Study Raises Concerns About Safety Of Baby Products

A study conducted by the University of Washington has found elevated levels of chemicals,called phthalates in the urine of babies who’d been recently shampooed, powdered or lotioned with baby products.

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

These chemical have been 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.

“There is an obvious need for laws that force the beauty industry to clean up its act,” said Stacy Malkan of Health Care Without Harm.

The lead researcher, Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana, 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.” Parents should be more proactive and read the labels of the products they are buying for their babies. You should looks for products labeled “phthalate-free,” or check labels for common phthalates, including DEP and DEHP.

I prefer to use the California Baby line for my son. They only use ingredients that are safe in all of their shampoos, lotions and sunscreens.

If you want to check if the products you are using for your children are safe, you can go to the to see the ratings.

I wish more people understood that there are so many crummy products on drugstore shelves. Not everything is created equally. A little research goes a LONG way.



About the author

Lisa Arneill

Mom of 2 boys and founder of and World Traveled Family. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!

1 Comment

  • This is all very terrifying, 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.

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