Thursday, October 11, 2018
Doctor's Perspective
Bath 'Bombs' could endanger your health

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Chemistry lab was often entertaining. Watching two chemicals cause a visible reaction was fun. We all learned that if you mixed an acid with a base you could see a reaction. For example, citric acid, which is found in citrus fruits, is a weak acid. Sodium bicarbonate is a base. We know it better as baking soda. When the two are mixed together, they react. One of the things they form is sodium citrate. You might know it better as the material that is put into blood collection tubes to keep blood from clotting. The other thing it forms is carbon dioxide. We know carbon dioxide in a solution forms bubbles. It causes the fizz in soda. Some companies are making money off this chemical reaction. They sell them in the form of a "bath bomb." It is the carbon dioxide that makes the bath water fizz. So basically you can go out and spend money on a bath bomb, which will give you water fizzing with carbon dioxide. I'll bet that sounds like a whole lot of fun. If that was all there was to it, then it might be just a waste of money. However, manufacturers add other ingredients. Some of the ingredients are not always the safest thing to use. They use things to give it "fragrance." We sometimes forget that the things that smell good are not always as good as they smell. For example, about 95% of synthetic fragrances are made from crude oil. You have an opportunity to help support the oil exporting countries by using it. Some of the chemicals that cause the fragrance are known to interfere with the endocrine system. We don't know what amount might cause problems. What we do know is that some of these chemicals increase your risk for Type 2 diabetes. Other chemicals increase your risk for breast cancer and infertility. Most of the chemicals are inappropriate for young children who have a large skin area that can absorb things better than adults. Pregnant women should be aware of the dangers to unborn children. The specific ingredients are usually not listed on the label, which usually just says something like "fragrance oils." This can include any of about 3,000 chemicals. Some ingredients are more dangerous than others. Some can affect the kidneys, the respiratory system or the nervous system. Unfortunately, you won't know which ones you are getting. The food dyes used in bath bombs also can be absorbed into the body. We know that food dyes cause a variety of issues in humans. Again, we are not sure of what the dose is that does that. However, one can assume that the more you use something the more danger there is. A related issue is that skin disruptions such as rashes and cuts allow more of the toxic materials to enter the body through the open skin. Bathing with foreign substances increases the risk of urinary tract infections and vaginal yeast infections. The glitter used in some of the preparations does not go well with drainage pipes and can cause clogs. There is some good news. Most of theses things are relatively rare. However, skin irritation and allergic reactions to the ingredients are common. These are obvious enough to tell the individual not to use it any longer. The next time you are interested in watching a chemical reaction, you might be better off in the chemistry laboratory than you are in the bathtub.

Believe to Achieve fun walk Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery will host their 3rd annual Believe to Achieve 5k fun run/walk on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 10 a.m. at the Hooper's Landing Fitness Trail in Seaford. This event supports community wellness, is open to the public, and is appropriate for all ages and fitness levels. We walk and run in support of weight loss patients and all those working toward a healthier lifestyle! The Hooper's Landing Fitness Trail is located around the perimeter of the Hooper's Landing Golf Course at 1019 Locust Street in Seaford. Online pre-registration is open through October 25 at The cost to participate is $15, which includes an event t-shirt. Day-of registration will also be $15, but t-shirts will be limited to sizes on hand. Registration and check-in begins at 9 a.m. and the 5k walk/run will begin at 10 a.m. Strollers are allowed, but will be asked to line up in the rear. We thank the City of Seaford, Hooper's Landing Golf Course, the Seaford Community Swim Center, the Seaford School District, and Top Hat Entertainment for their support. Special thanks to the Nanticoke volunteers and employees who help make this event a success. For more information about services provided by Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery, visit or call 302-536-5395.

Twilight Breast Cancer Walk Tuesday, October 16 Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services will host a stroke support group on Tuesday, October 16 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Seaford Library & Cultural Center located at 600 N. Market Street Extended in Seaford. This support group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families, friends, and caregivers. Modeled from the American Stroke Association, this FREE support group provides education, community resources, and emotional support to those who have been affected by this life-altering event. Meetings consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions for caregivers and stroke survivors to discuss concerns, providing support and networking. Pre-registration is not required. For more information, please call Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services at 302-629-6224. To learn more about Nanticoke's stroke program, visit

Nanticoke childbirth classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital hosts childbirth classes on Thursdays from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm in the Ground Floor Conference Room. The class meets for a total of five weeks - four weeks covering childbirth education and the fifth week covering breastfeeding education. The dates are October 4, 11, 18 and 25 and November 1, 13, 20 and 27, and December 4 and 11. The cost of the childbirth course is $50, and the cost for the refresher course is $25. Mothers are encouraged to bring their partner or support person for all courses. Pre-registration is required for either class. To register or for more information, call 629-6611, extension 2540. To learn more about all of the women's health services that are provided by Nanticoke, visit