Phthalates and Parabens – Why the fuss?

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I always figured that everything we use or eat that was once considered safe would one day be found to be bad or hazardous for you.  I guess I never really cared much but of course, things changed when I had Ella.  Where I can, I try to purchase things free of phthalates and parabens which are essentially chemicals found in many lotions, shampoos, sunscreens, make-up and many other personal care products that are especially dangerous for pregnant women and children who are still developing.  From what I’ve read, these chemicals are used to add flexibility to plastics or a synthetic preservative to make things last longer.  Parabens for example can mimic harmones in the body and has been linked with increased risk of developing breast cancer.  In boys it can contribute to reduced production of testosterone and has even gone as far as contributing to deformed sex organs.  Is this a little over the top and bordering on paranoia – maybe, but for me if I can avoid it for Ella especially when she’s really young and developing then I will.  I figure what’s the harm with choosing more natural products when there’s an option and as long as the product  still works.

What was concerning to me is that you have no way of knowing if the product being used has phthalates and/or parabens since it’s not required to be listed as such on the list of ingredients.  Even crazier is that it’s normally hidden under the word “fragrance”.  Take a look at the back of your creams, shampoos and other personal care products – you’ll be surprised as I was.  Since the chemicals can mimic synthetic hormones once absorbed in the bloodstream, creams and other similar products which are applied to be absorbed into the skin increases your exposure!   The Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) rates products on how safe they are and was a great resource.  I’ve used this site to help research and select many of the products I purchase for Ella.

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