A new scientific study raises questions about the safety of baby lotions, powders and other products parents use on their babies. The University of Washington tested the urine of dozens of babies and found that the more of these baby products they used (creams, lotions, powders, shampoos, etc.) the higher the levels of phthalates (man-made chemicals).
Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana of the University of Washington says, "We're concerned because there's been a recent body of data showing that phthalates are developmental and reproductive toxicants."
The FDA says that it's really not clear what effect phthalates have on people because most of the studies have only involved animals. An independent panel has found that low levels of phthalates are safe when used in cosmetics.
Phthalates are used in baby products to help the fragrance stay on a baby's skin. The baby-product industry points out that all but one of the phthalates they found in the urine samples aren't even used in baby products.
There's no question that phthalates are widely used in plastics. The study does not prove whether the chemicals came from the powders and lotions or from plastic diapers or even from the plastic containers used in the research.
The investigation continues. The simple solution, according to some doctors, is to use less of these products. And when cleaning and diapering young babies, soap and water is usually good enough.