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April 2007 from Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

Rub a Dub Dub... No One's Minding the Tub! Bubble Bursts on FDA Oversight of Kids' Bath Products

In early February, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and author David Steinman released lab tests that showed 1,4-Dioxane-a hidden cancer-causing petrochemical-in bath products for kids and adults.

In the weeks following that press conference we've heard from worried and angry parents across the United States. Clearly the presence of this carcinogen in products you use to bathe your children is not OK with you-and why would it be? It turns out that companies can vacuum-strip the nasty stuff out cheaply, but they don't. And it's a contaminant, so it doesn't show up on labels.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics vowed to put the heat on the government agency that has been charged with making sure personal care products are safe for kids and adults: The Food and Drug Administration.

<We reported that the FDA's recommended limit on 1,4-Dioxane in cosmetic products was 10 parts per million-a lax, outdated guideline for a known carcinogen. Yet every single commercial bubble bath and shampoo Mr. Steinman had tested for this study contained 1,4-Dioxane, and 15 percent of the products exceeded even the lenient FDA guidelines. This limit was explained to Mr. Steinman during interviews with FDA officials, and corroborated by online reports from other government agencies.

However, after our press conference the FDA admitted something alarming: The agency doesn't have any recommended limits for 1,4-Dioxane in the personal care products that we slather on our skin and use to bathe our babies. And as soon as reporters started asking the FDA questions, references to the guideline disappeared into cyberspace.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics isn't letting this problem run down the drain: We sent a letter to the FDA on February 22, 2007 that requested prompt, clear answers on 1,4-Dioxane. We followed up in March. We have not heard back from them.

Concerned parents, concerned people who shower, the issue is complicated but the bottom line is not: The FDA is not minding the tub! We not only need clarification on the FDA limits for 1,4-Dioxane in personal care products, we also want to know who's looking out for American consumers.

Ask the FDA for answers

While we work together to improve FDA oversight, we can help you find safer products and recognize which labeled ingredients are often contaminated with 1,4-Dioxane. Plus, see if the products you use were among those tested for 1,4-Dioxane.


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