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Cancer-causing Chemical Found in Children's Bath Products

Women's Shampoos and Body Wash also Contaminated

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, February 8, 2007
Contacts: Kevin Donegan or Marisa Walker, Breast Cancer Fund, (415) 346-8223; Stacy Malkan, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, (202) 321-6963; David Steinman, author, "Safe Trip to Eden,"(310) 403-6995; Sheila Huettl, Freedom Press, (800) 959-9797

WASHINGTON — A hidden cancer-causing petrochemical has been found in dozens of children’s bath products and adults’ personal care products, in some cases at levels that are more than twice the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s lenient recommended maximum.

Laboratory tests released today revealed the presence of 1,4-Dioxane in products such as Hello Kitty Bubble Bath, Huggies Baby Wash, Johnson’s Baby Wash, Scooby-Doo Bubble Bath and Sesame Street Bubble Bath. The tests also found the carcinogen in Clairol Herbal Essences shampoo, Olay Complete Body Wash and many other personal care products.

1,4-Dioxane is a petroleum-derived contaminant considered a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a clear-cut animal carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program. It is also on California’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known or suspected by the state to cause cancer or birth defects. Because it is a contaminant produced during manufacturing, the FDA does not require it to be listed as an ingredient on product labels.

The problem of 1,4-Dioxane contamination in personal care products is highlighted in a new book, “Safe Trip to Eden: Ten Steps to Save the Planet Earth from the Global Warming Meltdown,” by David Steinman. The laboratory results were released jointly today at the National Press Club by Steinman and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of U.S.-based health and environmental groups working to protect cosmetics consumers from toxic chemicals and hold companies accountable for the safety of their products.

“Regrettably, 1,4-Dioxane contamination is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Jeanne Rizzo, R.N., executive director of the Breast Cancer Fund, a founding member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “Because the FDA does not require cosmetics products to be approved as safe before they are sold, companies can put unlimited amounts of toxic chemicals in cosmetics.”

Steinman said parents should be outraged that companies are willing to spend a significant amount of money on entertainment licensing agreements that entice children but won’t spend pennies to remove contaminants such as 1,4-Dioxane.

“Consumers who have young children, as I do, have the right to expect the highest purity in children’s products,” Steinman said. “I call on American consumers to say no to dangerous petrochemicals in their children’s cosmetic and personal care products.”

Contrary to what many consumers may believe, the FDA does not review or regulate cosmetics products or ingredients for safety before they are sold to the public and has no legal authority to require safety assessments of cosmetics.

Devra Lee Davis, professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, said that the usual regulatory approach of assessing risk one chemical at a time does not account for the combined effects of very low levels of hidden contaminants in personal care products and from other sources. “We must lower exposures to controllable agents that we know or suspect cause cancer,” she said.

The FDA has been measuring 1,4-Dioxane levels since 1979, but because the agency has little authority or enforcement capacity over the cosmetics industry, it has worked with manufacturers to reduce levels on a voluntary basis only. In 2000, the FDA recommended that cosmetic products should not contain 1,4-Dioxane at concentrations greater than 10 ppm (parts per million); yet some 15 percent of products tested exceeded even these lenient guidelines. This limit, however, also does  not take into account that babies exposed to 1,4-Dioxane from baby shampoo may be exposed at the same time to 1,4-Dioxane from bubble bath, body wash and many other products.

More than two dozen products were tested at Steinman’s request by West Coast Analytical Service, an independent testing laboratory specializing in trace chemical analysis. Among the products tested:

Product
Baby & Children’s Consumer Products

1,4-Dioxane
concentration

 Disney Clean as Can Bee Hair & Body Wash (Water Jel Technologies)  8.8 ppm
 Disney Pixar Cars Piston Cup Bubble Bath (MZB Personal Care)  2.2 ppm
 Gerber Grins & Giggles Gentle & Mild Aloe Vera Baby Shampoo  8.4 ppm
 Hello Kitty Bubble Bath (Kid Care)  12 ppm*
 Huggies Baby Wash Shea Butter  4.0 ppm
 Huggies Natural Care Baby Wash Extra Gentle and Tear Free  4.2 ppm
 Johnson’s Head-to-Toe Baby Wash (Johnson & Johnson)  5.3 ppm to 6.1 ppm
 Johnson’s Kids Tigger Bath Bubbles (Johnson & Johnson)  5.6 ppm to 7.9 ppm
 Johnson’s Kids Shampoo Watermelon Explosion (Johnson & Johnson)  10 ppm*
 Lil’ Bratz Mild Bubble Bath (Kid Care)  3.7 ppm
 L’Oreal Kids Orange Mango Smoothie Shampoo  2.0 ppm
 Mr. Bubble Bubble Bath Gentle Formula with Aloe  1.5 ppm
 Rite-Aid Tearless Baby Shampoo  4.3 ppm
 Scooby-Doo Mild Bubble Bath (Kid Care)  3.0 ppm
 Sesame Street Wet Wild Watermelon Bubble Bath (The Village Company)  7.4 ppm
   
Adult Consumer Products  
 Clairol Herbal Essences Rainforest Flowers Shampoo  23 ppm*
 Olay Complete Body Wash with Vitamins (normal skin)  23 ppm*
 Suave Naturals Passion Flower  2.0 ppm
 *Product was at or above FDA maximum

Steinman’s book explains what Americans can do today to be “green patriots” and curb the nation’s dependency on foreign oil. The new laboratory results reveal the health risks posed by the same petrochemicals that are part of what he calls the nation’s growing oil addiction.

Women and girls use an average of 12 personal care products daily, according to a 2004 survey conducted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The Environmental Working Group's interactive product safety guide, Skin Deep, allows consumers to find products free of common carcinogenic impurities like 1,4-Dioxane.

# # #

Founding members of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics include Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, Breast Cancer Fund, Commonweal, Friends of the Earth, Women's Voices for the Earth, Environmental Working Group, National Black Environmental Justice Network and the National Environmental Trust. For more information and background on the campaign, and a link to the Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep” database of cosmetics product safety, visit www.safecosmetics.org. To learn more about “Safe Trip to Eden: Ten Steps to Save the Planet Earth from the Global Warming Meltdown” by David Steinman, call Sheila Huettl at (323) 208-2629.