Study Finds Carcinogens In Children’s Bath Products
A new report issued by the consumer safety group Campaign for Safe Cosmetics finds that dozens of commonly-used children’s bath products sold in the United States contain carcinogens.
The watchdog group commissioned an independent laboratory to test 48 best-selling children’s products for the presence of 1,4-dioxane.Â Additionally, 28 products were tested for the presence of formaldehyde, a by-product of a preservative added to products to prevent bacteria growth and extend shelf-life.Â Â
The 1,4-dioxane chemical is used as a foaming agent in some products, while formaldehyde is used for embalming corpses and as glue in chipboard.Â Both chemicals are "completely unregulated" in the U.S., the report said, while 1,4-dioxane is prohibited in Europe and the use of formaldehyde is restricted, according to Stacy Malkan of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
In total, 23 of the 28 products tested for formaldehyde were found to contain the chemical, 17 of which contained both 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde.
Among the 17 containing both cancer-causing chemicals were popular products such as L’Oreal Kids Extra Gentle 2-in-1 shampoo, Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and Pampers Kandoo foaming hand soap, which contained enough formaldehyde to spur a skin reaction in highly sensitive people, the report said.
Previous studies of workers exposed to formaldehyde have linked the chemical to cancers of the nasopharynx, nasal sinuses, brain and possibly leukemia, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
The report said that 32 or the 48 products tested contained the chemical 1,4-dioxane, to which exposure even in trace amounts gives “cause for concern,” the report said.
Indeed, both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Health and Human Services have identified 1,4-dioxane as a "probable human carcinogen”, and have said the chemical causes cancer in animals .
"If chemicals are causing cancer in animals, we really shouldn’t be putting them on babies’ heads," an AFP report quoted Stacy Malkan of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics as saying.
However, not everyone agreed with the new report.Â
The Personal Care Products Council, a U.S. trade association for the cosmetic and personal care products industry, dismissed the findings as "patently false,” saying the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics was "preying upon parental worries."
"The levels of the two chemicals the group reportedly found are considered to be ‘trace’ or extremely low, are well below established regulatory limits or safety thresholds and are not a cause for health concern," the organization told the AFP.
"When present, these chemicals would likely be found at very low levels precisely because companies have gone to great lengths in the formulation and manufacturing processes to ensure that the products are safe and gentle for children and also protected from harmful bacterial growth.”
Malkan said the report was cause for concern, since "children are more vulnerable to the toxic effects of chemicals."
"I don’t think parents need to be alarmed but I feel outraged because there’s no need for these products to contain carcinogens.”
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