Baby Products: Now With Formaldehyde!

More than half of the baby products recently tested by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics were found to contain trace levels of formaldehyde and dioxane. Though the study didn’t accuse Johnson & Johnson of dumping barrels of the potential carcinogens directly into their baby products, the dangerous chemicals can form during the manufacturing process as other ingredients break down. The full list of 48 tested baby shampoos, lotions, soaps, and wipes—including some well-known products you probably have on your shelf—inside.

The government hasn’t banned the use of dioxane in baby products or cosmetics, even though they can seep through lotions into the skin. The FDA believes that trace amounts of carcinogens are acceptable, and might even toughen up American babies to survive any financial downturn.

“The levels we’ve found are relatively low, and the industry often says there’s just a little bit of carcinogen in my product,” Malkan said. “The problem is, we’re finding a little bit of carcinogen in many products. Many of these products are used every day, so we’ve got repeated and frequent exposure to these low levels of chemicals. They’re not the safest and purest products, and parents ought to know that.”

In addition, government studies have not examined the effect of chemical exposure on the particular vulnerabilities of infants and children, whose bodies are still developing, the advocates said.

So which products contain the probable carcinogens? Here’s the full list:

Product Name and Company 1,4-dioxane (in parts per million) Formaldehyde (in parts per million)
Lotions
American Girl Hopes and Dreams Shimmer Body Lotion (Bath & Body Works) ND* 310
Baby Magic “Soft Baby Scent” Baby Lotion (Ascendia Brands, Inc) ND* 570
Baby Magic “Soft Baby Scent” Baby Lotion (Ascendia Brands, Inc) 0.92 610
Baby Magic “Soft Baby Scent” Baby Lotion (Ascendia Brands, Inc) ND* 330
Johnson’s Bedtime Lotion Natural Calm Essences (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies) ND* Not tested for this chemical
Mustela Baby Body Lotion (Laboratories Expanscience) ND* Not tested for this chemical
Tinker Bell Body Lotion (Goldie LLC) ND* 220
Shampoos
CVS Baby Shampoo (CVS/Pharmacy) 0.92 350
Johnson’s Baby Shampoo (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies) ND* 200
Johnson’s Baby Shampoo (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies) 1.1 210
L’Oreal Kids Extra Gentle 2-in-1 Fast Dry Shampoo – Burst of Cool Melon (L’Oreal USA) 0.95 260
Suave Kids 2-in-1 Shampoo – Wild Watermelon (Unilever) 0.69 ND*
Liquid Shower Soaps
American Girl Hopes and Dreams Glistening Shower and Bath Wash (Bath & Body Works) 14 Not tested for this chemical
American Girl Real Beauty Inside and Out Shower Gel – Apple Blossom (Bath & Body Works) 6.3 210
American Girl Real Beauty Inside and Out Shower Gel – Apple Blossom (Bath & Body Works) 5.7 220
American Girl Real Beauty Inside and Out Shower Gel – Apple Blossom (Bath & Body Works) 18 150
American Girl Real Beauty Inside and Out Shower Gel – Sunny Orange (Bath & Body Works) 35 ND*
Bath Washes
Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies) 1.4 Not tested for this chemical
Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies) 1.7 Not tested for this chemical
Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies) 4.6 Not tested for this chemical
CVS Kids Body Wash – Blueberry Blast (CVS/Pharmacy) 0.75 54
Equate Tearless Baby Wash (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.) 0.63 290
Gentle Naturals Eczema Baby Wash (Del Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) 6.4 Not tested for this chemical
Grins & Giggles Milk & Honey Baby Wash (Gerber Products Company) 2.8 400
Huggies Naturally Refreshing Cucumber & Green Tea Baby Wash (Kimberly-Clark) 3.2 410
Johnson’s Moisture Care Baby Wash (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies) 3.9 Not tested for this chemical
Johnson’s Oatmeal Baby Wash – Vanilla (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies) 4.2 Not tested for this chemical
Mustela Baby Shampoo (Laboratories Expanscience) 2.8 Not tested for this chemical
Mustela Dermo-Cleansing Gel for Hair and Body Newborn/Baby (Laboratories Expanscience) 3.9 Not tested for this chemical
Night-time Bath Baby Wash (Target Corporation) 3.6 Not tested for this chemical
Bubble Baths
Barbie Berry Sweet Bubble Bath (Water-Jel Technologies) 0.65 440
Dora the Explorer Bubble Bath (MZB Personal Care) 1.5 130
Hot Wheels Berry Blast Bubble Bath (Water-Jel Technologies) 2.8 100
Mustela Multi-Sensory Bubble Bath (Laboratories Expanscience) 1.7 ND*
Sesame Street Bubble Bath – Orange Mango Tango (The Village Company) 2.8 340
Tinker Bell Scented Bubble Bath (Goldie LLC) 11 420
Baby Wipes
Huggies Naturally Refreshing Cucumber & Green Tea Baby Wipes (Kimberly-Clark) ND* Not tested for this chemical
Huggies Soft Skin – Shea Butter (Kimberly-Clark Global Sales Inc) ND* 100
Kirkland Signature Premium Unscented Baby Wipes (Costco Wholesale Corporation) ND* Not tested for this chemical
Pampers Baby Fresh (Procter & Gamble) ND* Not tested for this chemical
Pampers Calming – Lavender (Procter & Gamble) ND* Not tested for this chemical
Hair Relaxers
Dark & Lovely Kids Beautiful Beginnings No-Mistake Nourishing No-Lye Creme Relaxer, Normal to Course Hair (SoftSheen-Carson, owned by L’Oreal USA) ND* Not tested for this chemical
Dark & Lovely Kids Beautiful Beginnings No-Mistake Nourishing No-Lye Children’s Relaxer System, Fine Hair Types (SoftSheen-Carson, owned by L’Oreal USA) ND* ND*
Soft & Beautiful Just for Me! No-Lye Conditioning Creme Relaxer, Children’s Super (Alberto-Culver Company) 0.27 ND*
Hand Soaps
Pampers Kandoo Foaming Handsoap – Magic Melon (Procter & Gamble) 0.49 310
Sun Blocks
Banana Boat Kids UVA & UVB Sunblock Lotion SPF 30 (Sun Pharmaceuticals Corp.) ND* Not tested for this chemical
No-Ad Sun Pals SPF 45 UVA/UVB Sun Protection (Solar Cosmetics Labs Inc.) 0.46 Not tested for this chemical
Toothpastes
Colgate Kids 2-in-1 Toothpaste and Mouthwash – Strawberry (Colgate-Palmolive Company) ND* Not tested for this chemical
* Not detectable.

Probable Carcinogens Found in Baby Toiletries [The Washington Post]
Probable Carcinogens Found in Baby Toiletries [The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics]
(Photo: bbaunach)

Comments

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  1. gatewaytoheaven says:

    I use the Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo. Not because of a sensitive scalp or eyes, but because I’ve been too lethargic to go buy something else.

    I’m not shocked at all. I’m almost indifferent. Seems like just about everything we use is going to kill us one way or another. It’s just a matter of finding something that will do it as slowly and painlessly as possible.

    • LivnPure says:

      There are healthier choices I have found some that are not toxic, and Vegan cert… they are helping lots of people over come many issues with allergies, skin conditions etc… message me and I’ll send you a link to the website :) Just cause it’s on the shelf doesn’t mean we have to buy it!!!

  2. LithiumIron_GitEmSteveDave says:

    IIRC, toothpaste contains a trace amount of formaldehyde. I did read that in a science book many years ago, so it might have changed.

  3. bohemian says:

    I find it of note that some of the products with the chemicals in them are named to give the impression that they are natural products.

  4. B says:

    Now you can preserve your babies forever.r

  5. sir_eccles says:

    You know what will happen though. They’ll reformulate these shampoos and stuff to take the formaldehyde out and everyone will complain that they aren’t as good as they used to be. Or the replacement will be more toxic.

    Mmm, new coke.

  6. Rugbyjersey says:

    Isn’t this brand discrimination? If they are going to test for carcinogens, why are they only testing one brand? Reason would propose that similar chemicals and processes are used to make similar products.

  7. ceejeemcbeegee is not here says:

    This “campaign” sounds like a front for the organic/all-natural company’s PR departments.

  8. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    What? No lead????

  9. Trai_Dep says:

    I always assumed Baby Shampoo was made from pureed bits of infants, so this study is oddly reassuring.

    • MauriceCallidice says:

      @Trai_Dep:
      Girl Scout: I only like all-natural foods and beverages, organically grown, with no preservatives. Are you sure they’re real lemons?
      Pugsley: Yes.
      Girl Scout: Well, I’ll tell you what. I’ll buy a cup if you buy a box of my delicious Girl Scout cookies. Do we have a deal?
      Wednesday: Are they made from real Girl Scouts?

      [www.imdb.com]

  10. Ninja007 says:

    the credibility of this article is a little suspect when they say the fda say the formaldehyde might even toughen up American babies to survive any financial downturn.

  11. Sharon Bruen says:

    Interesting.
    It catches my attention that this post is in regard to formaldehyde being used in baby products.
    Are you also aware that this same ingredient is used in MANY of the vaccines?
    I find that to be even more disturbing, seeing as it is directly injected into babies’ bodies.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Sharon Bruen:
      You are correct, formaldehyde is present in the production of vaccines but not in the final product. It’s used to inactivate live viruses and is used in cosmetic production to ensure sterile product is released to the market. Luckily for you, me and anybody who uses cosmetics or got vaccinated, formaldehyde breaks down very quickly in aqueous solutions. Aqueous solution like vaccines and cosmetics. So, trace amounts will remain, but unless you squirt a few dozen shampoo bottles over your head every morning, you’ll probably get more formaldehyde in you from walking by a hospital or any industrial building than in your morning shower.

    • sir_eccles says:

      @Sharon Bruen: Are you aware that formaldehyde occurs naturally int he body and is essential for life?

      [www.chop.edu]

      • failurate says:

        @sir_eccles: “the total quantity of formaldehyde found in an infant’s circulation would be about 1.1 mg, a value at least five-fold greater than that to which an infant would be exposed in vaccines.”

        With the shots, they are adding 20% more formaldehyde… That still seems like a lot.

  12. Coles_Law says:

    For the record, 1,4 Dioxane exposure is recommended to be kept less than 20 ppm as per the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health:

    [www.cdc.gov]

    Ditto for Formaldehyde:

    [www.cdc.gov]

    Looks like some of these violate OSHA standards.

  13. Coles_Law says:

    @Coles_Law. Oops-the Formaldehyde limit is for airborne exposure. Dioxane appears correct though.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The big concern with this should be … WHERE were these products made at?!!! Just because it is an american based company does NOT mean the product was made here.
    Many companies are allowed to just label thier product as “Distributed by Such an Such Company”, and are not required to put WHAT country it was produced in. This policy should be OUTLAWED!!!
    I’ve sent emails to acouple of the folks here but have gotten no reply. I doubt if this post will ever make it to the board either. So very sad!!!

  15. FuryOfFirestorm says:

    If it’s good enough for a pig fetus or a dead guy, it’s good enough for a baby!

  16. HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

    This just in: air contains carcinogens.

    This also just in: You will die some day.

  17. perruptor says:

    Did they stop putting formaldehyde in adult shampoos? It used to be a listed ingredient in lots of them.

  18. scottywz says:

    How can this study be credible if a whole lot of products were not tested for formaldehyde?

  19. Anonymous says:

    All things considered – if you live in a city, I would be far more concerned about industrial smoke, car emission, old heavy industry soil touching the water table and the like containing carcinogens than baby shampoo.

    Any industry – agro, cosmetic or what have you – means exactly that: Industry. Cheap mass production of products for folks dmanding ever cheaper products.

    Why then are we so surprise when the manufacturing process leaves industrial contaminants? Are we so blind to think that because media found a new source of news to its focus, the contamination is actually new?

  20. Anonymous says:

    I recently left a job at a chemical plant that manufactures many surfactants including shampoos. 37% formaldehyde, aka formalin is added to these intentionally as a preservative. Otherwise, microbes can and will grow and contaminate your shampoo . We were always told it broke down to insignificant levels by the time it was used. And it is not required to be on the label because it is below the regulatory threshold for labeling. Kathon ‘tradename’ is an alternate preservative requested by many customers. 1,4 dioxane is a byproduct of the chemical reaction that creates the majority of our shampoo bases, SLS, ALS, etc… It disturbs me to think of the massive amount of these products that enter our water system every day.

  21. perruptor says:

    @sottywiz: What do you mean by credible? Do you not believe that they got the listed results on the large number of products they did test?

  22. Anonymous says:

    We are supposed to be informed of such things.

    Why Johnson & Johnson did not tell us the chemicals’ presence in advance? Does she try to hide away this information? For the consumer products it is like this? How about pharmaceutical products from Johnson & Johnson?

    It a big shame for such a big health-care “leading” corporation? I do not trust them any more!

  23. hi says:

    Eugenics 101.

  24. Sarah Pavelski says:

    I find it so sad that some parent would say, “Seems like just about everything we use is going to kill us one way or another.” We put our kids in car seats and strap them into high chairs so they don’t fall, we take all precaution to protect our offspring from injury, so why poison them slowly? If you ask me, just assuming that huge money hungry corporations selling baby items is safe, is true ignorance.

  25. smallo says:

    This is sad that formaldehyde is used in baby shampoos. It is also unfortunate that the FDA does not regulate any of our personal care products or household cleaning products as to what these big corporations put in them. But rather, we are slowly poisoning ourselves with everything we use. It doesn’t matter if it is for babies or not, our products are unsafe to use. And we wonder why so many people have cancer these days, including children?
    Just because it is on the grocery store shelf does not mean it is safe to use. I learned this 2 1/2 years ago. It was very shocking news for me. Since then, I have switched all of my products over to safer, non-toxic, environmentally-friendly products. I sure feel better knowing that I am not being slowly poisoned to death by washing my hair and taking a shower anymore. And I like the fact that my pets are safe too when I use the cleaning products. This is Corporate America at its finest. They are out to make the big bucks. It doesn’t matter what they put in the products, as long as they get them out on the shelves of the Walmart’s and local grocery stores, they make the money. There should be more regulations against this. But there isn’t. It is too bad most of the public does not even know this. I always thought that it had to be ‘okay’ and ‘safe’ to bring home. After all, these products are on the shelves in the grocery store, right? I see things differently now since learning this. I am glad there are companies, a few, that provide safer products for us to use….at comparable prices.