Potentially toxic baby products and alternatives you can try
By Nadine Akra
With all the different baby products on the market, how do parents know what the best options are for their children? We interviewed Blanchard Valley Pediatrics physician Dr. Ami Orr to get the scoop on the all-natural baby product debate. “It’s important to have the least amount of toxins in your child’s environment,” Orr says. Here, a break down of what to buy, and what to pitch.
Although plastic baby bottles are lightweight, durable and most likely able to survive a temper tantrum after being thrown on the floor, there is concern that these bottles contain harmful materials. Among them is the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA), which has been linked to increased risks of prostate and breast cancers. Before running to the cabinet to throw away all of your plastic bottles, though, know this: research shows that the amount of exposure is too low to be considered an immediate health risk. However, researchers agree that alternative methods like breast-feeding are more beneficial for your baby.
Ask the Expert: “The bad thing about glass bottles is they break. But make sure that if you are purchasing plastic bottles, you are purchasing BPA-free bottles. Also, I would not recommend microwaving anything because it creates warm spots and can burn you and the baby.”
Even the toys that babies play with have potential to be harmful if parents are not conscience about toxic materials. Unfortunately, many baby toys have been found containing lead, dyes and glues. Even more unfortunately, babies tend to put everything in their mouths, which increases the exposure to these chemicals. It is nearly impossible to eliminate all hazardous toys from your baby’s playpen, but alternatives like wooden or cotton toys are a good start.
Ask the Expert: “Most importantly, make sure the toy is not a choking hazard. It is unrealistic that your baby will not have plastic toys, but I would suggest avoiding painted things.”
The convenience of disposable diapers is unmatched, but unfortunately convenience isn’t the only factor in the diaper debate. Environmental awareness and health risks are topics of concern when parents are choosing diapers. Disposable diapers are irrefutably worse for the environment due to the use of plastic and raw materials.
Ask the Expert: “Disposable diapers are great for convenience and your baby will probably experience less diaper rash with disposable diapers. However, cloth is better for the environment. Either way, I always recommend buying name brand when it comes to diapers.”
“Tear free” shampoo sounds very enticing. It allows bath time to be a lot less dramatic â€” or does it? Research shows that the acidity level in these shampoos can be irritating to the skin and scalp and parents should try not to depend on them for harmony in the bathtub. Shampoos often contain harsh detergents, chemical fragrances and sometimes carcinogenic compounds. Ask your pediatrician if the shampoo you use has potentially harmful ingredients.
Ask the Expert: “Unscented baby shampoo. Always.”