Ideal Life Mom Freaks Out About: Baby Bath Products


Today a specific article keeps rolling up on my news feed. Thing is, it’s NOT new information…but I keep seeing these virtual ‘gasps’ from shocked parents and grandparents. Now, if any of you knows where I might obtain a pocket-sized soap box, you might want to message me. This is one of those topics that REALLY gets my dander up!

First, let’s make sure you have a link to the article. Now rest assured, this is NOT new information. In fact, my husband and I became aware of the concerns swirling around some baby products in 2007, before our little flower fairy arrived. It had been a long time since we had taken care of a baby-and while I would identify us a “technologically impaired” we were still able to stumble across enough cautionary information to make us seek out a safer line of baby products.

Now, as I stared before, we were aware of this in 2007. J&J products had been removed from shelves on other countries, and the buzz was that some of the ingredients had cancer-causing and neurotoxic ingredients. Now, again-this isn’t new information. It’s not even a nearly 10yr old concern…in fact, there has been a public outcry and demand for more responsible products for over TWENTY YEARS. That’s right…check into that.

In 2009, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, along with 40 other organizations (including American Nurses Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners) sent a letter to J&J outlining their concerns with the company’s products, particularly its baby shampoo. In the last 6 years, J&J has made numerous assertions regarding “safe” levels of known toxic and dangerous chemicals. They also repeatedly “promise” to reduce and/or remove these ingredients…and periodically make a press release lauding their reduction. Admirable? Maybe. But not enough…not NEARLY enough, considering that J&J already sells their standard product line overseas (Finland, Denmark, Japan, Norway, Sweden, The Netherlands, The UK) without those very same chemicals they bemoan their troubles and cost in removing.

So, what’s up with this? Why is this a concern? What the soap box, you ask? Simple. My kids’ world is full of things that I can’t control. So whenever possible, I want to choose the best products that I can…especially in products that I regularly use IN, ON, and AROUND my kids.So many of these ingredients are shown to contribute to an infinite number of health concerns, from infertility, asthma, allergies, eczema, leukemia, ADD, depression…the list goes on and on. Will one product be the tipping point? I don’t know…I don’t think anyone does. How much is too much? Can I prevent all of those things? Maybe not…but I can take intentional steps to remove things that i KNOW increase my children’s risk. You know what scares me? Household products that are plastered with cautions. “Neurotoxic.” “Hazardous to Pets.” “Do Not Inhale.” “Do Not Ingest.” “Flush Eyes Immedialtly.” “Avoid Contact With Skin.” And one of my personal favorites….”If you cannot read (…) warnings, do not use this product.” These things are written all over products you use! Now, how scary is that? (Seriously. Climb under your bathroom sink and start reading.)

How do I choose better products? Well…couple things. First, if you can’t read it, you probably don’t want it. Second, if you yourself are scared to eat a teaspoon of it, don’t dump it on your child’s head or in their bath water. Thirdly, consider that many overseas countries have much, MUCH higher standards for baby product safety than the US. I once had a doctor tell me that just because something was toxic to small animals did not mean that it wasn’t safe for my newborn. (really.) He explained that a small animal’s metabolism differed significantly from a human baby’s, which explained why a small animal might die from a certain level of exposure, but my baby would be…uhh…”just fine.”

Another question I hear: “I get it that what you feed them is important, but it’s JUST soap and lotion.” Consider this: chemicals are absolutely absorbed through the skin. We regularly does everything from nicotine and birth control to nitroglycerin and pain medication through skin patches. As in…on a patch. In a controlled dose. Care to chance a full-body application on your newborn?  In 2005, the Environmental Working Group published a combination of two studies that found toxic chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies born in the U.S. in the fall of 2004. They screened for more than 400 chemicals, and an astounding 287 toxins were detected within the umbilical cord blood of these newborns. Of these 287 chemicals, 217 were neurotoxins, and 208 are known to damage growth development or cause birth defects. These toxins included mercury, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polybrominated and polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and furans (PBCD/F and PBDD/F), perflorinated chemicals (PFCs), organochlorine pesticides like DDT and chlordane, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polychlorinated napthalenes (PCNs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and many others. These study results have been largely ignored by the media.

That explains why this commercial is infuriating for me: 

Ok, so let me tuck this soap box back into my pocket…for now. And let’s wrap this up by asking you to PLEASE, please consider your baby’s skin care products. There are so many better (and not always more costly) options! I adore Mustela baby products, Dr. Bronner’s makes great washes for adults and babies at a great price, and even plain organic coconut oil can do about 10, 000 amazing things. Check out the info at to find a better option for yourself and your kids! Also check out our own homemade baby, bath, and home products…expanding rapidly and available at


About idealifemom

Oft overwhelmed and underfunded CEO of everything at home. Following the births of our three youngest children, I came to realize that unless I employed a nanny, a chef, a trainer, an accountant, a maid, a personal shopper, and at LEAST 3 of us was going to have to become the in-home expert on everything. That someone was me. This is my journey....welcome aboard!

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