Sunday, August 05, 2007


There's nothing like finding out that your baby's bubble bath has cancer-causing agents in it to scare a mom shitless and make her madder than hell.

Well, I am officially pissed off. Because, apparently, I've been using carcinogenic shampoo on my son since he was an infant. Thank you, Johnson and Johnson.

From the press release:

Laboratory tests released today revealed the presence of 1,4-Dioxane in products such as Hello Kitty Bubble Bath, Huggies Baby Wash, Johnson’s Baby Wash, Scooby-Doo Bubble Bath and Sesame Street Bubble Bath. The tests also found the carcinogen in Clairol Herbal Essences shampoo, Olay Complete Body Wash and many other personal care products....“Regrettably, 1,4-Dioxane contamination is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Jeanne Rizzo, R.N., executive director of the Breast Cancer Fund, a founding member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “Because the FDA does not require cosmetics products to be approved as safe before they are sold, companies can put unlimited amounts of toxic chemicals in cosmetics.”

Everyone can now join me in a collective, What the fuck??

I'm sorry, but how is it that the ingredients in our cosmetics products (which include shampoo, body lotion, make-up, bubble bath, hair gel, nail polish, moisturizer, sunscreen and like a bazillion other products) ARE NOT REVIEWED OR REGULATED FOR SAFETY BY OUR GOVERNMENT BEFORE BEING SOLD TO THE PUBLIC?

I mean, is this a joke?

What is happening in this country when we are allowing our children to be put at risk like this?

Where is the uproar?

Because things just seem to be getting out of control. I feel like we live in a completely toxic environment. Everywhere we turn, we are finding out that what we touch, breathe, eat, and play with can literally kill us.

Use Hello Kitty Bubble Bath on your kid for the last five years? Watch out for cancer!

Just bought a Sesame Street Shape Sorter or a Birthday Dora? Watch out for lead poisoning!

Happen to live near fields where farmers are using pesticides? Hello autism.

Use a laser printer at work? You might as well be smoking cigarettes. (That is, unless you ask a manufacturer of laser printers- in which case, they're perfectly safe.)

Plan to take your kids on a cross-country trip in your new RV? Might want to think twice. You could be embalmed in it.

I mean, is nothing safe anymore?

I don't know about you, but I've had enough. I feel like we're sitting ducks - unable to truly know what is and isn't safe anymore. I feel like our government isn't being tough enough with its product regulations to keep our children safe. Yeah, I know I'm taking the cynical view, and perhaps the cliched view, that money talks and that governments are often beholden more to big business than to the public they are supposed to serve. And that they look the other way sometimes - or a lot of times - even when they know something isn't right.

That is, until some non-profit or university has the funding and the balls to investigate an issue on their own and then the shit hits the fan and then the government has to act.

But by then my kid has been sucking on his Made-in-China lead-laden stacking rings and bathing in toxic bubble bath for two years.

And it makes me feel helpless. And pissed off. And helpless.

Because I realize that I can't protect my children from everything. And somehow, lately, it seems like everything is what they need protection from.
Edited to add: Click here for Part II of this post, which discusses the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database - a quick and easy online tool you can use to help determine whether your family's body products (sunscreens, lotions, shampoos, toothpaste etc.) are toxic or not. Or just go straight to the database and start searching now. You can find it here.


Anonymous Izzy said...

I feel exactly the same. It makes me sick to think that our government cares so little about us. You'll go to jail for a decade for selling some marijuana but any corporation can poison us and the government completely doesn't care.

I've been avoiding bisphenols (BPAs) and parabens but I had no idea that I've been bathing my children in poison for the last seven years with dioxane. It's disgusting.

If you ever want to re-post this on Props and Pans, you're mre than welcome. I get a lot of "corporate" traffic there, including Johnson & Johnson. Greedy bastards.

I'm moving to Europe.

5:52 AM  
Anonymous Karly said...

I don't even know what to say to this. Your last two paragraphs pretty much sums it all up.

7:19 AM  
Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

Yeah, this is exactly how I feel.

7:31 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yep, it's crazy isn't it? The government protects corporations more than their people.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Petite Mom Blogger said...

I have a laser printer at home right beside me. Ugh! And I'm almost too scared to eat canned foods anymore.

I didn't know about these ingredients in the shampoos and body wash. Oh My!

7:58 AM  
Blogger Kyla said...

Exactly. Exactly. How can they not tell us? How do they let these products be sold? TO BABIES no less. Ack. It is maddening.

Technical question, is Dioxane listed on the label as "dioxane'?

8:04 AM  
Blogger Kyla said...

This is helpful, too.

If you click on Baby Wash, it shows what hazard level each product is at.

8:06 AM  
Anonymous anne at said...

This is so well put - things like this make it hard for me to write as well as you do on the matter.

Between this stupid war, our terrible international relations, and the way our own country hardly seems interested in protecting us... I don't know. Eight years ago, I was concerned about blow jobs. Now I wonder how long it will take to get this country back out the shambles it seems to be falling into.

8:17 AM  
Anonymous andi said...

Is there anything that doesn't cause cancer? I too am so sick of all of this. If they know it's harmful, why is all this crap still in so many of the products we use every day? It's enough to make a girl totally paranoid.

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Momish said...

It is scary and one would think that the people making the decisions at these companies have children and care for their own safety as well. I just don't get it.

I join in that WTF?

10:22 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

Okay you'll get it from me. WTF??!!

It's enough to make me want to live on a commune and grow all my own food and only bathe once every two weeks.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Belinda said...

I *do* make my own soap. Nothing you buy at the store can even legally be called "soap" according to the FDA--they're all "detergent bars" and fall under the realm of cosmetics. The soap I used for Bella as a babe was made of pure olive oil. And she has begged me her whole life for bubble bath, and thinks I'm the meanest mommy in the world for not letting her have it.

I was just ranting to my husband about how lead paint was banned in the rest of the world in the 30's, but not in the U.S. until the 70's...and IT'S STILL BEING USED, on children's toys, no less. This country is NOT a democracy. It's run by lobbyists. By money. And we're the ones footing the bill.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous fidget said...

have you see this?

it will tell you every minuet detail of what is in your beauty / skin products and you can make an informed decision.

i found out the sunscreen we used was ranked an 8 out of 10 on the scale with 10 being the worst. I could not believe i have been a) slathering my children with that and b) yelling aat my DH for not wearing it enough (he works outside 6 days a week)

3:41 PM  
Anonymous fidget said...

skin deep

sorry forgot to format it, here's the link

3:44 PM  
Blogger kgirl said...

So disgusting. This is why I spend $30 on sunscreen for Bee.
Check out for lots of great (and scary) information on what exactly we are putting on, in or near our body.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

Yes, I love the Skin Deep Database! I've been obsessed with it since I found it a few months ago. I'm going to dedicate a post to it next.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Pumpkin said...

Oh. My. God.

I am speechless....literally speechless......need to check that list out for myself...I've used Johnson and Johnson on my son too.

Should we rename you Erin Brockovitch?

Thankyou for this post!!!

12:10 AM  
Anonymous Much More Than A Mom said...

Amen sister. I'd also welcome a cross post at The Opinionated Parent.

I only use organic/homemade body products now on us and the kiddos - it's just too scary.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous pinks & blues girls said...

Oh my gosh, it really is so freaking scary that we don't have a clue what we're putting in our or our loved ones's bodies. You really do start to feel like NOTHING is safe. Not good.

Jane, P&B Girls

10:37 AM  
Blogger Slackermommy said...

That's scary! I use just about every one of those products on my family. Is anything safe anymore?!

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Amen, sister. I pay SO much more attention now to what I buy, and where it comes from. But this I never expected.

11:07 AM  
Blogger jen said...

i am grabbing this for our August Just Post roundtable sister. it's absolutely infuriating.

3:14 PM  
Blogger AmandaD said...

Shit, shit, shit!

I never cease to be amazed and disillusioned by the unconscionable things companies do, misleading us, but worse than that, knowingly hurting our children.

Damn! Thank you for this post, thank you for your passion.

You've just single handedly whisked two, ringlet tressed little girls with wide innocent eyes from a sinister pool of carcinogens.

5:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I could almost cry. I can't believe I have been putting my children in harm's way. The thought that they might have an illness down the road (from baby wash, sunscreen, and shampoo no less) just sickens me. The people who put these products on the shelves are irresponsible and money-hungry. I am sending this post to every mother I know.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Jenny said...

I'm going to throw up I am so pissed.

I can't even talk.

8:48 AM  
Anonymous swamp witch said...

Thanks for the info. I'm on the phone to our daughters with babies as we speak.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Magpie said...

Great post. This whole thing is so depressing.

1:12 PM  
Anonymous TB said...

I agree this stuff is all very frightening and it further proves how important it is to be an informed consumer. Based on your post, I'd be interested to know your thoughts on immunization, a topic that's been on my mind (and in my blog) lately.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Is there another name for this awful stuff. I have read almost every bottle of every brand of baby wash, shampoo and lotion and cannot find 1,4-dioxane on any label. Help.

8:33 AM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

Hi Elizabeth,

The reason why you don't see it listed is because it is not required to be listed by the FDA so you'll probably never see it in the ingredients, even though it could be there.

Here is what the press release says:

"1,4-Dioxane is a petroleum-derived contaminant considered a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a clear-cut animal carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program. It is also on California’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known or suspected by the state to cause cancer or birth defects. Because it is a contaminant produced during manufacturing, the FDA does not require it to be listed as an ingredient on product labels."

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just want to tell all the young girls who are raising children to lighten up!! Believe that someone with a higher power than you will protect you and your family. Get off the internet quit watching the news and start growing a garden with vegetables. Gardening will take your mind off such mind blowing news. My grandmother is 95 years old and I am sure she lived in a house coated with lead paint but she did raise her own chickens, hung out her laundry and had a huge vegetable garden. With all that hard work she must have sweat out those nasty toxins that give you cancer. Oh yes, she raised 5 children and if I had to guess her husband made maybe $25,000 at his top salary. It can be done. Stop looking for those high paid jobs and start looking at options to keep the mind and soul very simple. Think about the stress those top executives are now facing with all the recalls going on. No amount of money would be worth that stress and I am sure they all have their own children and grandchildren to think about.

6:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Just incase it is of any interest to you, a while back i came across a british labels company who sold me a batch of laser labels for a really low price. If you are at all interested then it may be worth taking a look at their website.

4:51 AM  

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