Baby Bath Products Contain Cancer-Causing Chemicals, Study Says

Mar 13, 2009
Most children's bath products in US are contaminated with substances that are known to cause cancer and skin allergies, the report of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC) says.

The US campaign group tested 48 baby and child personal care products and found that 61 percent of them contained chemical formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane. According to the Environmental Protection Agency these chemicals are considered to be possible carcinogens. These agents were not included in the ingredients list as they were byproducts of manufacturing.

The findings showed that 32 of 48 children's bath products contained 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of ethoxylation, a process used to make petroleum-based ingredients gentler to the skin. Also 23 products contained formaldehyde, which is found in product container when preservatives decompose.

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) controls the safety of personal care items, but doesn't thoroughly evaluate the safety of ingredients, having no particular norms for common, harmful contaminants in products, the study says.

Manufacturers also are not required to include contaminants in the ingredients list, which make it difficult for the consumers to be informed about the contaminants in the products they buy.

Formaldehyde is a colorless gas that is known to cause some health problems, such as difficulty in breathing, eye irritation, asthma attack and others. Several studies also showed exposure to formaldehyde can lead to cancer in animals. Some people develop sensitivity to formaldehyde, which can cause different skin reactions. Dermatologists warn that children are especially sensitive to formaldehyde and they should not come in contact with items containing this chemical.