March 12, 2009
more toxic bath bubbles
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics sent out a press release today announcing a study they just completed which confirmed toxins in baby shampoos and washes. This is exactly the kind of surprising news that prompted me to start my blog in the first place!
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics commissioned an independent laboratory to test 48 products for 1,4-dioxane; 28 of those products were also tested for formaldehyde.
Neither 1.4-dioxane nor formaldehyde is an actual ingredient, so they aren't listed on the package. They are results of chemical things that happen in a product after certain ingredients have been packaged up together. The only way to know if a certain product has these toxins is to test for them.
"Formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane are known carcinogens; formaldehyde can also trigger skin rashes in some children. Unlike many other countries, the U.S. government does not limit formaldehyde, 1,4-dioxane, or most other hazardous substances in personal care products. . ."
. . .Formaldehyde contaminates personal care products when common preservatives release formaldehyde over time in the container. Common ingredients likely to contaminate products with formaldehyde include quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea.
1,4-dioxane is a byproduct of a chemical processing technique called ethoxylation, in which cosmetic ingredients are processed with ethylene oxide. Manufacturers can easily remove the toxic byproduct, but are not required by law to do so. Common ingredients likely to be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane include PEG-100 stearate, sodium laureth sulfate, polyethylene and ceteareth-20."
Manufacturers can easily remove these contaminants, but are not required by law to do so.
These toxins may be in many products which children and adults use. The cumulative exposure is a big concern. Those small exposures add up and may contribute to later-life disease. I remember learning that my favorite eco-dish soap had 1,4-dioxane in it. Seems nothing can be decisively considered safe unless it is proven safe in a lab test. I wish I knew where to send all my favorite products for a test!
For now, the most proactive action we can take is to let congress know that government standards are failing us in these products. We need to have better safeguards for products. You can also send an ecard to family and friends letting them know about the report.