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Are Scented Baby Products Safe?

Updated: Friday, August 2 2013, 10:12 PM EDT
Every mom and dad knows that smell of a clean baby. In fact, there is an entire industry built around baby care products, from lotions to shampoos and body wash. However, looking at the label may not help you avoid possibly dangerous ingredients that make those smells.

If you walk down the baby care aisle in any grocery store, you will find dozens of different products to make your baby smell sweet. Jennifer Abril, with the International Fragrance Association of North America, says certain smells give us pleasure. And when you consider that the fragrance industry is a $30 billion a year industry, it's easy to see that consumers love perfume.

David Andrews, a senior scientist with the consumer watchdog organization The Environmental Groups, says the problem when it comes to those scents is that you likely have no idea what you are actually putting on your baby's body. If you read the label, the term you will likely find is "Fragrance," which Andrews says is a catch all term.

The secret mixture is made from a possible palate of nearly 3200 "materials" or chemicals. Some of those chemicals can be organic, while other can be synthetic. 

In a study, the Environmental Working Group found an average of 14-16 chemicals in any one product.

Abril says that the reason the ingredients that make up the fragrance are not spelled out is because it will publicize the "secret recipe." "When you reveal recipe for anyone to copy, you could introduce potential health concerns from companies not committed to same standards our members are."

Abril says an independent research institute evaluates each ingredient for safety and efficacy and that the list is published on IFRA's website. Are Scented Baby Products Safe?

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