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Carcinogens Found In Several Children's Bath Products

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Friday, March 13, 2009 11:12 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Carcinogens, Phtlates, Children's Products, FDA and Prescription Drugs, Protecting Your Family

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IMAGE SOURCE: iStockPhoto / little girl in the tub / author: Texxter

The products you use to wash your children may contain harmful chemicals known to cause cancer and skin allergies. These chemicals are anything but safe and gentle and completely unregulated.

A new report released by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics reveals test results that found many children’s bath products contain formaldehyde or 1,4-dioxane – and, in many cases, both.

17 out of 28 products tested – 61 percent – contained both formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane.

23 out of 28 products – 82 percent – contained formaldehyde at levels ranging from 54 to 610 parts per million (ppm).

32 out of 48 products – 67 percent – contained 1,4-dioxane at levels ranging from 0.27 to 35 ppm.

(Quoted from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics)

As preservatives break down over time in a container, Formaldehyde - considered a carcinogen by the EPA – is released.

The chemical 1,4-dioxane, also a carcinogen, is a byproduct of a chemical processing technique used to make petroleum-based ingredients gentler to the skin. About two-thirds of the products tested, which included Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, were found to contain both chemicals.

“Johnson & Johnson products meet and/or exceed all safety regulations,” says a spokeswoman for the company.

Several manufacturers have already begun to significantly lower these chemicals in bubble bath, shampoo and other product.

Preservatives are used to make products safer by preventing the growth of fungus, bacteria and other potentially harmfully microbes, says John Bailey, chief scientist for the Personal Care Products Council. It’s unnecessary to take “extraordinary measures” to reduce levels of these chemicals, he says, because there is no evidence to prove low levels poses a health risk.

“Parents should be given complete and accurate information about their products based on sound science, not alarmist reports and incomplete information,” Bailey said.

But, some scientists disagree and say the report raises considerable safety concerns for parents.

“I have seen children become “extremely sensitized” from exposure to formaldehyde,” says Sheela Sathyanarayana, an environmental health pediatrician at Seattle Children's Hospital. She says with each new exposure kids develop bigger reactions which can make skin sensitive to several substances beyond formaldehyde.

While Sathyanarayana was not involved in the report, her research has shown that many other baby products contain phthalates (pronounced THAL- ates), a hormone disrupting chemical.

A recently released report by the Organic Consumers Association found that the makers of several personal products and household cleaners have considerably lowered levels of 1,4-dioxane last year.

Safeguarding your Family from Harmful Chemicals

Formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane chemicals are not disclosed on product labels because they're contaminants, not ingredients, and therefore are exempt from labeling laws.

Pick products that contain fewer ingredients and no synthetic dyes or fragrances.

Search EWG’s cosmetic safety database to learn more about the products you use and to find safer alternatives.

Take action - tell Congress to give the FDA the authority it needs to ensure that all cosmetics, from baby shampoo to lipstick to body lotion, are truly safe.

Lastly, spread the word to family and friends: Send an e-card to let them know about this report.

For more information, read the report “No More Toxic Tub”, released by The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The Toxic Tub testing results can be found here. #


2 Comments

Posted by Ajlouny
Tuesday, March 17, 2009 11:25 PM EST

This is horrifying to me. I spend a lot of extra money on buying the products that are supposed to be better for kids like Earth's Best. I also am only using non-toxic paint when I paint now. Obviously the kids are still getting exposed to a barage of other toxins but I am trying to cut it down by also using non-toxic cleaning supplies. Think about how gross spraying your table with Fantastic Spray is.. you are eating chemicals every time you put your fork on the table, yuck!

Anonymous User
Posted by Ann
Wednesday, March 18, 2009 12:48 PM EST

Each company says that the amount of toxins in each of thier products is so little it does not pose a health risk. But, like baby shampoo, do we not use baby soap and baby oil and baby powder and baby lotion. DA!!! It's not each It's the Sum TOTAL that we come in contact with each day.
Even we adults are exposed to a huge amount of toxins in our everyday life. Starting with the shower in the morning. Shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, lotion, toothpaste, mouthwash, facial cleanser, moisturizer, makeup, powder, eyeshadow, mascara, styling products for hair, perfume. All this just in the morning and almost all of these (more than likely) has formaldehyde in them. So it is not per product but the Sum Total that is killing us and our children. Just my something to Think About!!

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