Green Parenting

10 Ingredients to Avoid in Baby Products

by Kanishka Pachaury on Jun 21, 2023

10 Ingredients to Avoid in Baby Products

To keep their baby safe and healthy is on every parent’s priority list. From baby-proofing the house to scheduling regular check-ups for their young ones, young parents do everything within their power to protect their baby’s health. 

But did you know, that beyond the apparent dangers that new parents prepare for, there are a slew of invisible dangers that are frequently overlooked.
Unaware of these invisible dangers, parents unwittingly put their children in harm’s way.
The market is saturated with baby care products, from skin care to toys, diapers to strollers, there is an endless, confusing list of products to choose from. 
Labelled as ‘gentle’, ‘natural’, ‘safe’ and ‘non-irritating’ these products are often misguided attempts by the Marketing to increase their consumer base, strengthened by the busy lifestyle that does not allow parents to thoroughly check every ingredient listed. 
Consequently, as the use of the plethora of baby care products increases, so does a baby’s exposure to the most harmful of chemicals. 

Why to keep your baby safe from these chemicals?

If your baby has suddenly suffered from hives and rashes, more often than not, this might be a case of an allergy reaction to some baby product you might have used. 

Did you know that a baby’s skin is 30 % thinner than that of an adult’s?

Thus, their delicate skin is not only much more easily irritated, but it is also much more permeable than adult skin. 

That means, it is much easier for these harmful chemicals to enter your baby’s bloodstream and cause not only short-term, but long-term health issues. 

A lot of these baby products contain carcinogens, and your baby is much more susceptible to these toxins than an adult.

These chemicals are easily found in baby products like skincare, soaps, shampoos, creams, clothing, diapers, wipes, etc. 

Thus, it’s necessary to equip yourself with the correct knowledge regarding what ingredients and chemicals you are allowing near your baby. 

In this blog, we will see the top chemicals and toxins you need to look out for, and avoid baby products containing such hazardous ingredients.


1. Parabens

You might recognize these synthetic preservatives from the various soaps, body washes, moisturizers and cosmetics that contain them.

These chemicals can be easily absorbed into skin, disrupting hormonal activity and might even cause skin irritation. 

Parabens have also been associated with serious diseases like cancer, and even reproductive system issues. With babies, parabens have also been known to cause damage to the developing endocrine system.


What to look out for: In the ingredient list, seek out any ingredient that ends with the suffix ‘-paraben’, like Methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben etc.


2. Phthalates

Also known as Phthalates Esters, these chemicals are unfortunately found in abundance. Being byproducts of petroleum, these are used as artificial fragrance additives.

While you’ll find them in a majority of products containing fragrance, they can also be found in breast milk and infant formula, as well as packaged foods.

They are also known to migrate from different substances into our bodies. 

Exposure to these phthalates has both long-term and short-term adverse effects on health, including hormone disruption, reproductive abnormalities, and even have been linked to asthma and neurodevelopmental issues. .

You can find these in clothes, plastic toys, lotions, shampoos, baby powders, wipes and diapers.

What to look out for: 

  • DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate)
  • DEP (diethyl phthalate)
  • DEHP (di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate or bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate)
  • BzBP (benzylbutyl phthalate)
  • DMP (dimethyl phthalate)

Choose products explicitly labelled as ‘Phthalates-free’ or ‘Fragrance-free’. 

Allter’s water wipes are made of 99% water and natural aloe vera extracts. We have made sure that our water wipes are free of harmful chemicals like Parabens, phthalates and synthetic fragrances that’ll harm your baby. 

Visit our website here and check for yourself how Allter shields your baby from all the nasty chemicals.


3. Formaldehyde

A known carcinogen and neurotoxin, formaldehyde is a preservative that is often used in personal care (including baby products) and cleaning products. You can also find formaldehyde in pressed wood items and secondhand smoke. 

One of the most alarming facts is that there are certain chemicals which are widely used and tend to release Formaldehyde, even though it is not used in the product formulation.

If your baby is suddenly having an allergic reaction including watery eyes, respiratory issues, skin irritation and nausea, then Formaldehyde might be the culprit. 

Long term exposure, unfortunately, can also lead to cancer and have a detrimental effect on the Central Nervous System. 


What you can do:

  • Do not smoke anywhere in your baby’s vicinity.
  • Choose pressed wood items or chipboard products, select the ones labelled specifically as CARB-compliant or NAF (no added formaldehyde).


What to look out for:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Quaternium-15
  • DMDM hydantoin
  • imidazolidinyl urea
  • diazolidinyl urea
  • polyoxymethylene urea
  • sodium hydroxymethylglycinate
  • 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1
  • Glyoxal


4. Perfluorochemicals (PFCs)

Pick out any clothing or product that is water-resistant, and/or repelling stains and greases, and chances are you’ll find these PFCs in the ingredient list.

You can also find them in non-stick cookware, furniture, waterproof or stain-free textiles, like baby bedding or sheets.

PFC exposure harms the liver and reproductive health. It also can lead to problems in growth and development and in the immune system of your baby. 


What can you do?

  • Be cautious of textiles labelled as ‘water-resistant’, ‘stain-resistant’ or ‘grease-resistant’ as they may be full of PFCs.
  • Choose the PFC-free label.
  • Or look for natural alternatives.

What to look out for?

  • Perfluorooctane 
  • Sulfonic acid (PFOS)
  • perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
  • Fluorotelomer
  • Polytetrafluoroethylene.

5. Talc

Using baby powder to soothe your baby’s diaper rashes? Think again. 

Talcum powder is a powdered mineral that includes magnesium, oxygen, silicon etc. It is used for absorbing moisture on skin and reducing friction, thus becoming a baby skin care essential. 

However, it is a known lung irritant and has also been linked to cancer. Sometimes, a substance called Asbestos is found in talc, which dries out mucous membranes and results in respiratory diseases. 

What can you do?

  • Look for talc-free powders in the market.
  • You can take the organic course, and use cornstarch or arrowroot powder for your baby.

What to look out for?

  • Talc
  • Talcum
  • Talcum Powder

6. Sulphates

Have you wondered why recently personal-care brands have started promoting their products as ‘SLS-free’ or ‘sulphate-free’?. 

Being effective cleansers, they efficiently clean a wide variety of surfaces of oil and dirt. These are commonly found in soaps, shampoos, shower gels, face cleansers, and even toothpastes! 

However, sulphates are known to cause not only skin irritation, but also the eyes and lungs. It’s very harsh to the sensitive skin, and also to those with eczema.

Thus, avoid using sulphates not only for your baby, but also for your own skin. 

What can you do?

  • There are plenty of SLS-free products available in the market that you can choose from.
  • Read the ingredient label carefully and choose organic and natural products.

What to look out for?

  • Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS)
  • sodium laureth sulphate (e.g. SLES, sodium lauryl ether sulfate)
  • ammonium laureth sulphate (ALS)
  • sodium stearyl sulphate
  • sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (SLSA)
  • sodium coco sulphate

7. Bisphenol A (BPA)

avoid plastic bottles and use glass bottles to avoid dangerous chemicals and toxins


BPA is another endocrine-disrupting chemical that you can find in plastics. It is used in plastic bottles, sippy cups or even metal can linings to prevent corrosion and keep metal away from our food. 

However, on being heated or scratched, the BPA can enter our food and beverages, resulting in babies consuming microplastics at an alarming rate. 

According to studies, BPA has negative effects on brain, behavior, and thyroid functions.

It might also lead to disrupted metabolism and has been linked to early puberty and certain types of cancers. 

Despite BPA being banned by the current Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) regulations, traces of BPA have still been found in feeding bottles. 

Unfortunately it's substitute, Bisphenol S (BPS), has also a plethora of negative effects on the health of children and adults alike. 

What can you do?

  • Avoid plastic altogether. Choose glass bottles and food containers.
  • If you need plastic containers for heating food in the microwave, specifically look out for BPA ingredients and look for ‘microwave-safe’ containers.
  • If you need plastic items, avoid polycarbonate items (identified with “PC” mark).
  • Opt for polypropylene products (marked by “PP”).

What to look out for?

  • BPA
  • Bisphenol A

8. Flame retardants

As young parents, you might have gone an extra mile and sought out flame-resistant baby clothing, crib mattresses, nursing pillows, strollers or car seats. 

But did you know that flame retardants are carcinogens and have been associated with neurodevelopmental problems, hormone or immune disorders, increased hyperactivity and advanced puberty?

Even after phasing out the most harmful of flame retardants, these stay for a long time in the environment. 

And since babies and toddlers tend to ‘mouth’ and spend most of their time on floors, they have high concentrations of these chemicals in their bodies as compared to adults and teens. 


What can you do?

  • Avoid products with polyurethane foam as they contain flame retardants.
  • Look for natural fibres in clothing, mattresses and pillows.
  • For textile products, look for wool and cotton fibres, instead of PVCs and Vinyl.
  • Invest in a quality HEPA filter, which is an air filter that removes particles of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and other airborne particles.

What to look out for?

  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers
  • PBDE
  • organohalogen flame retardants
  • Organophosphorus flame retardants
  • PentaBDE
  • OctaBDE
  • DecaBDE
  • HBCD
  • TBBPA 

9. Synthetic Fragrances

All of us have been guilty of choosing products based on the scent only. 

However, these synthetic fragrances are guilty of causing allergic reactions, skin irritation, eczema and are even detrimental to the eyes.

These flowery scents hide the multitude of chemicals that are required to produce them. 

These contain harmful chemicals like benzene derivatives, aldehydes, phthalates, and toluene, which negatively affect a baby’s growth and development. 

Scents that tend to linger on the skin for long periods are especially harmful as we all are more prone to its negative effects of respiratory problems and skin irritation in the long term.

Companies are not required to disclose what chemicals they have used to produce those scents, thus putting you in the dark.

However some companies do voluntarily disclose what their fragrances are composed of, allowing you to ensure that you aren’t putting your baby’s health in jeopardy. 

You can find these synthetic fragrances in diapers, shampoos, baby washes, soaps, powders and all sorts of personal care products.

What can you do?

  • When choosing personal care products, look for fragrance free products.
  • If you have to choose scented products, seek out the brands that offer their fragrance composition. 
  • Fragrances made of natural oils, like essential oils, are less likely to cause irritation or allergic reactions, and are safer options as compared to synthetic fragrances.

What to look out for?

  • Fragrance
  • Parfum

Allter’s Organic Bamboo Diapers are free of any synthetic fragrances and phthalates. Clinically certified, our eco-friendly diapers are free of harmful chemicals and toxins.

You can check out our rash-free diapers here.


10. Oxybenzone

Sunscreens are extremely essential skincare products, not only for adults but also for young children. They protect skin from the harsh UV rays and prevent skin cancer. 

According to doctors, mineral sunscreens are ideal, not only because they block UV rays, and provide broader protection, but also because they are safer for the skin. 

Oxybenzone has been widely found in sunscreen because of their effectiveness in sun protection, however it comes with its own harsh negatives.

It can potentially disrupt hormones leading to early puberty, cause allergic reactions and lead to cell damage resulting in skin cancer. 

Traces of Oxybenzone can be found weeks after use in blood, breastmilk and even topically.

The concentration found  is especially more in babies and children due to the higher absorption.

There has also been evidence of Oxybenzone killing corals and harming the ocean ecosystem. 

What can you do?

  • Avoid sunscreen with Oxybenzone and use sunscreen consisting of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
  • Use mineral sunscreen instead of chemical sunscreens as they are more effective.

What to look out for?

  • Benzophenone-3
  • BP-3
  • Milestab 9
  • Eusolex 4360
  • Escalol 567


In this blog we talked about a few harmful chemicals and toxins that you need to lookout for. These chemicals are widely used and may cause not only allergies or irritation, but can also have serious negative effects on your baby’s health. 

Make sure to read the labels carefully and thoroughly go through the ingredients list. You can take help of the internet in understanding all the scientific jargon.

Also browse the internet for product reviews by fellow parents before committing to any one product.

Do minimize the products you use for your baby. Unlike an adult, babies and toddlers do not require a plethora of skin care products, so do not overdo it.

To avoid toxins, try organic and natural brands, and only buy products only from the brands you trust. Opt for brands that are committed to your baby’s health and safety. 

If you do not know where to start, check out Allter’s collection of organic bamboo diapers and water wipes. 

Keeping in mind the safety of your babies, we have made sure to keep our products free from all the harmful chemicals and toxins, while being mindful of the environment. 

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