Group finds carcinogens in kids bath products
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Avoiding controversial chemicals at the supermarket could be a daunting task, the report says. None of the baby bath products tested in the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics' new report list formldehyde and 1,4-dioxane on their labels, since they're formed as manufacturuing byproducts and aren't added intentionally.
The group says consumers can look out for ingredients that are likely to contain either of the chemicals, though, including: peg-100 stearate, sodium laureth sulfate, polyethylene and ceteareth-20, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea and sodium hydroxymethoylglycinate.
— Liz Szabo, USA TOday
By Liz Szabo, USA TODAY
Many children's bath products contain chemicals that may cause cancer and skin allergies, according to a report released Thursday by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
Twenty-three of 28 products tested contained formaldehyde, the report says. Formaldehyde — considered a probable carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency, — is released as preservatives break down over time in a container.
PRODUCTS TESTED: Full list
Thirty-two of 48 products contained 1,4-dioxane, also considered a probable human carcinogen by the EPA, is a byproduct of a chemical processing techniques used to make petroleum-based ingredients gentler to the skin. Nearly two-thirds of products tested, including Johnson's Baby Shampoo, contained both chemicals, according to the campaign, a coalition of environmental and health groups that includes the Breast Cancer Fund and the Environmental Working Group.
Formaldehyde can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive people, the report says, and Japan and Sweden have banned formaldehyde from personal care products.
Analytical Sciences, an independent laboratory in Petaluma, Calif., performed the tests.
A spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson, Iris Grossman, says the company's products are safe, meeting or exceeding all regulations. And a spokesman for the Personal Care Products Council says the study's results are old news.
Manufacturers have known for years that bubble bath, shampoo and other products contain small amounts of formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, and have already reduced theses levels significantly, says John Bailey, the council's chief scientist.
Bailey says that preservatives make products safer by preventing the growth of bacteria, fungus and other potentially harmful microbes. There's no reason to take "extraordinary measures" to further reduce levels of these chemicals, he says, because there's no evidence to prove that low levels pose a risk.
"Cosmetic and personal care product companies take their commitment to safety and their responsibilities under the law very seriously and work hard to earn and keep the trust of consumers and their families," Bailey said in a statement. "Parents should be given complete and accurate information about their products based on sound science rather than on incomplete and alarmist reports."
Other scientists say the report raises important safety concerns.
Sheela Sathyanarayana, an environmental health pediatrician at Seattle Children's Hospital and an assistant professor at the University of Washington, says she's seen kids become "extremely sensitized" from formaldehyde exposures. These children develop bigger and bigger reactions with each new exposure. That can make skin sensitive to a variety of substances, beyond just formaldehyde, she says.
Although Sathyanarayana was not involved in the new report, her research has shown that many other baby products contain chemicals called phthalates, which can interfere with the hormone system.
She notes that formaldehyde also irritates the nasal and respiratory passages.
A report released last week by the Organic Consumers Association found that makers of many personal products and household cleaners have significantly reduced levels of 1,4-dioxane in the past year. The study found that products bearing the U.S. Department of Agriculture Organic seal, such as items by Dr. Bronner's, Intelligent Nutrients and Terressentials, were free of 1,4-dioxane.
Whole Foods is reformulating its 365 Everyday Value products to be free of 1,4-dioxane by this summer, spokeswoman Libba Letton says.
Brands that have sharply reduced levels of 1,4-dioxane since March 2008, when the association released its last report, include: Earth Friendly Products, Ecco Bella, Giovanni, Jason, Johnson & Johnson, Kiss My Face, Life Tree, Method, Nature's Gate, Planet Ultra and Seventh Generation, which contributed $10,000 to fund the Organic Consumers Association study.
A new study from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found that many baby bath products contain formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, which are both linked to cancer and skin allergies. The campaign notes that products with formaldehyde levels over 500 parts per million require warning labels in Europe, although not in the USA.
While all of the following products were tested for 1,4-dioxane, only 28 were tested for formaldehyde.
Product Name and Company 1,4-dioxane (in parts per million) Formaldehyde (in parts per million)
American Girl Hopes and Dreams Shimmer Body Lotion (Bath & Body Works) ND* 310
Baby Magic "Soft Baby Scent" Baby Lotion (Ascendia Brands, Inc) ND* 570
Baby Magic "Soft Baby Scent" Baby Lotion (Ascendia Brands, Inc) 0.92 610
Baby Magic "Soft Baby Scent" Baby Lotion (Ascendia Brands, Inc) ND* 330
Johnson's Bedtime Lotion Natural Calm Essences (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies) ND* Not tested for this chemical
Mustela Baby Body Lotion (Laboratories Expanscience) ND* Not tested for this chemical
Tinker Bell Body Lotion (Goldie LLC) ND* 220
CVS Baby Shampoo (CVS/Pharmacy) 0.92 350
Johnson's Baby Shampoo (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies) ND* 200
Johnson's Baby Shampoo (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies) 1.1 210
L'Oreal Kids Extra Gentle 2-in-1 Fast Dry Shampoo — Burst of Cool Melon (L'Oreal USA) 0.95 260
Suave Kids 2-in-1 Shampoo — Wild Watermelon (Unilever) 0.69 ND*
Liquid Shower Soaps
American Girl Hopes and Dreams Glistening Shower and Bath Wash (Bath & Body Works) 14 Not tested for this chemical
American Girl Real Beauty Inside and Out Shower Gel — Apple Blossom (Bath & Body Works) 6.3 210
American Girl Real Beauty Inside and Out Shower Gel — Apple Blossom (Bath & Body Works) 5.7 220
American Girl Real Beauty Inside and Out Shower Gel — Apple Blossom (Bath & Body Works) 18 150
American Girl Real Beauty Inside and Out Shower Gel — Sunny Orange (Bath & Body Works) 35 ND*
Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies) 1.4 Not tested for this chemical
Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies) 1.7 Not tested for this chemical
Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies) 4.6 Not tested for this chemical
CVS Kids Body Wash — Blueberry Blast (CVS/Pharmacy) 0.75 54
Equate Tearless Baby Wash (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.) 0.63 290
Gentle Naturals Eczema Baby Wash (Del Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) 6.4 Not tested for this chemical
Grins & Giggles Milk & Honey Baby Wash (Gerber Products Company) 2.8 400
Huggies Naturally Refreshing Cucumber & Green Tea Baby Wash (Kimberly-Clark) 3.2 410
Johnson's Moisture Care Baby Wash (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies) 3.9 Not tested for this chemical
Johnson's Oatmeal Baby Wash — Vanilla (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies) 4.2 Not tested for this chemical
Mustela Baby Shampoo (Laboratories Expanscience) 2.8 Not tested for this chemical
Mustela Dermo-Cleansing Gel for Hair and Body Newborn/Baby (Laboratories Expanscience) 3.9 Not tested for this chemical
Night-time Bath Baby Wash (Target Corporation) 3.6 Not tested for this chemical
Barbie Berry Sweet Bubble Bath (Water-Jel Technologies) 0.65 440
Dora the Explorer Bubble Bath (MZB Personal Care) 1.5 130
Hot Wheels Berry Blast Bubble Bath (Water-Jel Technologies) 2.8 100
Mustela Multi-Sensory Bubble Bath (Laboratories Expanscience) 1.7 ND*
Sesame Street Bubble Bath — Orange Mango Tango (The Village Company) 2.8 340
Tinker Bell Scented Bubble Bath (Goldie LLC) 11 420
Huggies Naturally Refreshing Cucumber & Green Tea Baby Wipes (Kimberly-Clark) ND* Not tested for this chemical
Huggies Soft Skin — Shea Butter (Kimberly-Clark Global Sales Inc) ND* 100
Kirkland Signature Premium Unscented Baby Wipes (Costco Wholesale Corporation) ND* Not tested for this chemical
Pampers Baby Fresh (Procter & Gamble) ND* Not tested for this chemical
Pampers Calming — Lavender (Procter & Gamble) ND* Not tested for this chemical
Dark & Lovely Kids Beautiful Beginnings No-Mistake Nourishing No-Lye Creme Relaxer, Normal to Course Hair (SoftSheen-Carson, owned by L'Oreal USA) ND* Not tested for this chemical
Dark & Lovely Kids Beautiful Beginnings No-Mistake Nourishing No-Lye Children's Relaxer System, Fine Hair Types (SoftSheen-Carson, owned by L'Oreal USA) ND* ND*
Soft & Beautiful Just for Me! No-Lye Conditioning Creme Relaxer, Children's Super (Alberto-Culver Company) 0.27 ND*
Pampers Kandoo Foaming Handsoap — Magic Melon (Procter & Gamble) 0.49 310
Banana Boat Kids UVA & UVB Sunblock Lotion SPF 30 (Sun Pharmaceuticals Corp.) ND* Not tested for this chemical
No-Ad Sun Pals SPF 45 UVA/UVB Sun Protection (Solar Cosmetics Labs Inc.) 0.46 Not tested for this chemical
Colgate Kids 2-in-1 Toothpaste and Mouthwash — Strawberry (Colgate-Palmolive Company) ND* Not tested for this chemical http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-03-12-formaldehyde_N.htm