Help decrease your baby’s exposure to toxins


This month, I will be lecturing at Studio Vie on staying healthy as a woman. Part of that is detoxifying the system, and this is the best time of the year for that. However, breast-feeding is not the time to start flushing toxins out of the cells only to have them end up in the breast milk! So when it comes to detoxing, wait until you are finished breast-feeding and come see a Naturopathic Doctor to do a great cleanse for your system to help you feel great.

However, there is so much that we can do to help protect our little ones from toxic exposure.  One big source of exposure is through the skin. The skin is our largest organ and what we put on our skin, gets absorbed into the body, to circulate through our blood, without having to go through the liver to get broken down.

It is so important to keep our babies away from toxins because:

#1) Babies’ nervous systems are not yet fully developed and a lot of these toxins are known to be harmful to the nervous system (neurotoxins).

#2) The detoxifying enzymes in a baby’s liver do not work as efficiently as they do in adults.

#3) Babies have a higher percentage of fat than most adults. Most of these toxins are “lipophilic”; they dissolve and can get stored in fat. The toxins are released as the baby grows and can then disrupt the hormones.

To help improve your baby’s health, avoid these ingredients as much as possible:

1) Parabens: look for anything ending in “aben”. Commonly listed as propylparaben.

2) Phthalates: ends in “phthalate”. Used to  soften the products.

3) Fragrance: In North America manufacturers do not have to disclose what is in their “fragrance” as it isconsidered proprietary information. They almost always contain parabens.

4) Diazolindinyl Urea and Quaternium-15: Can also be found in baby wipes and can release formaldehyde.

5) Triethanolamine: serves as a pH balancer. It is a known respiratory toxin and strong allergen.

6) Polysorbate-20 and 80: Is an emulsifier and is often contaminated with 1,4 dioxane.

7) Sodium Laureth Sulfate: what makes shampoo sudsy, Highly irritating to baby’s skin and eyes.

8) Petroleum Products: known as mineral oil and petroleum jelly. Commonly contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are known carcinogens.

9) Propylene Glycol: Highly irritating to baby’s skin and eyes.

10) Diethanolamine (DEA): serves as a pH balancer and is a possible human carcinogen.

Legislation of the skin care industry is fairly loose in North America compared to other developed nations. Ingredients are allowed in products based on them being below an “acceptable level”. This fails to take intoaccount that a baby could be getting the “acceptable” dose from 3 or 4 different  products, making it no longer safe. Protect yourself and your family by total avoidance.

The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic database ( is a good resource to check out the safety of an ingredient that you are unsure about. Make sure you use brands that are toxin free.

Enjoy your little ones!!

Ilana Block is a Naturopathic Doctor and co-owner of the Westmount Harmony Health Centre ( She has been enjoying her practice in Montreal for over 13 years now and has special interests in women’s health and digestive disorders.

She also co-owns Mama Comfort, offering soothing, healing pads to apply to the perineal area immediately after labor. (