Cancer-Causing Chemicals Now Found in Baby Shampoo ...

baby shampooMore than half of the baby shampoo, lotion and other infant care products analyzed by a health advocacy group, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, were found to contain trace amounts of chemicals that are believed to cause cancer. Some of the biggest names on the market, such as Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo and Baby Magic lotion, tested positive for 1,4-dioxane or formaldehyde, or both.

The chemicals, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has characterized as probable carcinogens, are not intentionally added to the products, and are not listed among ingredients on labels. Instead, they are likely byproducts of the manufacturing process. Formaldehyde is created when other chemicals in the product break down over time, and 1,4-dioxane is formed when foaming agents are combined with ethylene oxide or similar petrochemicals.

The organization tested 48 baby bath products such as bubble bath and shampoo. Of those, 32 contained at least one of the chemicals, and 17 tested positive for both chemicals.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Baby products like shampoo and lotion are often advertised as being “pure” and “gentle,” and many parents assume they can trust these claims. But as it turns out so often in the realm of personal care products, there could be virtually anything in that bottle.

This latest study from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found that 32 out of 48 baby bath products they tested -- including some from brand names like Johnson & Johnson -- contained formaldehyde or 1,4-dioxane, both of which are probable carcinogens.

And 17 of the baby bath products contained BOTH of the chemicals -- including the top-selling Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and Sesame Street Bubble Bath

You wouldn’t be able to tell there were cancer-causing chemicals in your baby’s shampoo or lotion just from reading the label, though, as these chemicals are not listed. Rather, they are created during the manufacturing process and shrugged off as being in too minute of quantities to be concerned with.

But other countries do not agree.

Japan and Sweden have banned formaldehyde from personal care products, and the European Union has banned 1,4-dioxane. They’ve even recalled products that were found to contain it. In the United States, meanwhile, there are no regulatory standards limiting formaldehyde, 1,4-dioxane or, for that matter, virtually any other toxic chemical in personal care products -- not even those for your children.

Just How Many Chemicals Are Children Exposed To?

In an average day, children are exposed to 61 chemicals in personal care products, 27 of which have not been found safe for kids, according to a national survey by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). In fact, EWG points out that 77 percent of the ingredients in 1,700 children’s products have never been assessed for safety.

This means that the simple acts of shampooing your baby’s hair, giving him a bath and putting on some lotion, several times a week or more, is exposing him to chemicals that could very well harm his health. Even though they are likely small exposures at each bath time, over time these exposures add up and may contribute to disease.

EWG’s study highlights just what types of toxic ingredients you may be slathering on your child. They report:

• In an average week, three-quarters of all children are exposed to allergens, neurotoxins, and hormone-disrupting chemicals in their body care products, in addition to the dozens of chemicals not assessed for safety at all.

• Many children's products contain harsh, industrial chemicals at odds with marketing claims on product labels. Products marked as gentle, mild, natural, or unscented routinely contain fragrance, synthetic and hazardous ingredients, and chemicals that can cause allergic reactions or irritate your child’s eyes and skin.
And if you can believe it, at least 41 percent of all products made for children actually warn parents to "keep out of reach of children"!

It’s bad enough that personal care products intended for adults contain toxic ingredients, but children are especially vulnerable. Their skin can be up to 30 percent thinner than an adult’s, meaning they’re able to absorb more chemicals into their bodies. And the blood-brain barrier, which helps keep dangerous chemicals from getting into your brain, is not yet developed until a baby is 6 months old, meaning products used before this time should be as pure and safe as possible.

Who is Responsible for the Safety of Your Baby’s Bath Products?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would be responsible for the safety of personal care products in the United States, if any safety regulations existed. As it stands, the FDA does not have the authority to require safety tests for personal care products.

Instead, a panel called the Cosmetic Ingredient Review goes over the safety of cosmetic ingredients. Not only is this panel funded by the cosmetic industry, but it has yet to review a major portion of cosmetic ingredients that are already on the market.

So there is absolutely NO government agency looking out for the safety of personal care products for infants and adults. It is actually perfectly legal and very common for companies to use ingredients that are known or suspected to be carcinogens, mutagens or reproductive toxins.

Which Ingredients Should You Watch Out For?

If you want to avoid the formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane that were detected in many baby products, you need to know what to look for since they’re not listed on the label, at least not in those words.

Common ingredients likely to contaminate products with formaldehyde include:

• Quaternium-15
• DMDM hydantoin
• Imidazolidinyl urea
• Diazolidinyl urea
To avoid 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct that could easily be removed if manufacturers chose to do so, watch out for these ingredients:

• PEG-100 stearate
• Sodium laureth sulfate
• Polyethylene
• Ceteareth-20
Of course, this is only a short list of the potentially dangerous chemicals out there. To be truly safe when it comes to personal care products, you need to seek out personal care products that are so pure you could actually eat them. Coconut oil is a great example here, as it makes a great moisturizer that you can also eat. Olive oil is another one that you can use to deep condition your hair.

Additionally, I am proud to report that my team has researched this topic extensively and launched one of the best, most pure skin care product lines out there. It is truly effective and has absolutely no synthetic ingredients. 

No matter what brand you choose, I suggest you scrutinize the labels on your personal care products and cosmetics just as closely as you do your food. If you’re not sure what an ingredient is, type it into the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database, and you’ll get all the information you need about whether or not it’s safe.