Tag Archive for 'parabens'

Weekly Highlights (1/23/2012)

I hope you had a wonderful weekend! My apologies for missing the highlights last week. January is a hectic month for me, so after work and family there hasn’t been much time left over. Because we missed last week, you’ll see a little more in this week’s highlights, our weekly post that recaps important child health and safety news, research, and recalls from the previous week and other great finds we’ve come across in our internet travels.


In the News:

Mom Claims in Viral Blog That Disabled Child Denied TransplantGiven patient confidentiality laws, it’s not possible to have the whole story, but I sincerely hope this child is able to get the kidney she will need. Heartbreaking.

FDA Halts Imports of Orange Juice: Is It Safe to Drink? - The FDA has halted all imports of orange juice after The Coca Cola Company, maker of Minute Maid and Simply Orange, notified that some Brazilian growers had sprayed their trees with a fungicide that is illegal in the U.S. The FDA is not issuing a recall citing no safety concerns over consumption at low levels, but they are now inspecting all imported juices.

A Specialists’ Debate on Autism Has Many Worried Observers - The standard reference manual for mental disorders is under revision, and many are worried that changes in the definition of autism, aspergers, and other disorders may limit or take away services available to those who currently qualify.

Connecticut Lawmakers Consider Ban on Flame Retardants in Baby Products  Citing a new report which found flame retardants in 17 of 20 baby products, Connecticut lawmakers consider ban.

LEGO Petitioned to Stop Gender-Based Marketing - After LEGO introduced a girlified version of LEGOs for girls featuring taller, skinnier, more accessory-friendly characters, backlash ensues with a petition to end gender-based marketing. My girls happily play with the standard LEGOs, as I’m sure do many others. This is the last thing our girls need. Sign the petition, if you like, here. The petition has reached almost 50,000.

New Research:

Babies Learn to Talk by Reading Lips
Ever noticed your baby studying your mouth when you speak? New research suggests that babies’ attention focuses on the mouth between about 6-12 months as they turn their attention to speech development in order to learn how to shape their lips and form sounds. Around the age of 1, their gaze comes back to the eyes, unless they are learning a foreign language in which case they will continue to focus on the mouth. Fascinating!

Parabens Found in 99% of Breast Cancer Tumors
A study of breast cancer tissue samples taken from 40 women undergoing mastectomies between 2005 and 2008 in England found that 99% of the samples contained at least one paraben and 60% of samples contained five. The study does not draw conclusions about cause and effect but does highlight the need for further study.

Plasticizer (Phthalate) Increases Miscarriage Risk
In the first study to examine phthalate exposure and miscarriage in humans, scientists in Denmark found that women exposed near the time of conception to relatively common levels of a particular phthalate are more likely to experience early miscarriage compared to women with lower exposures. Only exposures around conception, and not in the prior month, were linked to miscarriage. Couples attempting to get pregnant between 1992 and 1994 contributed urine samples, and scientists tested samples taken shortly before ovulation for phthalate levels and after ovulation for confirmed pregnancies and losses. The samples were tested in 2009?? Regardless, further research is necessary to confirm the conclusions, but animal/rodent studies have shown similar associations.

Eating Mercury-Tainted Fish Affects Stress Hormones in Children
A new study of 100 children, aged 9 to 11, found that higher mercury levels in the children’s blood was significantly associated with lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is released in response to stress and is important for metabolism, immune responses, and blood pressure. Lower cortisol levels and responses can contribute to chronic stress. The children’s fish eating habits were monitored, and the fish eaters had almost three times higher the level of mercury of the non-fish eaters. Consider this guide to fish and mercury levels from the Natural Resources Defense Council for limiting your child’s mercury consumption.

Fantastic Finds:

Baby Sleep Positions from Howtobeadad.com – Too funny. Booby trap, H is for Hell, and Snow Angels are familiar territory in our home. How about you?

Friendly Fire from Momastery.com - I can’t get enough of Glennon Melton. She is one amazing woman, and I wish I could shout this message from the rooftops. Every woman should read this!

The Never Before Told, Super Secret Ingredient for Raising an Amazing Daughter from Lisa Kaplin at BuffaloGrovePatch - Be the woman you want your daughter to be. Well said.

Recalls, January 10 – January 22:

CPSC Child Product Recalls

Child Safety Seat Recalls

No child safety seat recall announcements this week.

USDA/FDA Recalls

If there’s anything you see and think we should feature, please send it our way to jasmine@purebebe.com. We hope your week is off to a great start!

XOXO, Jasmine & Heather

Weekly Highlights (9/19/11)

Welcome to “Weekly Highlights”, our weekly post that recaps important child health and safety news, research, and recalls from the previous week and other great reads we’ve come across in our internet travels.

In the News:

In Pittsburgh, Public Art Doubles as a Sanctuary for Breast-Feeding Moms - The “milk truck”, a converted ice cream truck complete with a 3 ft fiberglass boob on top created as part of an art exhibition, will make its rounds in Pittsburgh providing a place for women to breastfeed and pump.

Remote Controls Aren’t Toys: Lithium Batteries Prove Deadly to Kids - Kids love adult electronic devices, but unfortunately, most do not have child-resistant battery compartments. In 2010, 3,400 children swallowed lithium batteries, and the number of critical injuries has quadrupled in the past five years. One mom shares her story.

One Sperm Donor, 150 Offspring - Websites connecting donor siblings are highlighting concerns about ethics and regulation in the fertility industry. There is no limit on how many children a donor can father in the U.S., and some are finding they have 50, 70, or 100+ raising concerns over incomplete health history, spread of genetic diseases, accidental incest between donor siblings, to name a few.

Judge Blocks Florida Law Curbing Doctors’ Questions About Guns - A federal judge in Florida blocked a state law that would have prevented doctors from asking about guns in the home and discussing the risks with their patients.

New Research:

BPA, Methylparaben Block Breast Cancer Drugs
In a study performed by researchers in California, BPA and methylparaben not only caused noncancerous breast cancer cells to start behaving like cancer cells, but they also interfered with the treatment. When tamoxifen, a drug designed to prevent or treat cancer, was introduced to cells exposed to the two chemicals, they continued to grow.

IUDs Lower Cervical Cancer Risk
For reasons that aren’t fully understood, IUDs have been associated with a lower risk of cervical cancer. In a study funded by the WHO and several other government and philanthropic organizations, an analysis of data from 20,000 women from around the world found that women who use IUDs are roughly half as likely to develop cervical cancer as women who have never used one.  An editorial accompanying the study notes, however, that HPV testing and Pap smears already reduce risk by 80 to 90%.

Antidepressants Associated with Autism
Mothers who took selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – the most commonly prescribed antidepressants – during the year before delivery or during the first trimester of pregnancy were at increased risk to have a child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The risk of autism doubled in those whose mothers took SSRIs during the year before pregnancy and quadrupled for those who took them during the first trimester of pregnancy. This study provides the first look at the relationship between SSRI use and autism risk.

More Accidental Drug Poisonings in Children
The growing use of prescription drugs by adults has led to more accidental drug poisonings in children. A review of national poison control data on children under 5 who visited the ER between 2001 and 2008 for accidental drug poisoning found that the number of poisonings increased 22 percent over the time period. The authors of the study said the best solution would be to design new packages for both adult and pediatric drugs that would not only be difficult to open but also make it more difficult for a young child to ingest large quantities.

Back Off, Mom. Parents Who Hover Impede Kids’ Activity
Researchers observing how children play in parks found that children whose parents hung around monitoring them closely were only about half as likely to engage in high levels of physical activity as kids whose parents granted more freedom. The study was intended to help park designers create parks that better entice kids to run around and play, but the researchers found some interesting things along the way.

Good Reads:

A Very Personal and Important Message from Confessions of a Dr. Mom - A personal plea to drivers everywhere to put down your cell phones.

The 5 Saltiest Meals of 2011 at FoodFacts.com - The sodium equivalents are mind-boggling. Makes you think twice about what might be on your restaurant plate.

Recalls, September 13 – September 19:

CPSC Child Product Recalls

Child Safety Seat Recalls
No child safety seat recall announcements this week.

USDA/FDA Recalls

We’d love your feedback! If there is anything you’d like us to add or change, we’d love to hear it! If there’s anything you see and think we should feature, please send it our way to purebebeblog@gmail.com. We hope your week is off to a great start!


Jasmine & Heather

6 Dangerous Chemicals to Avoid in Skincare Products

Recently a friend reached out to me after reading our 2011 Sunscreen Picks article. She wanted to know why we did not include a particular brand of sunscreen, which she had been using and had also begun to sell as an independent consultant.  I took a quick look at the company’s website, and was encouraged by the company’s choice of words.  ”Safe.  Pure.  Beneficial.” Next, I checked the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) cosmetics database and was surprised to find that they didn’t list the company, let alone ratings, for their skincare products.

So I asked this friend to send me the list of ingredients for each of their sunscreens.  She sent me the long lists of ingredients for two of their sunscreens.  I took one look at the ingredients and knew, right away, that I would never use the products.  The first ingredient that caught my eye was Oxybenzone, which rates an 8 on the EWG’s list of ingredients (on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the most dangerous ingredients/products).  As a general rule of thumb, I only use products with ingredients that register a ’0′ or ’1′ on the EWG’s scale.  Oxybenzone causes developmental and reproductive toxicity, as well as reproductive birth defects.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) lists the skin as the “most common path of toxic substance exposure.”  It is the body’s largest organ and has outstanding absorption abilities.  That’s why it’s important to know what’s in the products that you’re using on your children, and yourself, especially if you’re pregnant.  As is the case with my friend’s skincare products, skincare product companies will market themselves as “natural, pure, safe.” But many of these claims are false.  It’s up to all of us to do our research.

We have compiled a list of ingredients to avoid in your skincare products.  This list is not all-encompassing, but we feel that these are some of the most dangerous, and/or most common, offenders.

  • Dioxanes (1,3 or 1,4-Dioxane) – 1,4-dioxane is a known carcinogen that contaminates up to 46% of personal care products tested (OCA 2008, EWG 2008).  In addition, it can wreak havoc on our immune systems and is a known allergen.  According to the EWG’s cosmetics database, “The chemical is an unwanted byproduct of an ingredient processing method called ethoxylation used to reduce the risk of skin irritation for petroleum-based ingredients. Though 1,4-dioxane can easily be removed from products before they are sold, its widespread presence in products indicates that many manufacturers fail to take this simple step.”
  • Triclosan – is used as an antibacterial agent and preservative.  Studies have shown that triclosan disrupts the endocrine system.
  • Parabens – are widely used as a preservative in skincare products.  Parabens mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors.
  • Mineral Oil – is added for fragrance and/or to protect the skin. Mineral oil is a liquid mixture made from petroleum.  There is strong evidence that it is toxic to the immune and respiratory system, and may cause cancer, especially if added to products that are inhaled (more studies are needed).
  • Oxybenzone – is used as a sunscreen agent, and a UV light absorber. According to the EWG, “This chemical absorbs through the skin in significant amounts. It contaminates the bodies of 97% of Americans according to Centers for Disease Control research.”  Oxybenzone is a known endocrine disruptor, and can cause developmental and reproductive toxicity, and immunotoxicity.
  • Fragrance – The skincare industry uses the term “fragrance” to hide 3,163 chemicals (including phthalates, octoxynols and nonoxynols, which are some of the most dangerous).  Pthalates are known hormone disruptors linked to reproductive birth defects.  The term “Fragrance” is also used in the candle and cleaning product industries

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself, and Your Babies, From These Harmful Chemicals?

1) Read labels!

2) Avoid products with fragrance

3) Look up your products on the Environmental W0rking Group’s Cosmetic’s Database

Want to learn more?  Here’s a list of 10 additional common chemicals in skincare products to avoid.

-What ingredients do you avoid in skincare products?
-What skincare products do you use?

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