellent to prevent and treat diaper rash.  In a spray bottle, dilute 5 to 10 drops of GSE in one ounce of water, and use as needed on baby’s bottom.  It can be applied at the same dilution with a cotton swab for thrush in baby’s mouth and mother’s nipples.
  • AVOID BORIC ACID & SODIUM BORATE
  • Avoid when possible

STAIN-RESISTANT AND NON-STICK COATINGS

  • PFOA is a chemical used in stain-resistant and non-stick coatings that has caused cancer and liver damage in animal studies.  Studies have shown that PFOA (a chemical used in stain-resistant and nonstick coatings) has been found in the blood of the general U.S. population.  It’s been shown to cause cancer and liver damage in animal studies.  DuPont, a company that makes nonstick coatings, has agreed to reduce the use of PFOA by 95% by 2010 and eliminate it completely by 2015.  (“Squeaky Green” p53)
  • I use stainless steel and cast iron.
  • Skip non-stick. When overheated non-stick cookware can emit toxic fumes. Cook with cast iron or stainless steel instead.  (EWG.org)

DEODORANT

Unbleached Coffee Filters

SUNSCREEN

  • AVOID

    • OXYBENZONE and Benzophenone-3
    • PABA
    • Homosalate
    • Octy-methyoxycinnamate (octinoxate)
    • Padimate-O and Parsol 1789 (Avobenzone)
  • Avoid when possible
  • Avoid sprays or powders
  • Avoid sunscreen-insect repellant combinations
  • Choose
    • Sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher
    • Waterproof formulations
    • Non-petroleum based lip balms with an SPF factor
  • Top Brand Choices from Healthy Child (Note: Healthy Child does not endorse any of the retailers or manufacturers listed.  This is not a comprehensive list and companies are changing their policies frequently.  The products listed below were chosen based on tests conducted by the Environmental Working Group.  Visit www.CosmeticsDatabase.com for more information)
    • Badger, Keys Soap solar, Trukid, California Baby, Marie Veronique, Lavera, Vanicream, UV Natural, Sun Science, Soleo Organics Sunscreen, Mexitan
  • Recommended Products from Common Brands from Healthy Child (Note: Healthy Child does not endorse any of the retailers or manufacturers listed.  This is not a comprehensive list and companies are changing their policies frequently.  The products listed below were chosen based on tests conducted by the Environmental Working Group.  Visit www.CosmeticsDatabase.com for more information)
    • Blue Lizard: anything without oxybenzone
    • California Baby: anything with SPF 30+
    • CVS: with zinc oxide
    • Jason Natural Cosmetics: Sunbrellas Mineral Based Sunblock
    • Kiss My Face: “Paraben Free” series
    • Neutrogena: Sensitive Skin Sunblock
    • Olay: Defense Daily UV Moisturizer (with zinc)
    • SkinCeuticals: Physical UV Defense
    • Solar Sense: Clear Zinc for Face
    • Walgreens: Zinc Oxide for Face, Nose & Ears


BUG SPRAY

LIP BALM


PRODUCTS WITH SPF

INSTANT HAND SANITIZER

BUBBLE BATH

LIQUID SOAP / BODY WASH

TOOTHPASTE

SHAMPOO

CONDITIONER

DIAPER CREAM / ANTI-ITCH RASH CREAM

NAIL POLISH

BABY WIPES

FOOD

  • Avoid processed foods.  I do my best to avoid giving my daughter processed foods and focus on providing a diet based mostly on whole grain rice, beans, vegetables, fruit, yogurt, wild salmon and white fish, and some meat.  As much as possible, it’s very important to me that her meats and dairy be organic.  Since it’s hard for me to remember which fruits and vegetables are lower in pesticides, we just buy everything organic.  However, the Environmental Working Group has a list that prioritizes produce by levels of pesticides,  if you prefer not to buy all organic.  The Environmental Defense Fund lists seafood into categories of safety.  Since I’m on the topic of healthy diet, I’ll add that every morning I add a liquid multivitamin and iron supplement to her “super porridge“, with sprinklings of flax seed and Brewer’s yeast.
  • Avoid metal cans with BPA resin and polycarbonate plastic containers
  • Foods with more toxic residues: meat, poultry, dairy, apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, raspberries, strawberries, spinach.  Buy the organic options of these foods.
  • Choose soups and soymilk packaged in cartons by Tetra Pak and SIG Combibloc (made of safer plastic and are recyclable)
  • Choose baby food in glass or safer plastic jars (#1, 2, 4 or 5)
  • Don’t microwave in plastic (suspected harm to children’s reproductive systems)  (“The Toxic Paradox”, 2009 February 8, The New York Times Magazine)
  • Limit tuna (elevated mercury levels are linked to learning delays)  (“The Toxic Paradox”, 2009 February 8, The New York Times Magazine)
  • Salmon: only wild, Pacific seems to be better than Atlantic but I can never find Pacific.
  • Minimize use of plastic water bottles.  I fill up Sigg or Klean Kanteen bottles with filtered tap water whenever possible.
  • Tin can liners may have BPA.
  • Microwave popcorn: bags are coated with a potential carcinogen.  (“The Toxic Paradox”, 2009 February 8, The New York Times Magazine)

TRADITIONAL CLEANING PRODUCTS

  • Cleaning products: “You don’t need to use a really strong antiseptic bleach product or ammonia product, which is going to off-gas [and release] chlorine into your house, or ammonia, which will volatilize into your air space,” Gary says. “Look for non-chlorine cleaners—peroxide-based or bicarbonate-based—and those will whiten and disinfect.”  (Gary Ginsberg, co-author of What’s Toxic, What’s Not from Oprah.com)
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