Monday, February 4, 2008

Chemicals in Baby Products Raise Concerns

Baby shampoos, lotions and powders may be exposing babies to chemicals (phthalates) that have been linked with possible reproductive problems, according to a new study, which appears in the February 2008 issue of the journal Pediatrics.

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

In the study, phthalates were found in elevated levels in the urine of babies who'd been recently shampooed, powdered or lotioned with baby products.

Phthalates have recently come under attack by many environmental advocacy groups, although experts are still 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. In addition, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the health effects in humans are uncertain at this time.

Animal studies have suggested that phthalates may cause reproductive birth defects and may cause reproductive problems in boys and early puberty in girls.

The highest levels were linked to shampoos, lotions and powders, and were most prevalent in babies younger than 8 months, although some question the validity of the study and are calling for further research.

Source: Associated Press