When my child was a baby, and even long after that, anything with the words “anti-bacterial” works like a magnet. Shower gel, wet wipes, dish-washing liquid, washing powder…these stuffs had 99% more chances of making its way to my shopping cart.
That’s until the news that an ingredient found in many antibacterial soaps, triclosan, is linked to cancer, hormone disruption, liver damage, and other health problems. Health problems aside, studies have also shown that washing with normal soap and water is just as effective as using antibacterial products for cleaning.
But is it practical to avoid all anti bacterial products? For babies and smaller children, or when our immune system is weakened, or when some one in the family is sick making sure the environment is bacterial free does help prevent the bug from being pass around. Moreover many cleaning products from hand soap to dish washing detergent come with their own list of harmful chemicals as well.
So, what’s a mum to do?
Read the Ingredient list:
Make sure that the product does not have harmful chemicals. Some commonly chemicals used anti bacterial and cleaning products that may be harmful to us include :
Triclosan & Triclocarban: They are endocrine disruptors which can alter hormonal activity in rats and in human cells In animal studies they are linked to a variety of problems, including cancer, reproductive failure and developmental anomalies.
Benzalkonium Chloride (BAC ) : BAC and related chemicals is associated with significant health risks. These include asthma, chronic dermatitis and other immune system disorders.
Cocamide DEA (or cocamide diethanolamine): This chemical is often marketed as being from natural sources as is made by reacting the mixture of fatty acids from coconut oils with diethanolamine. It is common foaming or thickening agent used in cleansing products. You can probably find this is shampoo and body wash,some are even being marketed for babies and kids.
Go for products that are organic or have been tested
Some manufacturers does take extra care with their products and here are some we like:
Tollyjoy Antibacterial Baby Accessories & Vegetable Cleanser
Carefully formulated with vegetable origins and a new antibacterial ingredient that helps to kill household germs, it is mild yet effective in removing milk fats and deposits from baby bottles, baby feeding teats, toys and other baby accessories.
This baby accessories and vegetable cleanser is tested and approved to be non-toxic. It has gone through Microbiological Test for the presence of heavy metals, and presence of bacterial /mold/yeast and Acute Oral Toxicity Test so that even in the unlikely event of accidental consumption of the product, that it will not be toxic.
The added bonus is that it smells great and have a great price point at $10.90 at Redmart for a 900ml bottle.
Human Nature Kids Natural Shampoo and Body Wash
Dermatologically-tested natural shampoo & body Wash! It has a unique Protein Care System with Philippine coco nectar which is rich in amino acids and vitamins to nourish and moisturize both your kid’s hair and skin! No SLS/SLES, no PEG’s, no synthetic fragrances and other harmful chemicals. It’s also infused with avocado oil and aloe vera to surely get your kid refreshingly clean without any of the dryness and nasty effects of synthetic harmful chemicals.
$16.90 from Redmart for 500ml.
Instead of using germicides and aggressive antibiotic agents such as triclosan, California Baby Moisturising Hand-wash uses essential oils with antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
$23.21 USD from Amazon
Use Natural Alternatives
Some natural alternatives can be useful for cleaning and disinfecting.
Vinegar may not smell too pleasant for some but it disinfects without the danger of using harmful chemicals and cost just a fraction of those products. Just mix it with water before using it to clean any surfaces.
Essential oils such as lavender, rosemary and peppermint have strong antibacterial properties and can be use to apply on the skin or dilute in water for cleaning purposes.
Lemon juice is another natural item that can be use to diluted with water to disinfect.