According to a report released Thursday by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, many children's bath products contain chemicals that may cause cancer and skin allergies. The report says that 23 of 28 products tested contained formaldehyde, which is considered a probable carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, they reports that 32 of 48 products contained 1,4-dioxane, also considered a probable human carcinogen by the EPA. Nearly two-thirds of products tested, including famous baby shampoos, contained both chemicals, according to the campaign.
The scariest part is that none of the baby bath products tested in the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics' report have formldehyde and 1,4-dioxane listed on their labels because these chemicals are formed during manufacturuing, and are not added.
In an article by Liz Szabo, USA TODAY, Sheela Sathyanarayana, an environmental health pediatrician at Seattle Children's Hospital, says she's seen children become "extremely sensitized" from formaldehyde exposures, and can make the skin sensitive to a variety of substances, beyond just formaldehyde. Her research has also shown that many baby products also contain phthalates, which can reportedly interfere with the hormone system.
Here are some things you can do from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics:
- Simplify: Select products with fewer ingredients and no synthetic fragrance or dyes, and use fewer products overall.
- Choose safety: Search EWG's cosmetic safety database, Skin Deep, to learn more about the products you use and find safer alternatives. Also check out EWG's Safety Guide to Children’s Personal Care Products.
- Read labels: Select products for baby and yourself that don't contain the ingredients listed, which are commonly contaminated with formaldehyde or 1,4-dioxane.
- Take action! Tell Congress you want safe cosmetics for babies, adults and everyone in between.
- Join the open conference call about this report on Tuesday, March 17 at 1 p.m. ET.