You would never expect to find some known or suspected carcinogens in the special shampoo that you are using for your baby. So, if you live in the U.S. this may be the case. In the last two years, health and environmental associations have been obligating the Johnson & Johnson to eliminate the two possible cancer-causing chemicals from their baby shampoo.
The quaternium-15 is one of those ingredients. It releases formaldehyde which is a skin, eye and respiratory irritant and is also considered as a carcinogen (it is related with leukemia). SafeCosmetics.otg states:
“The North American Contact Dermatitis Group claims that quaternium-15 is between the most clinically significant contact allergens in kids.”
The other ingredient is 1,4-dioxane which is a carcinogen which is included in Johnson & Johnson’s:
- Baby Shampoo
- Oatmeal Baby Wash
- Moisture Care Baby Wash
- Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash
As the CDC claims, 1,4 dioxane is “potentially carcinogenic for people,” and is also toxic for your brain, central nervous system, liver and kidneys.
Why Is Johnson & Johnson Dragging Their Feet on Removal of Toxic Ingredients for U.S. Lots?
On October 31st a letter was sent to Johnson & Johnson by The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics which was signed by 25 environmental and medical associations and groups, requiring from them to remove the carcinogenic compounds from their products until November 15th. This campaign was calling for boycotting this company until it removes the ingredients.
There was a respond from the company:
“We have removed the preservatives that release small amounts of formaldehyde to prevent any bacterial contamination. The preservatives technologies which we use in our industry are completely safe and acknowledged in the countries where our products are sold… In the years behind us we already decreased the number of formulations globally with these ‘formaldehyde releaser’ preservatives by 33% and in the U.S. by over 60%.
This reformulation is implemented as fast as it could, safely and responsibly. As part of the production process we have detailed control in order to be sure that the level of a trace byproduct called 1,4 dioxane in any products is lower that the level that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and regulatory agencies around the globe are considering safe.
… We have presented our new product formulations for consumers who like natural products, like Johnson’s Natural, which is 98% natural line and doesn’t include formaldehyde releasing preservatives or traces of 1,4 dioxane.”
Anyway, this responsible tells us that there are two issues with this reply:
- They are selling a carcinogen-free version of the baby shampoo in other countries, which means there is no need of complicated reformulation.
- The natural brand Johnson & Johnson’s Naturals is free from these chemicals and costs twice as much as the regular baby shampoo. So, they have two carcinogen-free formulas in their sleeve, and therefore the line “This reformulation is implemented as fast as it could, safely and responsibly” is a little bit of strange excuse.
Here are the countries where you can find the quaternium-15-free Johnson & Johnson products:
|Norway||South Africa||Sweden||The U.K.|
“And it’s not like the company eliminated a fundamental compound to please environmental restrictions in these countries. While some have inhibited the use of quaternium-15, it is not clear why some of these countries are being treated to the carcinogen-free shampoo.”
What to Look for to Avoid Formaldehyde and 1,4-Dioxane
If like to dodge formaldehyde-releasing compounds and 1,4-dioxane, you must know what to search for because they couldn’t be found on the label: at least not in the same words. Similar ingredients that are possible to contaminate products with formaldehyde are:
- DMDM hydantoin
- Imidazolidinyl urea
- Diazolidinyl urea
In order to dodge 1,4-dioxane, search for the following ingredients, that are generating 1,4- dioxane as a byproduct:
- PEG-100 stearate
- Sodium laureth sulfate
- Sodium myreth sulfate
Other Hazardous Ingredients to Watch Out for
It is inadequate, but the personal care products, even those particularly made for babies, can include many harmful ingredients. Other similar ingredients to dodge are including:
- Any chemical that has clauses like “xynol,” “ceteareth,” and “oleth”
- Diethanolamine or DEA, which is a possible cancer-causing factor. DEA reacts with nitrite preservatives and contaminants in order to generate nitrosodethanolamine (NDEA), which is a well known and strong carcinogen. The chemical is also able to prevent the absorption of the nutrient cholline, which is crucial for the brain advancement.
- Propylene Glycol. Regardless of the fact that the material safety data sheet advises the users to dodge skin contact with propylene glycol because it is potent skin irritant which is also able to cause liver malformations and kidney damage. It is the most usual compound in the shampoos.
- Parabens. These preservatives are listed on the label as methyl paraben, ethyl paraben, propyl paraben, butyl paraben, isobutyl paraben, or E216. They are related with some cancer diseases. Researchers have proved that parabens can have impact on your body like estrogens, which can result in reducing muscle mass, extra fat accumulation and male gynecomastia (breast growth). Other researches related parabens with breast cancer, because there were traces of parabens found in every of tissue collected from 20 various breast tumors. The EPA related methyl parabens especially to metabolic, hormonal, developmental and neurological disarrays and some cancers too.
Average Baby Exposed to Dozens of Potentially Unsafe Chemicals Daily
In the study conducted 4 years ago, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) monitored 3,300 parents and compared the baby products they were using with a list of chemicals which are considered to cause allergies, hormone disorder, damage to the nervous system and cancer. During this control they found out that the kids are exposed to 27 chemical compounds daily that have never been analyzed for safety from the industry or the government. Some of the dangerous ingredients and baby products from that study include:
- 2 bromo, 2 nitropropane and 3-DIOL: Can lead to allergies or skin irritations. In some products, these compounds are able to decompose in order to create other cancer-causing agents.
- Sodium borate, included in Desitin diaper cream is able to lay up in the kid’s brain and liver which will lead to harmful health effects.
- Oxybenzone is a usual ingredient in sunscreen and can stimulate allergies and may cause disorders in the child’s vulnerable hormone system
It is funny that 89% of products in which label you will read “Recommended by doctor” are including some of the most harmful chemicals. A study conducted by EWG in 2007 proved that:
- 82% of children are affected from one or more ingredients with the possibility to damage the brain and nervous system.
- 69% of children are subjected to one or more compounds that are able to cause disarrays in the hormone system.
- 3.6% of the children are subjected to compounds that are related with appearance of cancer, together with chemicals considered as known or possibly human carcinogens.
- 80% of the children’s products which are marked as fine and non-irritating include compounds related to allergies and skin or eye irritation.
Evaluate Ingredients Before You Buy
The problem with possible toxins included in shampoos, soaps, lotions and other care products should be taken seriously, because the skin absorbs every chemical, which is perfect for them to enter into the blood stream. When they are absorbed they can do more damage than when they are swallowed.
It is highly recommendable for you to start using the organic brands of toiletries, including the baby’s personal care products. You can find them in your local health food store or online. You should know that not all products marked with “natural” or “organic” are completely organic or natural.
You can evaluate the product on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep site. If you didn’t know, the EWG is a nonprofit public-interest research group which makes relations between the chemical subjection and bad health conditions. From their beginnings in 2004, their “Skin Deep” study has subjected health-risk ratings to many personal-care products.
General Shopping Guidelines
You should know about the following directions when buying personal care products:
- Check if there is a genuine USDA Organic Seal.
- You should consume it if you can’t pronounce it.
- Search for a products that aren’t including any fragrances. One unnatural fragrance can include hundreds or thousands of chemicals and fragrances are a great cause of allergic reactions.
- Take a closer look to the order in which the compounds are listed. The companies are obligated to list the compounds in descending order by volume, which means the first several compounds are the most essential. If you notice calendula essence as the last compound in the list, then your calendula body wash is not natural as you may like.
- Use the basic products only. You don’t need too much products for preparing. You will not increase your bank account by decreasing the number of products you are using every day.
- You should purchase products in glass bottles rather than plastic, because the chemicals in plastic can go into the contents. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a serious problem. Check if the plastic bottle is BPA-free.
- Search for a products that are produced by companies that are Earth-friendly, animal-friendly and obligated to organic and sustainable business methods.
You should be aware about the many toxic chemicals you subject your kids on a daily basis, because every subjection adds to your kid’s long-term toxic storage.
You can read Dr. Doris Rapp’s book Our Toxic World: A Wake Up Call if you like to be informed better. Dr. Rapp does a great job in discovering the various ways you are subjected to toxic chemicals and how they are affecting your overall health.
Call to Action
SafeCosmetics.org are recommending taking unhesitating customer action in order to end the needless content of toxic compounds in products made for babies. This is what you can do:
- Vote with your pocketbook: Since the Johnson & Johnson obligates to produce safer baby products, you can buy products from manufacturers that are making safer products. You can find some safer products in the Skin Deep cosmetic’s database.
- Contact Johnson & Johnson: Join in the petition to Johnson & Johnson, demanding from them to remove the formaldehyde-releasing preservatives from every single baby product in every country in the world and substitute them with safer solutions.
- Write to Congress: Ask your U.S. Representative to uphold the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011.