Are you unknowingly exposing your children to toxins and exposing them to an increased risk of many life-changing and life-threatening diseases? If you use chemical skin care products on them, then yes.
This is not something that we are actively conditioned to think about. When was the last time you went shopping and looked at a bottle of lotion or shampoo for its ingredients? How many of us actually understand what words like sulfates, parabens, phthalates or formaldehyde mean?
In the transition to the grocery store, we choose well-known brands that our mothers used when we were children, or succumb to the wishes of our children who want bottles of shampoo with their favorite cartoon characters or superheroes. If the product comes from a recognized brand, it has words such as "delicate" and "clean" and comes in a glossy package, with an expensive price, we trust it. And here we get it wrong.
Studies show that as much as 60 percent of what is applied to the skin is absorbed by the body. The situation is more tragic for children, because the upper layer of the child's skin is 30 percent thinner than that of an adult, which means that they absorb ingredients much easier.
Research by the US Environmental Protection Agency has shown that infants up to 2 years of age are actually 10 times more likely to be exposed to carcinogenic chemicals than adults, and between 2 and 15 years are three times more likely to be exposed. Therefore, even low exposure of children of developmental age can lead to serious health problems such as cancer, infertility, learning difficulties and other serious health problems later in life.
Some harmful chemicals in baby products to watch out for are: SLS / SLES, parabens, phthalates and formaldehyde. SLS / SLES, a chemical that creates the foamy appearance of shampoos and soaps, can cause skin irritation, organ / nervous / reproductive toxicity, and cancer. Parabens used to increase the durability of products are associated with similar health hazards. Phthalates, used to extend the smell, are associated with reproductive and developmental problems as well as with asthma and breathing problems. Formaldehyde is associated with allergies, skin rashes and cancer.
So the question is: if these chemicals are so harmful and their effects are well documented, why are they still used in products and why are these products still appearing on our shelves? This is because the customer is largely unaware of these facts, which gives the skin care industry the freedom that is highly unregulated. The law does not require companies to comply with safety standards. Even those brands that claim to be organic, most of them are tested on friends and family, but is it reliable enough?
Ultimately, it all comes down to choice.
For the well-being of our children, are we still only looking at typical indicators such as nutrition, diet and physical activity, or do we attach importance to their exposure to chemicals? As a society, we need to worry about what our children absorb through the skin, the largest body organ. We need to move from chemical-based brands to organic brands that not only use the word 'organic' loosely, but have organic certificates from reliable bodies confirming their claims. As parents, we must begin to make informed choices for the benefit of our children.
Zaidi is the CEO of Bnatural and an educator