Don’t Throw Out That Baby Shampoo!

February 29th, 2008

Since this month’s publication in the medical journal Pediatrics of a study linking infant exposure to shampoos, powders and lotions with increased urinary concentrations of phthalates, many parents have been replacing their favorite baby brands with organic alternatives. There’s cause for concern, since phthalates have been linked to changes in male reproductive development.

But there’s a difference between replacing and throwing out. In their zeal to get rid of questionable baby products, some parents are throwing out bottles of shampoo. Talk about an eco-mistake!

Instead of throwing the packages out, why not donate them? Of course, you won’t want to donate them to children’s organizations, but there are some great options that will enable the products to be re-used by populations that won’t be at risk for reproductive damage by phthalates – and where the health benefits of a shower or bath would far outweigh any other potential risk! (And of course, you can always use them yourself. In fact, many people dismiss this study. Here’s a counterpoint.)

If you do decide to donate the products, here are some options for re-use. Consider the following:

• Check out You can post a message offering the products and cautioning people to use them only for adults.
• Many charitable organizations offer showers to the homeless, and are constantly in search of toiletries. A great example of this is the “Water Ministry” run by Saint Columba’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. But organizations like this exist nationwide. Contact your local homeless agency to see where you can donate shampoos, soaps and lotions.

For a comprehensive list of natural baby products, check out the EWG’s research here.

— Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2008

9 Responses to “Don’t Throw Out That Baby Shampoo!”

  1. MamaBird on February 29, 2008 1:02 pm

    Awesome point, Lynn! Love this post. As my 70 year old father put it, the odds of slowly leaching hormones (like BPA in plastics) or chemicals adding to a total toxicity burden (like phthalates) hurting him are pretty low. And I agree that using stuff up rather than chucking it is generally the best option.

    Yes, and that fragrance does smell good, doesn’t it? Thanks for your comment, MamaBird! :) — Lynn

  2. Kathy on February 29, 2008 6:28 pm

    Instead of tossing them, I use them on my dogs! :)

    How funny! Great idea! I bet your dogs smell sweet! I know fragrance isn’t supposed to be good for you, but you do have to admit it smells nice! :) Thanks for stopping by, Kathy! — Lynn

  3. mama k on March 2, 2008 11:26 am

    Another idea would be to use them to clean with. I try to “swish and swipe” a la each morning so a squirt of shampoo or baby wash in the toilet with a swish of the brush keeps it looking sparkling.

    Great idea! Thanks for sharing, Mama K! — Lynn

  4. Sharon on March 3, 2008 7:51 am

    A simple rule of thumb for EVERYONE is “if it doesn’t belong in your mouth, it doesn’t belong in or on your body.”

    Doc Bronner’s soap can be diluted and used for most everything. It’s such a marketing myth that we need a zillion products! Keep it simple–for yourself and for the environment. (and, yes, Doc Bronner’s can be ingested without any harm. I’ve been brushing my teeth with it for years. Most toothpastes carry a really scary warning about ingestion….)

    Wow! Brushing your teeth with it! Doc Bronner’s is a great product, but they have a warning on the bottle about getting it in your eyes…it can burn…so it’s really not ideal for tiny tots. But for adults – yes, it’s fantastic. I use it outside at the beach when showering as it’s one of the few products that is really okay to seep into the earth. — Lynn

  5. Melissa Moog on March 6, 2008 12:33 pm

    Great post Lynn. It puts my mind at ease reading your counterpoint on baby shampoos. I was starting to get paranoid about the baby products I was using before knowing anything about the phthalate and paraben buzz. Your suggestion on donating a good tip!

    I’m so glad you found it helpful, Melissa! Thanks for letting me know. — Lynn

  6. Cory on August 24, 2009 12:06 pm

    Donating is always a really good idea, I’m glad you mention that as an alternative to throwing out the old shampoo. The degree to which we are surrounded by potentially harmful chemicals continues to astound me. I guess there’s no such thing as 100% safe…but man have we gotten more than a little out of hand!

  7. Maureen on August 29, 2009 9:26 pm

    When I read about all the ill effects some products can have on our children and us today I wonder how our generation every survived. As we are exposed to more harmful chemicals it seems we are getting more sensitive to their effects instead of building up an immunity to them.

  8. Julia@BabyCare-Supplies on August 27, 2011 1:00 am

    Oh this is nice! Thanks for posting, I was thinking about giving them to pet stores for shampooing animals but I never thought about shelters! Thanks :)


  9. Chris Bentley on October 3, 2012 10:24 am

    We have been our old shampoo to a ministry in our local area for aboput 6 months now, waste not won’t not

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