Pesticides in Cracked Nipple Creams for Nursing Moms?
So, I'm working on formulated a cracked nipple cream for nursing moms. My kids are older now, but I remember having a tube of Lansinoh on the bathroom counter when I was nursing them. Luckily, I never really had to use it much. I didn't work outside the home when they were nursing, so they got milk straight from the tap. And I started going to La Leche meetings before my oldest was born, so I had lots of support and good information. Of course, I'm not saying those things completely prevent any breastfeeding problems - but they sure helped me avoid them.
Anywho, I've been hearing that there may be issues with lanolin. Google "lanolin and pesticides", and this is the first article you see: "No, Lanolin Isn't Killing You: What is Fact vs. What Sells". And the next one is: "Killing You Softly: The Dangers of Lanolin and Pesticides". So, which is it? Is lanolin killing us or isn't it?
I read an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association and a document published by the EPA, and here's what I found out.
The FDA analyzed two lots of lanolin from a single manufacturer. Pesticide contamination varied significantly between lots, and Diazinon, DDE, lindane, and isomers of hexachlorocyclohexane were found in one or both samples. Two additional lots of lanolin were analyzed by the EPA and were found to contain Chlorpyfiros, dieldrin, lindane, DDE, and dimpylate.
The U.S. does not mandate testing lanolin for pesticides. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association article I read, “Although these levels are not high enough to present an immediate toxic hazard, safe quantities are difficult to define. Some of these chemicals…have the potential to accumulate in fat tissues”.
So much for the ‘dose makes the poison’ theory, I guess! The article further states, “It seems unnecessary to knowingly apply toxic chemicals directly to the skin and, in the case of breastfed infants, to directly feed toxins to a baby via the lanolin present on the sore nipple.”
Alrighty, then. So far not sounding good.
Moving on to the "No, Lanolin isn't Killing You" article. The article starts out with "It’s the oldest trick in the book for a company to get you to buy their product instead of another, or to spend more for their product, because you fear the other products. Unfortunately, it looks like this might be happening today when it comes to nursing mothers using lanolin oil for breastfeeding to soothe their sore and cracked nipples." My side note: Of course, it's also 'one of the oldest tricks in the book' to claim that a company pointing out toxins in conventional products is only doing so to get you pay more for their own product, but I'll save that discussion for another article....
They also point out that "humans have been using lanolin for more than 8,000 years". I don't think that's relevant, because I'm guessing that for many of those thousands of years, synthetic pesticides were not an issue. And then there's some "back in my day" kinda stuff:
"...back to the 80’s for a minute, before we even cared about eating organically and using natural products". The article states yes, there ARE pesticides in lanolin, but, you know, it's not that much. Only 5.9 ppm (parts per million), according to the aforementioned studies.
" If bloggers are going haywire over the 5.9 ppm, then why aren’t they doing the same regarding the 20 ppm tolerance of permethrin for spinach or lettuce ? After all, you eat spinach! At least with lanolin on your nipples, only residual amounts that can’t be wiped off would go into your baby’s mouth."
I read the following on the Mamavation blog: "Lanolin can legally contain up to 40 parts per million (ppm) of pesticides to be FDA-compliant. This is interesting to note because lanolin that is reserved for hospital use on open wounds is regulated to no more than 3 ppm of pesticides." However, I don't know if this information is reliable or where it comes from, because, like many mommy bloggers, there is no list of sources consulted.
My conclusion? When it comes to pesticide residues and newborns, I'm thinking most moms don't want to argue about parts per million - if there are pesticide residues in lanolin, and there are alternatives readily available, I'm thinking lanolin should be avoided.
Stay tuned for our lanolin-free cracked nipple cream!