Baby Green Bean – Carcinogens in the Tub

May 8, 2008

Mr. Bubble? What happened?

The last thing we think about when we (or our kids) reach for the soap are petrochemicals and carcinogens. But, sigh, are we really surprised anymore that these cheap and potentially deadly ingredients are found in our daily health and beauty products?

Synthetic ingredients are not only easy but very inexpensive ways of making a product generally perform and deliver the desired result. For example, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is commonly used to make bubbles more “bubblier”. It is used in shampoos for its detergent and foam-building abilities. It has been known to cause eye irritations, skin rashes, hair loss, scalp scurf similar to dandruff, and allergic reactions. It is frequently disguised in pseudo-natural cosmetics with the parenthetic explanation “comes from coconut”.

Carcinogens have found their way into some of the most commonly used health and beauty products, specifically those targeted for children and women.

1,4-Dioxane is a petroleum-derived contaminant considered a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a clear-cut animal carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program. It is also on California’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known or suspected by the state to cause cancer or birth defects. Because it is a contaminant produced during manufacturing, the FDA does not require it to be listed as an ingredient on product labels!

More than two dozen products were tested for 1,4-Dioxane by West Coast Analytical Service, an independent testing laboratory specializing in trace chemical analysis. Among the products tested:

Baby & Children’s Consumer Products


Disney Clean as Can Bee Hair & Body Wash (Water Jel Technologies)

8.8 ppm

Disney Pixar Cars Piston Cup Bubble Bath (MZB Personal Care)

2.2 ppm

Gerber Grins & Giggles Gentle & Mild Aloe Vera Baby Shampoo

8.4 ppm

Hello Kitty Bubble Bath (Kid Care)

12 ppm*

Huggies Baby Wash Shea Butter

4.0 ppm

Huggies Natural Care Baby Wash Extra Gentle and Tear Free

4.2 ppm

Johnson’s Head-to-Toe Baby Wash (Johnson & Johnson)

5.3 ppm to 6.1 ppm

Johnson’s Kids Tigger Bath Bubbles (Johnson & Johnson)

5.6 ppm to 7.9 ppm

Johnson’s Kids Shampoo Watermelon Explosion (Johnson & Johnson)

10 ppm*

Lil’ Bratz Mild Bubble Bath (Kid Care)

3.7 ppm

L’Oreal Kids Orange Mango Smoothie Shampoo

2.0 ppm

Mr. Bubble Bubble Bath Gentle Formula with Aloe

1.5 ppm

Rite-Aid Tearless Baby Shampoo

4.3 ppm

Scooby-Doo Mild Bubble Bath (Kid Care)

3.0 ppm

Sesame Street Wet Wild Watermelon Bubble Bath (The Village Company)

7.4 ppm

Adult Consumer Products

Clairol Herbal Essences Rainforest Flowers Shampoo

23 ppm*

Olay Complete Body Wash with Vitamins (normal skin)

23 ppm*

Suave Naturals Passion Flower

2.0 ppm

*Product was at or above FDA maximum

There is a vast array of personal products at our disposal. Our personal health and well-being, as well as our environment locally and globally, are in question by the widespread use of synthetic substances. We cannot avoid all synthetic substances, and not all synthetics are bad for us. Many of these materials have improved the quality of our lives, but many have also deteriorated it. We do not know what will result from our use of certain synthetics in the long run. The environment can be sustained or systematically destroyed by our choices. As consumers we can participate in the sustaining of eco-friendly organic farming practices, wise waste disposal, clean manufacturing processes and biodegradability of ingredients. The choices are many, and the freedom to choose is ours. The answer can make a difference to your health and our ecosystem.


2 Responses to “Baby Green Bean – Carcinogens in the Tub”

  1. Angie said

    Another reason to switch to Trader Joes – their shampoo and conditioner is grea’!

  2. Aïcha Sebaa said

    great post Ferdaus! 🙂
    hmm, we should really make a lot of this stuff on our own..
    ..i think this gives me an idea for one on my upcoming posts inshaAllah! 🙂

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