U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will be introducing a bill in the House this week to require that the FDA investigate the safety of ingredient byproducts in baby bath products.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics commissioned an independent laboratory to test 48 commonly used baby products for 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde. The products tested include both generic and name brands of baby shampoo, bath wash, lotion, wipes, sunblock, and toothpaste.
Of those, 67 percent contained levels of 1,4-dioxane, 82 percent contained levels of formaldehyde, and 61 percent contained both.
While formaldehyde is not put directly into the product, it may emerge with the eventual breakdown of preservative ingredients, according to Jane Houlihan of the Environmental Working Group.
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The chemical 1,4-dioxane is used in the processes that make the product “gentler” for young skin and can be easily removed through a process called air-stripping. However, given little incentive, manufacturers often refuse to take the extra step.
Formaldehyde is an allergenic and carcinogenic preservative used in the embalming of dead animal tissue. The chemical 1,4-dioxane poses more risk inhaled than through dermal contact, according to research gathered by the CDC. In high concentrations, it causes kidney and liver alterations.
....continued use of products containing formaldehyde may be linked to the increase in allergies and asthma incidences in recent years, says Houlihan.
Because of the lack of required labeling, the public can only assume that the products are safe. “Parents cannot shop around this problem,” Houlihan said.
Often these products are recommended by physicians and pediatricians,” said Marian Feinberg from For a Better Bronx. She said that when she presented the report to her group, parents were shocked—one of the products that tested positive for 1,4-dioxane was recommended by doctors for children with eczema.