I had a very interesting conversation with a mama friend of mine the other day who is a first-time mom and runs Eco Mom SA, a baby brand that trades organic baby products.

Our conversation centered around how unaware we are as parents about the composition of the baby products we use on our kids every day.

I wanted to understand why she was so passionate about using organic and chemical-free baby products. She said she started her business after realizing that some conventional baby products contain chemicals that are unnecessary and harmful.

And the reason we are unaware of this is that we trust brands that have been around for decades. We, therefore, rarely question what is in their products. Parenting is a very new experience for us, so we take their word for it because we don’t know any better.

Did you know that baby powder is a talc-based powder that can potentially lead to cancer and other illnesses? It can also lead to some breathing and long-term lung issues. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor after doing some research.

Moms use baby powder to keep their babies’ skin dry and to avoid perspiration. I, for one, used baby powder because I grew up around parents who used it on their children. I also really like how a baby smells after I put on the powder.

But the risk is that asbestos is present in the talc used in some baby powders. Asbestos causes serious respiratory issues, including scarring of lung tissue when inhaled regularly.

A big international baby powder producer is currently being dragged to court in the US because they falsely claimed their baby powder has always been asbestos-free. Research was conducted and it was found that their talc had not contained any asbestos since 1957. Other research found this to be false.

The same goes for baby oil, which is made of mineral oil. Mineral oil is not meant to be in contact with human skin, particularly the sensitive skin of a newborn baby.

Mineral oil is the secondary product or distillation of petroleum. Yes, petrol. So what does it do to our skin?

It creates a second layer of skin and inevitably blocks the pores. Therefore skin does not function as it should. This means the toxins that are supposed to be released from the body through the pores remain in the body for longer than they should.

Can you imagine what would happen if your child ingested baby oil?

I had wondered why the baby oil we purchased recently was in a new baby-proof container. It’s because the manufacturer is aware of its dangers.

Here is the trick for purchasing baby products: If it is harmful when a baby digests it, then it is also dangerous to use on his or her body.

Which then begs the question: are we fully aware of what the ingredients are of the cream we put on our baby’s bum? Do we know what’s in the food we give her from a food pouch?

I am trying to be more conscious about what I give my baby, both internally and externally. Processed food for babies is comprised of chemicals that can be very harmful to them. These products are packaged in containers that contain BPA (bisphenol A), which can disrupt a child’s nervous and immune system.

Notice how some products are labelled “BPA-free” – what does that mean about products without this label? Processed foods also contain artificial food colourants, which are very harmful to children. Some products are more counterproductive than productive due to the toxins they contain.

I am committed to continuing my research on which chemicals I should avoid when purchasing baby products. We all should as parents, our babies’ lives depend on it.


  • Use natural products on babies’ skin such as coconut oil and olive oil.
  • Use fragrance-free products.
  • Serve homemade food.
  • Start reading the labels on the products for children.

This article is originally featured on the Citizen’s website.