Dangerous Baby Products?

October 10, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
New parents are often bombarded with personal care products that will make their baby feel better, sleep better and well ? be better. But are all those scented lotions and exotic shampoos really necessary? More importantly, could they actually be causing harm?"There is a lot of marketing to new parents," Edna Tello, M.D., a pediatrician at Coral Springs Medical Center in Coral Springs, Fla., told Ivanhoe.

But Dr. Tello says: less is more. "All the lotions, creams, perfumes -- really not recommended for infants," she said. And now, a new study shows those products could expose baby to risky chemicals called phthalates.

"I think we have to really pay attention to what we're putting in our little bodies, what we're exposing them to, what we're applying to their skin," Dr. Tello said.

In the study, researchers found phthalates in the urine of all 163 babies tested. Babies exposed to lotion, powder and shampoo had four times higher levels than babies who weren't exposed. High doses can reduce testosterone and alter reproductive organs in rodents -- especially males. But the link is not proven in humans.

Jake Seligsohn, M.D., a pediatrician at Pediatric Associates in Hollywood, Fla., says one study isn't cause for panic. "There's no study that conclusively shows that any chemical or phthalate -- as they're called -- in the lotions is harmful to humans," he said.

And he says most humans have phthalates in their urine because they're found in countless products. Even so, Dr. Seligsohn recommends chemical- and fragrance-free products.

Two-year-old Anderson Peters's parents have limited his exposure to plain soap and shampoo. "It's tough to know what's right and what's not and I think in the end, you just have to go with your instinct," Anderson's dad Chris Peters, told Ivanhoe.

"He doesn't need to smell like anything else, because he's a perfect package," Anderson's mom Jessica Novak said.

Anderson hasn't suffered one bit. "He's never had a skin problem," Novak said. And his skin feels just as soft as a baby's skin should -- no special lotion needed.

Phthalates are used as a plasticizer to keep plastic soft and to hold fragrance in. They can be found in everything from plastic toys to nail polish. Manufacturers are not required to list the chemicals on products, so they could be virtually impossible to avoid. If you're worried, look for chemical-free or fragrance-free products.

For More Information, Contact:
Jake Seligsohn, M.D.
Pediatric Associates
Hollywood, FL
drjakemd@hotmail.com


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