2007 Latest News
Los Angeles Times
February 9, 2007
Testing finds traces of carcinogen in bath
By Marla Cone
and other bath products still contain traces of a cancer-causing
petrochemical that federal health officials have expressed
concerns about for more than 20 years, according to test results
announced Thursday by environmental activists.
children's and adult products tested in a laboratory contained
1,4-dioxane, and three had concentrations that exceeded the Food
and Drug Administration's recommended limit, says the Campaign
for Safe Cosmetics, a San Francisco-based coalition of eight
national environmental and health advocacy organizations.
is not an additive, but an unintended byproduct during
manufacture of some formulations.
conducted by a Santa Fe Springs laboratory, were commissioned by
David Steinman of Topanga, publisher of Healthy Living magazine,
and included in his new book outlining steps that consumers can
take to protect the environment.
the environmental group, the highest concentrations, 23 parts
per million, were detected in Clairol Herbal Essences Rainforest
Flowers Shampoo and Olay Complete Body Wash With Vitamins, both
made by Procter & Gamble. The highest in a children's product
was 12 ppm, in Hello Kitty Bubble Bath, sold by Kid Care, a
division of Cosmetic Essence Inc.
In 1985, the
FDA asked the cosmetics industry to voluntarily limit the
chemical to 10 ppm. But there are no standards governing it and
no testing requirements.
Fifteen of the
18 were at or under the 10 ppm recommendation, with the lowest
amount, in Mr. Bubble Bubble Bath Gentle Formula, reaching 1.5
human carcinogen, 1,4-dioxane penetrates skin, although much of
it evaporates when used, according to FDA documents.
industry representatives say the amounts of the chemical
detected in the products are safe, especially since they are
mainly in shampoos and other products that are quickly washed
should not be concerned about the levels in this data," said
John Bailey, science director of the Cosmetics, Toiletry &
Fragrance Assn., an industry trade group.
The levels are
lower than they were historically, Bailey said, so "it shows the
manufacturers are doing their job" and removing the
The FDA says
in its cosmetics handbook that the problem was first reported in
1978 and that companies can strip the petrochemical from
products "without an unreasonable increase in raw material
cosmetics, detergents and shampoos may contain levels higher
than recommended by FDA," says a report by the federal Agency
for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, part of the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency advises consumers
to avoid products listing the surfactants PEG, polyethylene,
polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, polyethoxyethylene or
polyoxynolethylene as ingredients unless the company has shown
that they are not tainted with 1,4-dioxane.
was declared a carcinogen under California's Proposition 65,
which requires warnings on products that pose a certain cancer
risk. But state officials have not reviewed whether any products
contain enough to trigger such warning.