Photo by audi_insperation.
Johnson and Johnson (J&J) is sponsoring a contest for families to win $10,000 by submitting a home-made movie showing their children having fun with bubble bath in the tub. The videos will be featured on Johnson’s Baby Channel and voted on by other parents, J & J judges, and Angie Harmon, a celebrity and mom.
Although the contest states you are not required to buy JOHNSON’S® New Baby Bubble Bath and Wash, don’t you think that families are going to run out and buy it hoping to increase their chances of winning? Personally, this is marketing genius. Who would not want to try and win the $10,000? Who doesn’t have cute kids, bubble bath & a camcorder? Good clean fun. But is it?
In March, 2009, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics issued the “No More Toxic Tub” report, which revealed how toxic your child’s personal care products could be. Forty-eight products , including certain J& J products, were tested by an independent lab for for 1,4-dioxane; 28 of those products were also tested for formaldehyde. Note, the bubble bath was not tested in this report. The lab found the following:
- 17 out of 28 products tested – 61 percent – contained both formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane.
- 23 out of 28 products – 82 percent – contained formaldehyde at levels ranging from 54 to 610 parts per million (ppm).
- 32 out of 48 products – 67 percent – contained 1,4-dioxane at levels ranging from 0.27 to 35 ppm.
Although naysayers may say the levels contained in the report are harmless, the Organization is concerned about the cumulative effect. Many parents expose their babies to several products at bath time a couple times a week. Those small exposures add up and thereafter, may contribute to later-life disease. What is more disturbing is that the Organization found that none of the products tested listed these chemicals in their ingredients. Many of these toxic chemicals are by-products of chemical manufacturing and product formulation.
So, who is watching out for us? Not the FDA. The FDA states the following:
“FDA’s legal authority over cosmetics is different from other products regulated by the agency, such as drugs, biologics, and medical devices. Cosmetic products and ingredients are not subject to FDA premarket approval authority, with the exception of color additives. However, FDA may pursue enforcement action against violative products, or against firms or individuals who violate the law.”
The FDA further states:
“In general, except for color additives and those ingredients which are prohibited or restricted from use in cosmetics by regulation, a manufacturer may use any ingredient in the formulation of a cosmetic provided that the ingredient and the finished cosmetic are safe, the product is properly labeled, and the use of the ingredient does not otherwise cause the cosmetic to be adulterated or misbranded under the laws that FDA enforces.”
The Environmental Working Group provides a detail response as to why the above chemicals are not safe in children and babies’ products. In the case of 1, 4 dioxane, many of the US agencies have voiced their concerns about 1,4-dioxane. The EPA stated that this chemical is a probable carcinogen. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program stated in a report “1,4-Dioxane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals (IARC 1976, 1982, 1999, NCI 1978).” The European Union has banned dioxane, which according to the Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s guidelines , 1,4-dioxane is a synonymy of dioxane.
The EWG further states that “formaldehyde is a probable carcinogen, according to the EPA,though the risk of cancer from absorption through the skin is not fully understood” citing an EPA’s Hazard Statement and an Australia Government report to support its position.
On the other side of the cosmetic battle lines, there are others who saying the report is “not complete and grossly distorted” (See video above.) I have read different internet accounts calling the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics organization a bunch of fear mongers. As a parent, whom am I to believe? My sister and younger cousins all have babies and toddlers. I want their children to be safe. However, do you need a degree in chemistry to be able to understand the ingredients in the label? Worse, as noted above, some of these ingredients do not need to be listed since they are by-products of manufacturing and product formulation.
What about J& J’s new bubble bath? How do we know it is safe? Just because they say so? Some of their products were in tested, and found to contain 1,4-dioxane. In the above video, the Company stated that they test their products for safety, but it begs the question based upon whose standards? The FDA does not regulate the formulation of cosmetics and has only banned 9 ingredients. So, basically, no one is watching the store.
J& J’s recent bubble bath campaign is just another log on the fire as to our need for standards for personal care products. Time and time again, I have urged my readers to support the Kid-Safe Chemical Act, which is legislation presently before Congress to help make all household and personal cares products safe for use. I want to walk into a store and pick up my favorite brand and not worry that it contains harmful chemicals. With autism, learning disabilities, cancer, diabetes, and other immune disorder diseases on the rise, isn’t it time to take a stand?
My wish is that J&J stop its bubble bath campaign and prove that it has removed harmful chemicals from their products such as 1,4 dioxane before resuming this campaign. So many parents do not even know the dangers of their children’s personal care products. If they were all presented with the Toxic Tub report, don’t you think they would think twice before proceeding with this Campaign? Do you think Angie Harmon would be a judge if she knew about this controversy since she is reportedly an environmentalist herself.
Please support the Kid-Safe Chemical Act, by signing the petition. Let’s make chemical safe for use and let our children bath in bubble baths without fear.
This article is part of the Green Mom’s Carnival being hosted by Sommer at Green and Clean Mom, who alerted us to the J& J campaign. Please head over to Green and Clean Mom to see how the other mothers and mothers of the Earth reacted to the bubble bath campaign. Special thanks to Jennifer of the Smart Mama, an environmental engineer and lawyer for all her help in explaining the chemicals involved. Personally, I don’t know what I would do without her. She is my go-to woman about everything chemically related.
A big hug to Sommer for rounding us all up to take a stand for the sake of our children. Please take a stand with us.
- Green Gal Next Door Lori Petitions P&G: Remove Bad Chem for Babies
- Do You Know What Lurks in your Make-up Drawer?
- The Beauty Industry’s Ugliness Revealed by “Not Just a Pretty Face”
- EWG is the Deep Throat of the Personal Care Industry with its Launch of Skin Deep 3.0
- HealthyToys Implements HealthyStuff.org which Tests Your Stuff