WASHINGTON - Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand demanded Monday that the Food and Drug Administration exercise greater oversight of baby care products in reaction to an advocacy group's report that said the products contain potentially harmful materials.
The New York Democrat wrote the FDA after the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics said last week its research had found "dozens of top-selling children's bath products are contaminated with the cancer-causing chemicals" formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane.
The cosmetics industry said only trace elements of those materials are present and denied personal products are dangerous. The FDA said it has found no evidence those materials in cosmetics are harmful.
But Gillibrand, the mother of two children, said in the letter the report raised "deep concerns about the safety" of child
"I find it to be unacceptable that the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate personal care products as it does food and drugs," her letter said. "As a result, baby soap, lotions and other products are contaminated with deadly chemicals."
The campaign's report said it found 32 of the 48 products it tested had 1,4-dioxane. It also found 23 of the 28 products it tested had formaldehyde; 17 products had both materials.
"Those small exposures add up and may contribute to later-life disease," it said.
Kwisnek said the FDA has monitored 1,4-dioxane since the 1970s and its presence in products has declined and is not considered harmful.
"Formaldehyde is not prohibited or restricted as a cosmetic ingredient by regulation," she added, because the FDA has not found cosmetics containing it "to be harmful or injurious."