You Want My Baby to Swallow What?

Health & Wellness on 03.09.11
Guest Contributor bio

Photo: Ran Yaniv Hartstein/Creative Commons

The Barnacle hasn’t brushed her teeth in five days. Wait, let me rephrase that. The Barnacle hasn’t brushed her teeth with toothpaste in five days. That’s because we ran out of the natural kind, and so did our local supermarket. The convenient little shelf that featured all my favorite eco-friendly brands is gone, and none of them are integrated anywhere else.

Sure, I can make a special trip to Whole Foods. But for toothpaste? I might as well just grin and bear it—pun intended—and buy a tube of the conventional kind. Right?

Wrong. At the store, the two labels that I looked at—from major “safe” children’s manufacturers—contained propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate and FD&C Blue 1, a carcinogen derived from coal tar. No, not the clean kind. (As if there is one.)

These chemical ingredients are scary on their own. But when you take into account the fact that the Barnacle is four, and therefore considers toothpaste a condiment, they get even scarier.

The propylene glycol is what scares me the most. According to the Cosmetics Safety Database, powered by the Environmental Working Group, propylene glycol presents a risk for cancer, developmental, reproductive and organ toxicity. And it “has been associated with irritant and allergic contact dermatitis as well as contact urticaria in humans; these sensitization effects can be manifested at propylene glycol concentrations as low as 2%.”

You want my baby to swallow what?!? Pack up the reusable bags: I guess I’m going shopping.