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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

USE OF BABY LOTION, POWDER AND SHAMPOO LINKED TO HIGHTER LEVELS OF PHTHALATES IN INFANTS

Infants and toddlers exposed to baby lotions, shampoos and powders carry high concentrations of hormone-altering chemicals in their bodies that might have reproductive effects, according to a new scientific study of babies born in Los Angeles and two other U.S. cities.

The research, to be published today in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, found that as the use of baby care products rose, so did the concentration of phthalates, which are used in many fragrances.
Phthalates are widely used chemicals that recent studies suggest may have toxic effects on the developing endocrine and reproductive systems. A new study found evidence that infants may be absorbing these chemicals through commonly used baby products. In “Baby Care Products: Possible Sources of Infant Phthalate Exposure,” researchers tested urinary concentrations of nine different phthalate metabolites in 163 infants. All of the urine samples contained at least one phthalate at measurable levels, and 80 percent of the samples had measurable amounts of at least seven types of phthalates. Babies whose mothers reported using infant lotion in the past 24 hours had increased concentrations of monoethyl phthalate and monomethyl phthalate. Those who reported using baby powder had increased concentrations of monoisobutyl phthalate. Infant shampoo use was associated with monomethyl phthalate. The associations were strongest in infants younger than eight months old, who may be more vulnerable to developmental and reproductive toxicity of phthalates due to their immature metabolic systems and higher body-surface-area-to-volume ratio. While children likely are exposed to phthalates through multiple sources, including oral ingestion, the study suggests skin absorption may be a major route of exposure. In the U.S., manufacturers are not required to label the phthalate content of products. The authors suggest that if parents want to lower their children’s exposure to these chemicals that they limit the amount of infant care products they use and apply lotions or powders only if medically indicated.
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