In the news again were some chilling findings that a slew of everyday bath products made for kids had dangerous levels of carcinogens. Like any Mother, my reaction is deep resentment and anger for these big companies that let things like this happen for years, and how lethal ingredients like formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane is found in every day items we put on our bodies. Both substances are known to cause cancer, so when you think about it, it somewhat explains why so many people in the world today have the terrible disease.
What I find especially disturbing is that in the list are brands that most families like mine have trusted for years, believing they were safe for our children. Products like Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, which my husband still loves! The group who uncovered the dirty facts were non-profit Campaign For Safe Cosmetics, and here’s some of what they said:
” Despite marketing claims like “gentle” and “pure,” dozens of top-selling children’s bath products are contaminated with the cancer-causing chemicals formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, according to the March 2009 Campaign for Safe Cosmetics report, “No More Toxic Tub.”
This study is the first to document the widespread presence of both formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane in bath products for children, including baby shampoos, bubble baths and baby lotions. Many products tested contained both chemicals.
The chemicals were not disclosed on product labels because they’re contaminants, not ingredients, and therefore are exempt from labeling laws.
Formaldehyde contaminates personal care products when common preservatives release formaldehyde over time in the container. Common ingredients likely to contaminate products with formaldehyde include quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea.
1,4-dioxane is a byproduct of a chemical processing technique called ethoxylation, in which cosmetic ingredients are processed with ethylene oxide. Manufacturers can easily remove the toxic byproduct, but are not required by law to do so. Common ingredients likely to be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane include PEG-100 stearate, sodium laureth sulfate, polyethylene and ceteareth-20.
The key bit there I think is: “Manufacturers can easily remove the toxic byproduct, but are not required by law to do so.” So when the group conducted the study, they found that there were still large amounts of the toxins which meant that the companies didn’t bother to remove the poisonous byproducts. WHY?
Around the world, several countries have already taken measures to ensure that their baby products are safe, like in China, where they are being removed from supermarket shelves and undergoing more testing. Japan and Sweden have already banned formaldehyde from personal care products.
Aside from 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde, watch out for these baddies too:
peg-100 stearate, sodium laureth sulfate, polyethylene and ceteareth-20, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea and sodium hydroxymethoylglycinate.
For the full list of tested products as well as more information, check out the article here.