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Like many moms, I enjoy relaxing in a lovely hot tub. I’m always looking for ways to make bath time a more beautiful experience. One of the most delightful ways to enhance bath time is by using bath bombs. But, are bath bombs safe?
My commitment to a natural, toxic-free lifestyle leads me to question the safety of many products. Often, I choose to make my own versions at home or avoid the product altogether. Recently, I received the opportunity to collaborate with Sydney Ziverts of ConsumerSafety.org on the safety of bath bombs. The following is an article she’s written for you all about the safety of bath bombs. Read to the end for resources on how to make your own bath bombs at home and where to buy natural bath bombs.
Are Bath Bombs Safe?
Have you ever searched #bathbomb on Instagram? If you have like so many of us, you’ve surely seen bathtubs filled with an array of sparkling colors and fizzy swirls. How fun, right? Who doesn’t want to turn bath time into a fragrant, rainbow-filled, tub party? And with all the essential oils and skin softeners listed on these “fresh” and “safe” products, you might as well indulge every night!
Not so fast! Okay, so let’s back up. I fell in love with bath bombs about 6 months ago. The weather started to cool, my muscles were getting tight, so I started to take baths on a regular basis. I was poking around social media (as usual) and came across a photo of a blue-magenta-sparkle-swirl bath. I wanted to have that. So the next day, I picked up a few bath bombs. I was obsessed for months.
So a few weeks ago (after an entire winter of soaking in bath bombs), it dawned on me that I should probably dig into the ingredients. Some of them looked harmless, such as essential oils, but others really piqued my interest. Specifically, the ones I had a hard time pronouncing. What I found has not been pretty, and the ingredients do not consist of rainbows. Let’s take a look, shall we?
- Fragrances: Look for ingredients like “fragrance,” “fragrance oils,” “fragrance oil blend” or anything similar. These companies are being sneaky because they have been permitted to be. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) gives companies a label listing loophole for fragrances to protect a company’s proprietary perfume blend. Below are a few of the many possible chemicals that may make up a portion of “fragrance” in bath bombs. Can you believe some “fragrance” components have been listed on the EPA’s hazardous waste list? Remember, there are thousands not listed below.
- Benzene derivatives
Dangers: Human carcinogen, hormone disruption, reproductive malformation, lower immune response
Dangers: Respiratory allergies, liver disease, embryo toxicity, diabetes/hypertension, sclerosing peritonitis, cerebral ischemia/neurodegenerative diseases, and other aging-associated diseases
Dangers: Decreased hormone levels, low sperm quality, obesity, ovarian aging, can lead to cancer
- Artificial Dyes: Synthetic/artificial beautiful swirls of color are known for causing an array of ill health effects. FD&C means that the colorants have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in food, drugs, and cosmetics. D&C signifies the colors can be used in drugs and cosmetics, but not food. So, if they’re not safe enough to eat, why should we let our skin absorb these chemicals into our bodies?
Dangers: Allergy-like reactions, ADHD in children, and some have even been linked to neuron damage and brain cancer
- D&C Red 33: A dye derived from coal tar or petroleum.
Dangers: Coal tar dyes are known human carcinogens. Coal tar and petroleum contain excessive toxicological properties such as heavy metals which ultimately penetrate the skin enter the bloodstream.
- Talc: This ingredient isn’t the most popular in bath bombs, however, it’s in a few similar bath products of a well-known brand so I thought it was important to include.
Dangers: Talc isn’t something you want to be soaking in. Did you know talc is directly connected to ovarian cancer? Avoid a bath with talc at all costs.
- Glitter: Most bath bombs contain glitter or a vegetable oil based lustre.
Dangers: It’s essential to remember glitter is formed from small pieces of plastic, so once it runs down the drain, it’ll never biodegrade. So, if it doesn’t biodegrade in mother nature, why would you want it anywhere near your lady parts? Glitter or other foreign particles can cause inflammation and infections such as UTI’s and yeast infections. If you’re prone to UTI’s in general, avoid baths.
- Parabens: A lot of companies are aware that parabens are a no-no, but there are still parabens lurking around in bath products. Parabens are a preservative ingredient that prevents the product from expiring too soon.
Dangers: Known to disrupt the endocrine system and can lead to early puberty. They can trigger allergic reactions in the skin which leads to quick exposure to the body, especially if you’re soaking in the bath. Certain parabens have been associated with breast cancer.
Homemade Bath Bombs Recipes
I’m so grateful for Syndey’s research into the safety of bath bombs. If you’re feeling down about the toxicity of one of your favorite bath products, don’t be glum! You can still make your own using carefully selected ingredients and essential oils for a lovely fragrance. (Find out more about the only essential oils I recommend.)
Here are some of my favorite bath bomb recipes from other natural living bloggers.
Where to Buy Natural Bath Bombs
No time or desire to make homemade bath bombs? Check out these lovely natural bath bombs from Etsy creators.