Although we may not think of skin as an organ, it is actually the largest organ in the body, yet we often neglect it. The skin is a gateway to the rest of our body, and plays an important role in protection. It is our first line of defense when it comes to extremes of temperature, damaging sunlight and harmful chemicals. Many of us think carefully about the food we put in our bodies, or the food we feed our children. But are we really thinking so clearly about the products we put on our skin? Many of the chemicals in our body care products are absorbed through the skin directly in to our bloodstream within minutes. What worries me the most, are the products we use on our babies. Babies are not just ‘mini adults’, their skin is 30% thinner than adults, making them more vulnerable to harmful chemicals. Their immature organ systems make them less capable of fending off chemical damage that could lead to damage later on in life. The blood-brain barrier that helps to block chemicals from penetrating the brain tissue is also not fully formed until 6 months of age, meaning we have to be extremely cautious when it comes to selecting baby products.
Parents are constantly concerned with getting the best products in the market and doing everything right so that their child is safe. But as we are perusing the baby aisle at our local supermarket, how do we determine which products are the best, and which ones are simply claiming to be the best?
Research carried out by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that children are exposed to an average 61 different chemicals every day from the most popular baby products, many of which have not been found safe for children. The EWG found that 77% of ingredients in 1700 children products have not been assessed for safety. According to the FDA, companies can use marketing terms such as ‘natural’, ‘safe’, and ‘gentle’, to ‘mean anything or nothing at all’ (FDA 2000).
Many children’s products contain potentially hazardous ingredients that contradict label claims.
- 2009 Sunscreen Guide by Environmental Working Group (fitsugar.com)