ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Acupuncture May Trigger Natural Painkiller
The Zen Way to Pain Relief
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
Gene Therapy May Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis
CANCER
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
Family History Key Player in Brain Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Robots May Come to Aging Boomers' Rescue
Flu Strikes a Milder Blow This Season
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
DIABETES
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
DIET, NUTRITION
TV Food Ads Promote Bad Diets
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Many Kids Don't Need the Vitamins They're Taking
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Preparing for a Chlorine Gas Disaster
Gas Stove Emissions Boost Asthma in Inner-City Kids
EYE CARE, VISION
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
FITNESS
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Treat symptoms (result of disease) or diagnose systems (cause of disease)?
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
Irregular Heartbeat Tied to Alzheimer's Disease
A Little Alcohol May Help the Heart: Studies
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Protect Your Kids From Swine Flu While at Camp
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
Gene Variation Found in Boys With Delinquent Peers
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
SENIORS
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
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Children's Bath Products Contain Contaminants

THURSDAY, March 12 (HealthDay News) -- Many baby and child-care products contain the chemicals formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, both of which have been linked to cancer and various skin conditions, a new report contends.

But the chemicals aren't listed on the labels of bubble bath, shampoo and other common products, according to the report from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetic Use.

"Companies can obviously do better, and we need to demand that they do better," said Stacy Malkan, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetic Use and co-author of the report, released Thursday. "Many companies are already making great products that don't have any of these chemicals [and] many companies in the natural products industry have reformulated to get rid of that problem. We also know many companies are using preservatives that don't use formaldehyde."

According to the authors, the report, called No More Toxic Tub, is the first to document contamination of children's products with these chemicals. The Environmental Working Group was involved in the analyses.

Both formaldehyde and dioxane are considered "contaminants," Malkan said.

A contaminant "is a chemical that is not intentionally added to the product but is a byproduct," she said. "Those are all exempt from labeling laws ... Companies don't even have to know themselves."

Dioxane is a byproduct of chemical processing and formaldehyde is released from some of the chemicals that are used as preservatives, Malkan said.

John Bailey is chief scientist for the Personal Care Products Council, a national trade association for the cosmetic and personal care products industry. Responding to the report, he said, "These are issues that have been around for many, many years, so it's not new news. The thing that impressed me was the low levels of dioxane that were found in these products, which indicates to me that the industry is doing its job in keeping this potential contaminant down to a low level."

Bailey also said there were wasn't enough information in the report to gauge how accurate the determinations of formaldehyde levels were.

Malkan and her co-authors tested 48 bubble baths, shampoos and other baby and children's products for dioxane and 28 of those products for formaldehyde. The testing was done by an independent laboratory, Analytical Sciences in Petulama, Calif.

Among their findings:

* Almost two-thirds of the 28 products contained both chemicals, including Johnson's Baby Shampoo and Huggies Naturally Refreshing Cucumber & Green Tea Baby Wash.
* Eighty-two percent of products tested contained formaldehyde; the highest levels were found in Baby Magic Baby Lotion.
* American Girl shower products had the highest levels of dioxane among products tested.

"The good news is that there are great products without any of these chemicals," Malkan said. "The challenge is you have to do some research to find them. It's not a simple matter of looking at the label."

According to Malkan, the U.S. Department of Agriculture "organic seal" indicates that none of these chemicals are present.

"The best advice for consumers is that simple is better, products with fewer ingredients overall," she said. "There are things consumers can do to make better choices at the store but we also need to change regulations and require companies to list all ingredients in the products and to make the safest products they can, especially products for babies."

Harmful chemicals and contaminants in children's products is a subject of continuing controversy. Earlier this week, it was announced that baby bottles made with the controversial chemical bisphenol A (BPA) will no longer be sold in the United States by the six largest manufacturers of the products.

BPA, which is found in a wide range of products, mimics the hormone estrogen and may disrupt the body's endocrine system. The chemical poses a particular threat to fetuses, infants and children because it can interfere with cell function when their bodies are still developing, public health experts say. The chemical has been linked with diabetes, heart disease, cancer and developmental delays in children.

-Amanda Gardner

More information

Get more information on what's in a product, or information on products containing no chemicals at all, at the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database.



SOURCES: Stacy Malkan, co-founder and spokeswoman, Campaign for Safe Cosmetic Use; John Bailey, Ph.D., chief scientist, Personal Care Products Council, Washington, D.C.; March 12, 2009, No More Toxic Tub

Last Updated: March 13, 2009

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