Image: PANGAIAN WILDS by Daniel Mirante. Thanks Daniel!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Contaminated Baby Care Products

A Toxic Tub for Baby - And a Call to Action for Congress

Take Action!
Ask Congress to
Clean Up Cosmetics

Babies across America are sitting in bubbles tainted with cancer-causing chemicals and other toxins linked to serious health effects, according to a report released today by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Many of the contaminated products are advertised as "gentle," "pure" or "naturally refreshing."

Read the new report, "No More Toxic Tub," for all the details, but this is the quick and dirty version:

The Campaign sent unopened bubble bath, baby lotion and other products intended for babies and children, purchased in cities across the U.S., to an independent lab to be tested for 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde. Both chemicals are contaminants that do not appear on product labels, and both are carcinogenic; formaldehyde can also trigger rashes in those with sensitive skin.

The lab tested 48 kids' products for 1,4-dioxane and found it in 67 percent of the products. Of the 28 products tested for formaldehyde, 82 percent were positive. Seventeen products were contaminated with both 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde.

Huggies Naturally Refreshing Cucumber & Green Tea baby wash, Sesame Street Bubble Bath, American Girl Real Beauty Inside and Out Shower Gel, and even the iconic Johnson's Baby Shampoo were among the products that contained both of these toxic contaminants.

We know that cosmetics can be made without hazardous ingredients and contaminants. So what's going on? How is it legal for companies to sell baby and kids' skincare products that contain toxic chemicals used in embalming fluid, fumigants and automotive coolant? Worse yet, these chemicals aren't even on the label, so even the most ingredient-conscious parents wouldn't know whether the product is safe.

Take action right now: Ask your legislators to clean up cosmetics.

Some industry representatives say that a little bit of formaldehyde or 1,4-dioxane isn't going to harm anyone. But these bath products are regularly used on children in combination with numerous other products. Because our air, water and food can contain harmful chemicals, too, our total daily exposure to toxic chemicals can be significant and can add up to harm.

According to the National Academy of Sciences, several factors contribute to children's special vulnerability to the harmful effects of chemicals:

• A child's chemical exposures are greater pound-for-pound than those of an adult.
• Children are less able than adults to detoxify and excrete chemicals.
• Children's developing organ systems are more vulnerable to damage from chemical exposures.
• Children have more years of future life in which to develop disease triggered by early exposure.

The widespread presence of contaminants and other harmful ingredients in children's bath products is just one symptom of a self-regulated cosmetics industry badly in need of reform. We deserve better!

What Can You Do?

Ask your legislators to give the FDA the authority it needs to ensure that all cosmetics, from baby shampoo to lipstick to body lotion, are truly safe.

Spread the word to friends and family.

Download the report, check the list of products we tested and find safer alternatives at

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