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This morning the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, with MomsRising and other partner organizations across the country, released a new report called "No More Toxic Tub: Getting Contaminants Out of Children’s Bath and Personal Care Products”. The report reveals that despite label claims like “gentle” and “safe,” dozens of popular children’s bath products contain the cancer-causing chemicals formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane- chemicals that are used in embalming fluid, fumigants and automotive coolant.

What’s going on? How it is that harmful chemicals are allowed in baby products? Where is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on this, and where are the cosmetics industry’s scruples?

Parents expect baby products to be safe, period. In fact, most people assume the FDA regulates cosmetics to ensure bubble bath (and makeup, lotion and other personal care products) are safe and non-toxic. But in reality, cosmetics are among the least-regulated products on the market and, as recent test results reveal, baby and children’s cosmetics products are no exception.

Take action right now: Ask your legislators to clean up cosmetics.

Both of the chemicals covered in this new report, formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, can be absorbed through the skin, are widely recognized as carcinogens in animal studies, and classified as known or probable human carcinogens by expert panels. Formaldehyde can also trigger rashes in children who are sensitive to the chemical.
The report reveals that Huggies Naturally Refreshing Cucumber & Green Tea baby wash, Sesame Street Bubble Bath, American Girl Real Beauty Inside and Out Shower Gel, and yes, even Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, were among the products that contained both of these toxic contaminants. Worse yet, these chemicals aren't even on the label, so even the most ingredient-conscious parents wouldn’t know whether the product is safe.

Formaldehyde is banned from personal care products in Japan and Sweden. Two samples of Baby Magic “Soft Baby Scent” baby lotion had formaldehyde concentrations that would require warning labels if the product was in Europe. But here in the US, toxic chemicals like these are not prohibited from cosmetics. Our babies are sitting in toxic tubs.

Cosmetics industry representatives often say “Oh, a tiny little bit of formaldehyde (or insert any other chemical) isn't going to harm anyone.” But there is more than one dangerous chemical in the average bottle of shampoo, and parents use these bath products regularly and in combination with numerous other products. And because our air, water, food and other consumer goods often contain harmful chemicals as well, our total daily exposure to toxins can be significant.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, children are exceptionally vulnerability to the harmful effects of chemicals. A child's chemical exposure is greater pound-for-pound than those of an adult, and children are less able to detoxify and excrete chemicals. And, children's developing organ systems are more vulnerable to damage from chemical exposures.

We need to reduce exposure to toxins wherever we can to protect children, future generations and the environment. We know that early life exposures can affect later life health, that cancer and serious health problems like infertility, obesity and learning and behavioral disorders are on the rise, and that other countries are beginning to move toward prevention (i.e. if safer substitutes to toxins exist, use them instead). And, we know that cosmetics can be made without hazardous ingredients and contaminants.

Enough is enough! Now is the time to fix our broken system, and to prevent companies from selling baby and kids’ products that contain toxic chemicals by passing legislation that empowers the FDA to actually regulate the cosmetics industry.

Take action right now: Ask your legislators to clean up cosmetics.

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