Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What is safe?

So I'm reading the local paper while I eat dinner tonight and run across an article titled "J&J formulas questioned."

Upon further reading I found out that the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics sent a letter to Johnson & Johnson to remove 1,4-dioxane and preservatives that released formaldehyde from its personal-care products.

This is where I admit my ignorance, what the hell is 1,4-dioxane?

I had to google it.

According to Wikipedia, it's defined as: 1,4-Dioxane, often just called dioxane, is a clear, colorless heterocyclic organic compound which is a liquid at room temperature and pressure. It has the molecular formula C4H8O2 and a boiling point of 101 °C. It is commonly used as an aprotic solvent. 1,4-Dioxane has a weak smell similar to that of diethyl ether. There are also two other less common isomeric compounds, 1,2-dioxane and 1,3-dioxane. 1,2-Dioxane is a peroxide which forms naturally in old bottles of tetrahydrofuran.
1,4-Dioxane is classified as an ether, with each of its two oxygen atoms forming an ether functional group. It is more polar than diethyl ether, which also has four carbons, but only one ether functional group. Diethyl ether is rather insoluble in water, but 1,4-dioxane is miscible with water and is hygroscopic. Its higher polarity and slightly higher molecular mass also gives it a substantially higher boiling point than diethyl ether. When used as a solvent for a Grignard reaction, Dioxane favorably affects the formation of magnesium halide salts in the Schlenk equilibrium.
The name dioxane should not be confused with dioxin, which is a different compound but is also a diether (two ether functional groups).

And here's where I admit my stupidity again, because I read that and was still like: Huh?

Upon further research, I found this from the SafeMama website: "Formaldehyde contaminates personal care products when common preservatives release formaldehyde over time in the container. Common ingredients likely to contaminate products with formaldehyde include quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea.

1,4-dioxane is a byproduct of a chemical processing technique called ethoxylation, in which cosmetic ingredients are processed with ethylene oxide. Manufacturers can easily remove the toxic byproduct, but are not required by law to do so. Common ingredients likely to be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane include PEG-100 stearate, sodium laureth sulfate, polyethylene and ceteareth-20."

It all sounds horrible to me, especially because in the article from my local paper it states: (the) two chemicals (are) suspected of causing cancer."

I ran into the shower and quickly read all the labels on the products I use for my baby. Of course, none of them mentioned 1,4-dioxane but the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics recently issued a report that stated an independent laboratory had tested 48 products for 1,4-dioxane; 28 of those products were also tested for formaldehyde.

The report found that:
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.

Some of the products in my shower where listed on that report.

Now, Johnson & Johnson's website says the following about 1,4-dioxane: Some of the ingredients in our products may contain 1,4-dioxane as an incidental ingredient at extremely low levels. This trace ingredient is common in the personal care industry, and results from a process that makes products mild for even the most delicate skin. 1,4-dioxane is also a natural component of such food products as vine-ripened tomatoes and tomato products, fresh shrimp, brewed coffee and fried chicken. Recently, several environmental activist groups erroneously claimed that in 1985 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked the cosmetics/personal care industry to voluntarily limit 1,4-dioxane to a certain level. However, the FDA has set no limits for 1,4-dioxane in cosmetics and personal care products, and the low levels in some of our products present no risk to consumers. Test results recently released by these groups state that some shampoos and bath products contain trace amounts of 1,4-dioxane. We are unclear as to the testing methodology used by these groups and cannot verify the data that was listed in their press release.

I don't know about you, but it all sounds funny to me. I'm planning on switching up all of my daughter's baby-care products to those the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has deemed safe for my child.

I'm also going to be writing to my Congress and joining the NO MORE TOXIC TUB FOR BABY movement.

Let's see if we can get these toxic chemicals out of our children's personal care products.


Amanda said...

I'm a stickler for using all natural bathing products....especially for my daughter. Earth Mama Angel Baby (EMAB) Products are pure, natural & organic....every single ingredient is disclosed (you won;t find terms listed such as "fragrance/perfume" or "other natural ingredients"....what the heck is that supposed to mean anyways!!!) You can buy their products directly from them, or you can go to Kelly's Closet (go through their button on my blog) and even Babies R Us has started carrying some of their stuff (more for Mom care than baby though). Great, SAFE products!

And not to make your brain totally spin but, you may also want to consider the safety/toxicity of your household cleaning products too. Especially the ones you use in areas that your daughter comes into contact with.

MamabearMills said...

I know all this stuff is bad, but the air we breath is bad enough. I can't live my life being scared of everything. Ya know what I mean? COnsider the stuff our parents used on us and so forth.

Mindy said...

My mom doesn't understand why I won't use J&J because of that fact. You can visit and scare the crap out of yourself further by reading about anything from baby stuff to your own shower products.