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Avoiding Toxic Ingredients in Children’s Personal Care Products Can be Easy

By Ilana Wiles

This post is sponsored by The Honest Company. We have been wanting to write about this important topic.

Honest Baby Product Care Products

When it comes to buying products for your baby, obviously no mother would willingly purchase anything harmful for their child. But we might falsely assume the most beloved and well-known brands in baby care sell products we can trust.

I’m a parent. I have a three-year-old, a two month old and a full-time job. My head is swimming with information from pumping schedules to preschool applications to remembering my Thursday morning status meeting at work. FYI? Today, I totally forgot it.

When I google “how to make sure I keep chemicals and toxins out of my children’s toys and care products,” I am met with article after article of studies, facts, figures, all of them too confusing and scary to take in. Plus, a lot of the brands mentioned are brands I would have assumed would be playing by the rules.

It didn’t take long to realize, I don’t know nearly enough about this stuff to keep myself and my babies safe from the dangerous chemicals and toxins pervasive in our world.

To see if I am the only one out there who feels totally overwhelmed by the “watch-outs” and the warnings and the names of chemicals I can neither spell nor pronounce, I created the quiz below to test your baby personal care product safety savvy.

Find out if you know your Sodium Lauryl Sulfate from your Polyethylene…

If you are like me, then you scored pretty poorly on that quiz. I’ve got way too much going on to remember the names of all those chemicals. Plus, it seems like there is new information and warnings coming out all the time and I don’t have the bandwidth to keep on top of it. I prefer someone else to keep on top of it for me.

Thankfully The Honest Company has a team of people, led by Christopher Gavigan, who are happy to play that role for me. Christopher is a dedicated leader and long-time activist in children’s environmental health, having spent many years in charge of Healthy Child, Healthy World, a non-profit lobbying for a safer and less toxic environment for our kids and teaching parents how easy choices can make our world a safer place for our families.

The Honest Company is a family company and its team spends all day, every day making sure their products meet their high standards for safety. As an added benefit, they have a high standard for design too, as evidenced in the photo below which includes their adorable patterned diapers.

They promise each personal care, cleaning and home product they sell is effective, eco-friendly, well-designed, convenient, affordable and unquestionably safe. Just take a look at their website and the detailed ingredient list they provide, which not only lists what goes into their products, it also lists what does not. It’s refreshingly explicit and transparent.

As a working mom of two, I want to think about these things but I don’t have the time. The Honest Company makes me believe I am doing good by my children and family by doing what’s easiest. How often can you say that?

Below is a cheat sheet of the commonly found chemicals in children’s personal care products. Feel free to share it, print it out, keep it in your wallet and use when looking for products for you and your family.

Or, you can just take the easy way out and shop through Honest. Sign up for a free trial (plus nominal shipping).

In the meantime, we all can sign up for a Free Trial (plus nominal shipping).

Answers to Quiz questions:
1: #4, 2: #4, 3: 23%, 4: 60%, 5: All of the above, 6: #4, 7: Phthalates & Parabens, 8: a newborn, 9: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, 10: All of the incredibly nasty stuff above, 11: Triclosan, 12: There is absolutely no good reason, 13: Phthalates, 14: False

Resources: HCHW, EWG, and Collective-Evolution.

******
Thank you to The Honest Company for making this post possible.

About the Author

Ilana Wiles

Ilana Wiles writes Mommy Shorts, a popular NYC humor blog geared towards new parents. In addition to blogging, Ilana has worked as a creative in advertisin...

Ilana Wiles writes Mommy Shorts, a popular NYC humor blog geared towards new parents. In addition to blogging, Ilana has worked as a creative in advertising for the past 15 years. She lives in the East Village of NYC with her husband, her two-year-old daughter and a rapidly growing pile of stuffed animals.

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Elaine B
Guest
Elaine B

A friend of mine was JUST telling me about this company! Will have to try it out. The dinosaur pattern is my fave, but if I was having a girl, I’d go for the bloom!

Isabel Kallman
Admin

Thanks Elaine! Sign up for a free trial using the link above.

Glamamom
Guest

I like the dinosaurs.

Laura6
Guest
Laura6

I love the gingham.

Kate
Guest
Kate

The hearts are adorable!

Scientist mom
Guest
Scientist mom

*facepalm* You…you know that everything in the world is made of chemicals, right? The oxygen that we breathe is a chemical (and! a powerful oxidant, as it turns out!). Water is a chemical (Dihydrogen monoxide, anyone?)

Spreading chemophobia doesn’t help anyone. Alphamom, people turn to you for advice.  You’re making mothers scared of everything, out of scientific ignorance coupled with marketers eager to exploit it.  

MOTHERS. Using the local drugstore’s brand of diaper cream will NOT give your baby cancer.

Read. Learn. 

Start here:
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2013/02/curing_chemophobia_don_t_buy_the_alternative_medicine_in_the_boy_with_a.html

Isabel Kallman
Admin

Thank you for sharing this. First of all, not all “chemicals” are equal and clearly some are more dangerous to humans (especially little ones) than others. I think our readers are smart enough to decipher this on their own and make the decisions for their families by reading your source and the ones I cite. 🙂

Anya
Guest
Anya

I have to agree with Scientist Mom too, and I take issue with some of your sources.  EWG in particular is notorious for using bad science and scare tactics. They try to equate hazard with risk, when the two are not the same thing AT ALL (risk = hazard x exposure). Their actual hazard ratings are very subjective, some chemicals are listed under two different names with different scores, and they often treat data gaps as a GOOD thing (but not consistently!).  “In summary, the Skin Deep database does not offer any insight into the true safety in use of any cosmetic… Read more »

Harald
Guest

Absolutely correct. The thing is that many people just parrot stuff the read somewhere on the internet w/o actually understanding the meaning. For example PEG or other ethoxylated stuff. The problem arose decades ago when Dioxan (not to be confused with Dioxine….another common mistake), an impurity from the ethoxylation process, was still high. Today, the industry has a very good control over this impurity, hence it is no problem anymore. The parabens polemic arose, because of rumors that parabens can emulate hormones in the human body. However, there was never any scientific proof for this theory. Mineral oil: there is… Read more »

BoobTraveler
Guest
BoobTraveler

Ugh. I agree with Scientist Mom. Some of the items on that list are just ridiculous (PEG? Really??), and even the ones that are actually of some concern don’t have enough information for anyone to make an informed decision.

At least it was clear that this was a sponsored post.

MR's Mama
Guest
MR's Mama

Interesting info to sort through.

Love the Honest diaper patterns…I think my girl would like the Bloom or the Tiny prints best. Super cute!

La Keisha
Guest
La Keisha

I love the tiny prints design. They have some really cute diapers!

Natasha
Guest

I like tiny prints!

Lisa
Guest

Right  now?  The skulls.  I’ve seen enough snowflakes for a while now!

Sara
Guest

The dinosaurs!

Nicole
Guest
Nicole

I’d love a free supply of products from the honest company, my favorite diaper pattern is the tiny prints.

Figuring out what is safe for a baby and what isn’t, is definitely difficult and time consuming. Luckily I have a husband who is a bio-chemist and can understand all the nitty-gritty details of the research papers. All that said we both agree there are some things that should be avoided.

Ally
Guest
Ally

I love tiny prints.

Shera
Guest
Shera

The dinosaurs are cute!

Niki
Guest
Niki

I love the hearts!

Hannah
Guest

I love the Tiny Prints print! So adorable!

Kelly Joseph
Guest
Kelly Joseph

They are all so cute! I would have to say the anchors are my fave. 

Emily V.
Guest
Emily V.

I love the ice cream cone prints!

Lucie
Guest
Lucie

You just forgot: phenoxyethanol in baby wipes… really dangerous!

Anya
Guest
Anya

Nope.  http://www.paulaschoice.com/cosmetic-ingredient-dictionary/definition/phenoxyethanol

Chrissie V.
Guest
Chrissie V.

I love the winter snowflake pattern!! I LOVE the Honest Company!!

Shanelle L.
Guest
Shanelle L.

The purple leopard design is adorable. My daughter, Luca tries to say leopard as she points to the one she wants. Then lays down and gives it to me. I think it’s her favorite as well. 

Thank you so much for bringing safe products into our home. It’s a big step towards a non-toxic environment for my family. My husband last night just told me, “Thank you for making our family healthy and safe. ” 

Thank you Honest Company!

Jennie
Guest
Jennie

I love the bloom print!  Thanks for the article, alphamom!

Bella DP
Guest
Bella DP

When I was preganat I looked into all kinds of articles regarding the chemicals and gor freakout and confuse by all the info out there. My daughter is now 11months and I tried all kinds of diaper s on her since she was born. The honest diapers gave her a seriosly bad rash that I had to stop using them. I moved to pampers. I love the honest diapers idea but the re are a few babies thar I know that have gotten a rash after using them.

Isabel Kallman
Admin

Thanks Bella for the feedback. I do hope that you got in touch directly with Honest’s customer service.

Christy
Guest
Christy

hearts please!

Liz
Guest
Liz

Gingham!!

Hi, I'm Natalie.
Guest

Meh. I’ll stick to cotton prefolds, coconut oil, and breastmilk for my standard baby products. I’m suspicious of anything that is marketed as “baby” – shouldn’t we all be trying to limit our exposure to chemical fillers? 

Kayla
Guest
Kayla

I like bloom!

Lori
Guest
Lori

I love the Honest Dinosaurs pattern (but Tiny Prints is a close second!)

I’m using cotton prefolds now, but those disposables sound great for going on long trips and vacations. 

Health risks aside, I think there’s a huge advantage to using eco-friendly products that are good for the environment, biodegradable and not petroleum based. Even if those chemicals don’t harm humans, they eventually accumulate in the water supply and hurt sensitive species like amphibians. 

Isabel Kallman
Admin

+1

Carol L
Guest
Carol L

I think the Snowflake Pattern is adorable. Thanks for this chance.
Carol L.

Susan
Guest
Susan

The skulls are adorable!!! I have a little girl so I would get the bloom print!

Steph
Guest
Steph

I would choose Sweets. So cute and my little one loves ice cream so it would perfect for her.

Lis
Guest
Lis

Thank you so much for creating this amazing company! I love the face and body lotion! 

JM
Guest
JM

Um, if you’re making a graphic that is supposed to be so important, why is it such a god-awful color combination? White print on light blue? I can’t read a word! Nevermind print it off!

Isabel Kallman
Admin

Thanks for your feedback. However, can I recommend you make your suggestions in a better tone? Wake up on the wrong side of the bed? 😉

Kendra
Guest
Kendra

I love the designs on the swim diapers! Finally something cute without cartoon characters on it!

Meagan Clinedinst
Guest
Meagan Clinedinst

They are all such great designs! I love that they are unaffiliated! My favorite has to be the Pink Stars! Thanks a bunch for making this product line!
Xoxo,
Meagan

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

I love the gingham print!

Rebecca
Guest
Rebecca

I love the blue and green checks as well as the skulls. But they’re all so cute!!

Julie D
Guest
Julie D

Love the gingham print! Looking forward to using these diapers on baby #2 in April!

Katharine
Guest
Katharine

Tiny prints

Laura
Guest
Laura

I love bloom! It’s so sweet.

Dana
Guest
Dana

How am I supposed to choose just one?!?  I like the bloom,  the hearts, and the stars, and that’s just because I have an infant girl.  If I had known about this with my son, I would have to add in the dinosaurs (he had onesies that would have matched these perfectly), the gingham, and the anchors. 🙂

Jeannette
Guest

I love the Leopard design!

My poor girls have such sensitive skin and react to nearly everything I’ve put on them.. Pampers and Honest Diapers/Wipes are the only two that haven’t given them an awful rash. I was given Honest as a gift but switched to Pampers when I ran out, simply out of convenience.

Melissa
Guest
Melissa

My favorite design is Bloom. Thanks.

Ashley
Guest
Ashley

I have used Honest diapers and I love almost all their prints. Right now I’m loving leopard!

Katie
Guest
Katie

I love the swim diapers! It makes so much more sense for re-usable swim diapers than to buy those other ones that fall apart so easily!

Katie Dean
Guest
Katie Dean

The Lumberjack is adorable!

Dorothy P
Guest
Dorothy P

I’m a plain jane white diaper kind of girl, but I guess if I had to choose a print…the dinosaur print is pretty cool.

Jamie
Guest
Jamie

I like the Tiny Prints! So cute!

Victoria
Guest
Victoria

The dinosaur print is too cute!

Donna
Guest
Donna

Love the dinosaurs pattern! Thanks!