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TPV Podcast, Episode 297: Is There a Connection Between Allergies & Baby Wipes?

Ep. 297: Is There a Connection Between Allergies & Baby Wipes?

In this episode, Stacy and Sarah have read an article that baby wipes are not safe! Oh no!

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The Paleo View (TPV), Episode 297: Is There a Connection Between Allergies & Baby Wipes?

  • Intro (0:00)
  • News and Views (0:40)
    • Sarah is excited about Paleo f(x) and got her presentation done early (unlike last year!).
    • Speaking of interesting science articles…
      • Stacy tipped Sarah off to a new journal article, which is the basis of today’s show!
  • Science with Sarah (6:57)
    • An exciting study was published a couple weeks ago in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.
      [you need access to PubMed to read the study, read this recap here]

      • In this study they developed a new animal model of childhood allergy development.
      • A child’s immune system is quite different than an older person’s.
        • Children have more allergies than adults, and can also grow out of them.
        • Children have immune tolerance- where the immune system has learned something is bad, but has decided not to react to it.
      • This study will help researchers to look at what is going on at a molecular level.
        • It may help to know which foods to introduce at which age.
      • An aside: this study was an animal study performed on mice.
        • Sarah was a researcher who used to perform studies on animals.
        • She wants to assure you that the utmost care is taken of these animals in regard to their welfare.
          • In the US and Canada and in higher education settings the standards are very high.
        • Animal welfare is very important to Stacy.
          • It is worthwhile when talking about science and the benefit of human health.
      • There has been a giant increase in childhood allergies in the last 20-25 years.
        • Many chronic disease rates have gone up.
        • Our lifestyles have completely changed over time, and even since just the 1950s.
          • We’re eating lower quality food, more sedentary, getting less sleep, working more, etc.
      • Incidence of childhood allergies really spiked in the 1990s.
        • Other chronic disease has been a slow rise, where allergies was a sharper increase.
        • Could it be… baby wipes?!
      • The health of her children is one of the things that brought Stacy to Paleo.
        • She was the ultimate crunchy mom! Cloth diapers and everything!
        • It’s crazy to think of all the major food and lifestyle changes they made over the 8+ years of being Paleo, and that something like baby wipes was correlated to such major health issues.
      • The study used mice with the same genetic mutations that predisposes humans to eczema.
        • Many people have these genetic variants, they are quite common.
        • Mice were exposed to an allergen on the skin, and then their skin was wiped with some of the same chemicals that are often found in baby wipes, like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.
          • These chemicals make the skin more leaky.
          • What is different with baby wipes vs. using soap is the rinsing factor.
            • Bacteria and viruses get washed away with the water.
            • The baby wipe is relying on the chemicals for the antimicrobial action.
            • And those chemicals are sitting on the skin where they can erode the integrity of the skin barrier.
        • In the study, mice developed eczema and also anaphylaxis to the allergen they were also exposed to.
        • In the last 20-25 years disposable wipes have become the standard, even among people who use cloth diapers.
        • All the peanut allergy studies and recommendations on when to introduce them have been done without the context of this other environmental factor that is influencing the immune system.
        • Recommendations that came out of this paper were things like:
          • If you’re going to use baby wipes, rinse the skin afterwards.
          • Think about allergens on your own skin as you are handling your baby.
            • For example, if you make a peanut butter sandwich for your older child, make sure you wash your hands, and the older child washes their face and hands before handling the baby.
          • Rinsing is key: think of it as you are putting soap on the skin with a cloth. You wouldn’t put a pump of hand soap on your skin and just leave it there.
        • Check the ingredients in your baby wipes and soap on the EWG website.
          • Sensitive skin wipes tend to have less chemicals in them.
          • More “natural” brands also tend to have less chemicals, but always check the label.
        • If allergies, eczema, or autoimmune disease is in your family, it is worthwhile to go the extra step and seek out wipes and products without those ingredients in them.
        • Also consider the earth and seek out something compostable or more earth-friendly.
        • If you’re using baby wipes to take your makeup off, you might want to find an alternative.
          • Stacy uses the makeup remover wipes from Beautycounter.
          • Stacy and the boys all have very sensitive skin.
        • Consider keeping a spray bottle and cloths at the diaper changing station, and once the bum is clean, rinse and wipe with cloth- you don’t have to take the baby to the bath every time.
        • Take a deep breath and let go of your mommy guilt.
          • Nobody knew, and having guilt doesn’t produce different results.
          • Work on a change going forward and share the information.
    • Sarah hopes to see you all at Paleo F(x)!
  • If you’ve enjoyed the show, please recommend it to someone who might enjoy it.
  • We love when you share and when you leave reviews for us! Thanks for listening!

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