New Federal Legislation Targets Baby Bath Products

Baby bathSource: Happi Magazine; Vol. 46, No. 6; June 2009

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York recently introduced the Safe Baby Products Act, which would direct the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate and regulate hazardous contaminants in personal care products marketed to or used by children.

Sen. Gillibrand-who was appointed to fill the vacancy created when Senator Hillary Clinton became U.S. Secretary of State-introduced the bill in response to a study by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which revealed that many widely used baby shampoos and bubble baths contain formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, which may be hazardous in certain quantities. The chemicals are not listed on labels because contaminants are exempt from labeling laws.

The campaign also recently sent a letter to Johnson & Johnson asking the company by the end of August to reformulate its personal care products so that they are free of 1,4-dioxane and preservatives that release formaldehyde.

The Safe Baby Products Act would direct FDA to test a wide range of children’s personal care products, publicly report the findings and establish good manufacturing practices to reduce or eliminate hazardous contaminants from products.

“We applaud Sen. Gillibrand for being a champion for children’s health,” said Lisa Archer, national coordinator of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

“This bill is a good step forward, because it would give parents the right to know what’s in the bath products they use on their kids, and would give FDA authority to keep dangerous chemicals out of children’s bath products. Next, we need to overhaul cosmetics laws so the FDA can fully assess and assure the safety of all personal care products.”

The campaign released its test results in March. At that time, Dr. John Bailey, chief scientist for the Personal Care Products Council, said the “extremely low” levels of chemicals in the products tested “are not a cause for health concern.”

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