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For Immediate Release: April 29th, 2009
Contact:  Stacy Malkan, 202-321-6963, stacy@safecosmetics.org; Stephenie Hendricks, 415-258-9151, stephdh@earthlink.net

New Federal Legislation Targets Toxic Chemicals in Baby Bath Products

Sen. Gillibrand’s Bill Directs Cosmetic Industry to Clean Up Its Act

New York – Today, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) took action to protect children’s health by introducing the Safe Baby Products Act, which directs the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate and regulate hazardous contaminants in personal care products marketed to or used by children.

Gillibrand introduced the bill in response to a study by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which revealed that many widely used baby shampoos and bubble baths are contaminated with the cancer-causing chemicals formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane. The chemicals are not listed on labels because contaminants are exempt from labeling laws.

The Safe Baby Products Act directs FDA to test a wide range of children’s personal care products, publicly report the findings, and establish good manufacturing practices to reduce or eliminate hazardous contaminants from products.

“We applaud Senator Gillibrand for being a champion for children’s health,” said Lisa Archer, national coordinator of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “This bill is a good step forward, as it would give parents the right to know what’s in the bath products they use on their kids, and would give the FDA the authority to keep dangerous chemicals out of children’s bath products. Next, we need to overhaul cosmetics laws so the FDA can fully assess and assure the safety of all personal care products.”  

Gillibrand announced the Safe Baby Products Act at a press conference in New York on Monday, along with parents, medical professionals and advocacy groups. The Senator decided to take action after reading the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ report “No More Toxic Tub” (www.SafeCosmetics.org/toxictub).

“Like many other mothers, when I read the list of these products, I immediately began to worry that I had been using some of these same products for my own children,” said Sen. Gillibrand.  “This common sense legislation will ensure that we have all the facts about the baby soap and lotions that we use on our children.”

There are no safety standards for formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane in personal care products sold in the United States.

The European Union has banned 1,4-dioxane from personal care products and has recalled products containing it. Formaldehyde is banned from personal care products in Japan and Sweden, and restricted in the EU and Canada.

Click here to read the complete bill text
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Founding members of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics include: Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, Breast Cancer Fund, Clean Water Fund, Commonweal, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, National Black Environmental Justice Network, National Environmental Trust and Women's Voices for the Earth. www.SafeCosmetics.org