WASHINGTON A hidden cancer-causing petrochemical has been found in dozens of childrens bath products and adults personal care products, at higher than acceptable levels.
Laboratory tests released today revealed the presence of 1,4-Dioxane in products such as Hello Kitty Bubble Bath, Huggies Baby Wash, Johnsons Baby Wash, Scooby-Doo Bubble Bath and Sesame Street Bubble Bath. The tests also found the carcinogen in Clairol Herbal Essences shampoo, Olay Complete Body Wash and many other personal care products.
1,4-Dioxane is a petroleum-derived contaminant considered a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a clear-cut animal carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program. It is also on Californias Proposition 65 list of chemicals known or suspected by the state to cause cancer or birth defects. Because it is a contaminant produced during manufacturing, the FDA does not require it to be listed as an ingredient on product labels.
The problem of 1,4-Dioxane contamination in personal care products is highlighted in a new book, Safe Trip to Eden: Ten Steps to Save the Planet Earth from the Global Warming Meltdown, by David Steinman. The laboratory results were released jointly today at the National Press Club by Steinman and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of U.S.-based health and environmental groups working to protect cosmetics consumers from toxic chemicals and hold companies accountable for the safety of their products.
Regrettably, 1,4-Dioxane contamination is just the tip of the iceberg, said Jeanne Rizzo, R.N., executive director of the Breast Cancer Fund, a founding member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Because the FDA does not require cosmetics products to be approved as safe before they are sold, companies can put unlimited amounts of toxic chemicals in cosmetics.
Steinman said parents should be outraged that companies are willing to spend a significant amount of money on entertainment licensing agreements that entice children but wont spend pennies to remove contaminants such as 1,4-Dioxane.
Consumers who have young children, as I do, have the right to expect the highest purity in childrens products, Steinman said. I call on American consumers to say no to dangerous petrochemicals in their childrens cosmetic and personal care products.
Contrary to what many consumers may believe, the FDA does not review or regulate cosmetics products or ingredients for safety before they are sold to the public and has no legal authority to require safety assessments of cosmetics.
Devra Lee Davis, professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, said that the usual regulatory approach of assessing risk one chemical at a time does not account for the combined effects of very low levels of hidden contaminants in personal care products and from other sources. We must lower exposures to controllable agents that we know or suspect cause cancer, she said.
The FDA has been measuring 1,4-Dioxane levels since 1979, but because the agency has little authority or enforcement capacity over the cosmetics industry, it has worked with manufacturers to reduce levels on a voluntary basis only.
More than two dozen products were tested at Steinmans request by West Coast Analytical Service, an independent testing laboratory specializing in trace chemical analysis. Among the products tested:
Baby & Childrens Consumer Products
|Disney Clean as Can Bee Hair & Body Wash (Water Jel Technologies)||8.8 ppm|
|Disney Pixar Cars Piston Cup Bubble Bath (MZB Personal Care)||2.2 ppm|
|Gerber Grins & Giggles Gentle & Mild Aloe Vera Baby Shampoo||8.4 ppm|
|Hello Kitty Bubble Bath (Kid Care)||12 ppm*|
|Huggies Baby Wash Shea Butter||4.0 ppm|
|Huggies Natural Care Baby Wash Extra Gentle and Tear Free||4.2 ppm|
|Johnsons Head-to-Toe Baby Wash (Johnson & Johnson)||5.3 ppm to 6.1 ppm|
|Johnsons Kids Tigger Bath Bubbles (Johnson & Johnson)||5.6 ppm to 7.9 ppm|
|Johnsons Kids Shampoo Watermelon Explosion (Johnson & Johnson)||10 ppm*|
|Lil Bratz Mild Bubble Bath (Kid Care)||3.7 ppm|
|LOreal Kids Orange Mango Smoothie Shampoo||2.0 ppm|
|Mr. Bubble Bubble Bath Gentle Formula with Aloe||1.5 ppm|
|Rite-Aid Tearless Baby Shampoo||4.3 ppm|
|Scooby-Doo Mild Bubble Bath (Kid Care)||3.0 ppm|
|Sesame Street Wet Wild Watermelon Bubble Bath (The Village Company)||7.4 ppm|
|Adult Consumer Products|
|Clairol Herbal Essences Rainforest Flowers Shampoo||23 ppm*|
|Olay Complete Body Wash with Vitamins (normal skin)||23 ppm*|
|Suave Naturals Passion Flower||2.0 ppm|
|*Product was at or above FDA maximum|
Steinmans book explains what Americans can do today to be green patriots and curb the nations dependency on foreign oil. The new laboratory results reveal the health risks posed by the same petrochemicals that are part of what he calls the nations growing oil addiction.
Women and girls use an average of 12 personal care products daily, according to a 2004 survey conducted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The Environmental Working Group's interactive product safety guide, Skin Deep, allows consumers to find products free of common carcinogenic impurities like 1,4-Dioxane.
Source: Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
We publish four FREE monthly email newsletters: Click Here to Subscribe to One or More Newsletters