Friday, March 13, 2009

Carcinogens in ...

Drumroll please ... baby toiletries!

More than half the baby shampoo, lotion and other infant care products analyzed by a health advocacy group were found to contain trace amounts of two chemicals that are believed to cause cancer, the organization said yesterday.

Some of the biggest names on the market, including Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo and Baby Magic lotion, tested positive for 1,4-dioxane or formaldehyde, or both, the nonprofit Campaign for Safe Cosmetics reported.

The chemicals, which the Environmental Protection Agency has characterized as probable carcinogens, are not intentionally added to the products and are not listed among ingredients on labels. Instead, they appear to be byproducts of the manufacturing process. Formaldehyde is created when other chemicals in the product break down over time, while 1,4-dioxane is formed when foaming agents are combined with ethylene oxide or similar petrochemicals.

The organization tested 48 baby bath products such as bubble bath and shampoo. Of those, 32 contained trace amounts of 1,4-dioxane and 23 contained small amounts of formaldehyde. Seventeen tested positive for both chemicals.
I am so fucking weary of this all-to-frequent song and dance. An advocacy group -- not a government regulatory agency, mind you. They are too busy staying out big business' way -- discovers harmful chemicals in (insert product here) that have been shown to cause (fill in serious fucking disease here). A mouthpiece for the company or industry, depending on how widespread the contamination is, points out that the amounts of the offending chemicals are "trace," "pose no threat to public health" and are "well within the FDA's accepted limits."

Eventually, if people can avoid being distracted by the Jen-Angelina fued or the current equivalent of must-see Thursday long enough, or -- more importantly -- if sales numbers start to fall, the companies in question will announce that they are removing these chemicals from their products because of their "concern for the health and welfare of each and every one of our valued customers" (no word, of course, on where that concern had been for all these years). This will be followed by some new commercials that point out that the product is now (fill in chemical here)-free.

If only we had a regulatory agency with some fucking teeth, we wouldn't have to go through this shit every couple of months. If only the Bush administration (and the GOP. Make no mistake, George Bush was NOT the abberation Republicans would like you to believe he was. He was a garden-variety conservative, typical of the breed.) hadn't pulled the FDA's teeth in the name of increasing the profits of already rich and powerful corporations, we wouldn't be needlessly exposed to dangerous chemicals in everyday products, or ignorant of those to which we were being exposed.

H/T to Mrs. S.

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