baby haters – dioxane, formaldehyde and other chemical-laced baby products

You’ve heard by now that Johnson & Johnson is among the many companies that currently sell baby (and adult) products that include toxins such as formaldehyde and other carcinogenic ingredients. For example, the iconic Johnson’s Baby Shampoo contains dioxane and a substance called quaternium-15 that releases formaldehyde.

Dioxane is 1,4-dioxane is a petroleum-derived carcinogenic compound that is used intentionally in dry cleaning solvents, lacquers and automotive coolant. 1,4-dioxane also shows up in personal care products because it is the byproduct of some chemical ingredient manufacturing processes, including the process by which sodium lauryl sulfate becomes sodium laureth sulfate. The latter SLS is used in products that make suds, like shampoo, bubble bath and body wash. Remember to check your labels! See the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics database for more here.

Quaternium-15 releases formaldehyde into cosmetics products. Formaldehyde is classified as a known human carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The National Cancer Institute, the World Health Organization and the National Toxicology Program have all identified a possible link between formaldehyde exposure and leukemia. See The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics database, Baby’s Tub is Still Toxic.

The really galling part is that some countries have banned the use of 1, dioxin so J&J actually makes two different versions of its products since the EU has banned chemicals in the U.S. version.

Read this important report HERE, the first to document the widespread contamination of children’s products with formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane.

 For our 4 month old’s tub, we like Everyday Shea’s shampoo and body wash. It was (very surprisingly) the only acceptable, nontoxic shampoo for babies that I found at Whole Foods with the exception of good old Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby Mild Soap, which you can use for just about anything. We use Dr. Bronner’s to clean bottles and bring it in bar or liquid form when we travel. It’s great for handwashing baby clothes too.

There are so many companies marketing baby products that contain toxic chemicals, it’s impossible to list them all. Carefully read labels and watch out for these top offenders (regretfully these are just the tip of the iceberg):

Click on the links below for more detail on why these are harmful from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.



  Synthetic Musks


  Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives










  Lead and Other Heavy Metals




Campaign for Safe Cosmetics – No More Toxic Tub Report

Since its founding in 2002, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has advocated the elimination of hazardous chemicals from personal care products.These products can legally contain ingredients linked to cancer, reproductive harm, learning disabilities and other serious health problems. Shockingly, the CSC points out that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned or restricted only 11 chemicals in cosmetics out of the more than 12,500 ingredients currently used. In contrast, the European Union has banned more than 1,100 chemicals from cosmetics.

We’ve clearly established that bath and other products labeled ‘safe,’ ‘gentle’ and/or ‘natural’ frequently are anything but. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics conducted lab tests and found that many such products are contaminated with formaldehyde or 1,4-dioxane – and often times, both. These two chemicals, linked to cancer and skin allergies, are completely unregulated in children’s bath products.

The CSC highlights something that is shocking or even unbelievable to most people – that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the safety of personal care products in the U.S., but lacks basic authority needed to either verify the safety of products or enforce existing regulations.  ”The FDA cannot require companies to test products for safety before they are sold, does not systematically review the safety of ingredients and does not set limits for common, harmful contaminants in products.The FDA also does not require contaminants to be listed on product ingredient labels. As a result, consumers have no way of knowing if their products contain toxic contaminants.”

Read this important report, No More Toxic Tub HERE, the first to document the widespread contamination of children’s products with formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane.

Remember, the terms “natural,” “herbal,” “gentle” or “safe” have NO LEGAL DEFINITION.  This report charts the commonly used chemical names and phrases, such as “fragrance” used to describe what are toxic ingredients. More posts to follow in reference to this important resource. See also Baby’s Tub Is Still Toxic HERE.

More to come … holiday weekend + newborn = busy