US study finds carcinogens in kids' bath products

Mar 14, 2009

Dozens of popular children's bath products marketed in the United States contain two cancer-causing chemicals, a consumer safety watchdog group said in a report published Friday.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics commissioned an independent laboratory to test 48 top-selling children's for 1,4-dioxane and 28 of them for .

Used for embalming corpses and, in the , as glue in chipboard, formaldehyde is a by-product of a preservative added to the products to prevent bacteria growth and extend their shelf-life.

The 1,4-dioxane chemical is used as a foaming agents in some products.

Twenty-three of the 28 products tested for formaldehyde were shown to contain the chemical, and 17 of those products contained both formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane.

Among those were the highly popular Johnson's , L'Oreal Kids Extra Gentle 2-in-1 shampoo and Pampers Kandoo , which contained enough formaldehyde to trigger a in highly sensitive people, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics said in its report.

According to the US National Institute, studies of workers exposed to formaldehyde have linked the chemical to cancers of the nasal sinuses, nasopharynx, brain and possibly leukemia.

Thirty-two of the 48 products tested, or 67 percent, contained 1,4-dioxane.

The US has said that even trace amounts of 1,4-dioxane give "cause for concern," while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Health and Human Services have both identified dioxane as causing cancer in animals and as a "probable human carcinogen."

"If chemicals are causing cancer in animals, we really shouldn't be putting them on babies' heads," said Stacy Malkan of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

The Personal Care Products Council dismissed the study's finding as "patently false" and accused the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics of "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 US trade association for the cosmetic and personal care products industry said.

"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," the organization said.

Malkan said the study gave cause for concern because "children are more vulnerable to the toxic effects of chemicals."

The two chemicals are "completely unregulated" in the United States, while 1,4-dioxane is banned in Europe and formaldehyde is restricted, she said.

"I don't think parents need to be alarmed but I feel outraged because there's no need for these products to contain carcinogens," she added.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: The hunt for botanicals

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Chemical exposure may increase risk of ALS

Apr 16, 2008

Preliminary results show that a common environmental chemical may increase the risk of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, according to research that will be presented at ...

Videos offer tips on reducing breast-cancer risk

Jun 05, 2008

Using certain plastics and cosmetics may increase the risk of breast cancer, according to emerging scientific research cited by Cornell investigators. Drinking from hard-plastic water bottles and using such personal-care ...

Recommended for you

The hunt for botanicals

1 hour ago

Herbal medicine can be a double-edged sword and should be more rigorously investigated for both its beneficial and harmful effects, say researchers writing in a special supplement of Science.

Infertility, surrogacy in India

2 hours ago

Infertility is a growing problem worldwide. A World Health Organization report estimates that 60-to-80 million couples worldwide currently suffer from infertility.

Tooth loss linked to slowing mind and body

15 hours ago

The memory and walking speeds of adults who have lost all of their teeth decline more rapidly than in those who still have some of their own teeth, finds new UCL research.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

joex
2.5 / 5 (2) Mar 14, 2009
"Twenty-three of the 28 products tested for formaldehyde were shown to contain the chemical, and 17 of those products contained both formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane."

Something's wrong. 33% of 28 is 9. How can you have 17 out of 48 having both chemicals, when only 9 of them ever contained the 1st chemical? Something is totally missing. Should it be 17% contained both? But then 17% of the 28, so 4 or 5 products?

deatopmg
1 / 5 (1) Mar 14, 2009
"The dose makes the poison" - Paracelsus

These chemicals have indeed been found to cause cancer in lab animals when the animals have been exposed to massive concentrations for a significant portion of their lifetime. The minuscule concentrations and exposure times here are insignificant. The formaldehyde is likely present as a preservative to limit the growth of possibly even more dangerous micro-organisms and the trace 1,4-dioxane is a by-product of making the ethylene oxide condensate surfactants and present in part per billion (several drops in a large swimming pool). These EO products are environmentally un-friendly and should not be used, period.

Ms. Malkin however, is hysterically over reacting to the facts.
Paradox
not rated yet Mar 15, 2009
"Twenty-three of the 28 products tested for formaldehyde were shown to contain the chemical, and 17 of those products contained both formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane."



Something's wrong. 33% of 28 is 9. How can you have 17 out of 48 having both chemicals, when only 9 of them ever contained the 1st chemical? Something is totally missing. Should it be 17% contained both? But then 17% of the 28, so 4 or 5 products?





What? it is not 17 out of 48, it is 17 out of 28.



32 of the 48 products tested, (67%)contained 1,4-dioxane.



23 of the 28 products tested for formaldehyde had it, 17 of THOSE had both formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane.



Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.