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Baby (S)cents

Lindsay&CalvinWould you use perfume on your baby?

Lindsay Dahl, Deputy Director

We all love the smell of babies, but at what cost? It was just last week when I was watching Modern Family and I couldn’t stop laughing when one of the characters was “baby huffing.” You know that
overwhelming feeling when you hold a baby in your arms only be overtaken by the
desire to smell their sweet fluffy heads? Then I saw Jenn Savage’s column on Dolce and Gabbana’s new product… perfume for babies. What is our world coming too?

I am familiar with this feeling and recently had a good
go of it while visiting my family for the holidays. The newest addition to our
family, Calvin, is five months old has that amazing baby smell and I just
couldn’t get enough. Huff Huff.

Cue perfume marketing department. I’ve heard of a lot of strange perfume ideas including sushi-smelling
cologne for men in Japan, but perfume for babies really takes the cake.

Here’s my problem with perfume for children:

They smell wonderful,
as they are.

There’s a reason my family and others call it baby huffing,
most everyone loves the smell of babies! Why would we do anything to change
that? And how can we possibly “enhance” this smell with
synthetic fragrance? The amount of fragrances we encounter in our daily lives
continues to rise. Air
in our cars and homes, air sprays for your stinky gym bag, the
bathroom, scented lotions, shampoos and perfumes. The list goes on and meanwhile
our exposures to toxic chemicals continue to rise.

Fragrances and
perfumes are toxic, plain and simple.

Most perfumes and fragrances are just plain bad for us. There is
a vast body of science linking several (sometimes hundreds of toxic chemicals)
in any given perfume. Our friends at the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
have a lot of great information on their website on this topic.

Health impacts: Phthalates
are a class of toxic chemicals found in a wide variety of products, everything
ranging from vinyl flooring, building supplies, air freshners, cosmetics,
lotions, soaps and perfumes. They are one of the main toxic ingredients in
perfumes and have been linked to a
host of health effects
from hormone disruption, malformations of the male
reproductive tract, feminization of males, undescended testes in males. Fragrance
and perfumes also may exacerbate asthma symptoms in adults and children. According
to the Campaign for Safe
Cosmetics, “as far back as 1986 the National Academy of Sciences identified
fragrance ingredients as one of six categories of neurotoxins (chemicals that
are toxic to the brain.)”

Consumers have no access to information on toxic chemicals in fragrances.

Due to weak federal
laws, the companies that use “fragrance” in their products do not need to
label what chemicals are used in that particular scent. So while on the label it looks
like it’s one ingredient, it could mean up to dozens of different chemicals. The result? The
consumer is once again burdened with trying to navigate a marketplace with little to no

What you can do:

A few simple and common sense tips will protect you and the
little ones in our life. Simply skip perfume and fragrance in your home. We
don’t need to be spraying babies or adults with toxic chemical perfumes. Second, make sure to urge Congress to pass the Safe
Chemicals Act
and Safe
Cosmetics Act. Until we have strong laws on toxic chemicals, undisclosed
and toxic chemicals will continue to creep into our lives.

There isn’t much we can do to stop manufacturers from
marketing to our children, but we can choose not to buy these products. In the
meantime, I’ll continue to baby huff the natural way. Huff Huff.

Would you use perfume on children?

To follow Lindsay on Twitter: @Lindsay_SCHF