OCA & Cancer Prevention Coalition Warn of Hidden Carcinogens in Baby Care
Time to Protect Babies From Dangerous Products
CHICAGO, Feb. 28, 2005 (AScribe Newswire) --
From shortly after
birth, mothers tenderly wash and pamper their infants with a wide range of baby products. These include soaps, shampoos,
lotions, and dusting powders, some of which are used several times daily.
However, how would mothers react if they discovered that these baby products contain a witch's brew of dangerous
ingredients? Hopping mad could be a reasonable understatement.
Most disturbing are three groups of widely used ingredients known as "hidden carcinogens" -- ingredients
which are contaminated by carcinogens, or which break down to release carcinogens, or which are precursors of
carcinogens -- to which infants are about 100 times more sensitive than adults.
- The largest group of hidden carcinogens includes dozens of wetting agents or detergents, particularly PEGs,
Laureths, and Ceteareths, all of which are contaminated with the potent and volatile carcinogens ethylene oxide and
dioxane. These carcinogens could readily be stripped off during ingredient manufacture, if the industry just made the
effort to do so. Another hidden carcinogenic ingredient is lanolin, derived from sheep's wool, most samples of which
are contaminated with DDT-like pesticides.
- The second group includes another detergent, Triethanolamine (TEA) which, following interaction with
nitrite, is a precursor of a highly potent nitrosamine carcinogen.
- The third group includes Quaterniums and Diazolidinyl urea preservatives which break down in the product or skin to
release the carcinogenic formaldehyde.
The common use of Talc dusting powder can result in its inhalation, resulting in acute or chronic lung irritation
and disease (talcosis), and even death. Additionally, Talc is a suspect cause of lung cancer, based on rodent tests.
Fragrances, containing numerous ingredients, are commonly used in baby products for the mother's benefit. However,
over 25 of these ingredients are known to cause allergic dermatitis.
A final ingredient of particular concern is the harshly irritant sodium lauryl sulfate. A single application to
adult human skin has been shown to damage its microscopic structure, increasing the penetration of carcinogenic and
other controversial ingredients.
Most disturbing is the ready availability of safe alternatives for all these dangerous ingredients
(longstanding information on which is detailed on the Cancer Prevention Coalition website, http://www.preventcancer.com)
So, why is it that the multibillion-dollar cosmetic and toiletry industry has not acted on this information? The
answer is that the major priority of the industry's trade association is "to protect the freedom of the industry to
compete in a fair market place." At the same time, the association pursues a highly aggressive agenda against what
it claims are "unreasonable or unnecessary labeling or warning requirements." As Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D.MA)
stated at 1997 Hearings on the FDA Reform bill: "The cosmetics industry has borrowed a page from the playbook of
the tobacco industry by putting profits ahead of public health."
Astoundingly, the interests of industry remain reinforced by the regulatory abdication of the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA), in spite of its authority under the 1938 Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics (FD&C) Act. Clearly,
the FDA is the lap dog, rather than the watchdog, of the industry.
Of even greater concern is the reckless failure of the federal National Cancer Institute and the "non-profit"
American Cancer Society to inform the public of the avoidable risks of cancer from the use of baby products,
especially in view of the escalating incidence of childhood cancers over recent decades. However, the silence of the
American Cancer Society is consistent with its over $100,000 annual funding from about a dozen major cosmetic and
The protracted failure of Congress to enforce FDA's compliance with the FD&C Act has evoked the growing concern
of State legislatures. Assemblywoman Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) of the California Senate Health Committee, recently
introduced landmark legislation that requires disclosure of all carcinogenic, hormonal, and otherwise controversial ingredients
in cosmetics. Strongly backed by a coalition of consumer, womens, occupational, and church groups, but opposed by
powerful mainstream industry interests, the Bill failed to pass. However, this shot over the bows of the reckless
mainstream industry marks the beginning of nationwide State initiatives to protect consumers and their babies from
undisclosed dangerous products and ingredients. Safe alternative products and ingredients, including organic, are
becoming increasingly available from non-mainstream companies.
- Samuel S. Epstein, MD, Professor emeritus Environmental & Occupational Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago
School of Public Health, Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition, and Recipient of the 2005 Albert Schweitzer
Golden Grand Medal for Humanitarianism, 2121 West Taylor Street MC 922, Chicago IL 60612; phone 312-996-2297; fax
312-413-9898; e-mail email@example.com; Web http://www.preventcancer.com
More information about chemicals in products www.publicsright2know.com
310 457 5176
Here for Products without controversial ingredients
Find out how to get Dr. Epstein's Newest book
Unreasonable Risk, Second Edition, How to Avoid Cancer and other Toxic Effects from Cosmetics and Personal are Products - The Neways Story