This post by Jess Trev is in response to a comment on yesterday's post about potential carcinogens in bubble bath.
I do not have a degree in chemisty. You know what? Neither do many other parents. That is why it is *so annoying* that you need to have one to determine whether or not children's personal care products are hazardous. I'd like to know just by looking at the label that my kids are safe.
I think this very issue underscores the need for the Kid Safe Chemicals Act. Is the formaldehyde in J&J products a health issue? Possibly. Is 1,4 dioxane a known carcinogen? Yes. It may be present in small amounts and we may be talking about cumulative exposure. But do we really need these ingredients -- or phthalates -- in baby bath? The problem for me, in fact, is that none of these possible safety concerns show up on the product label.
I mean, seriously. The issue is whether there are trace amounts of known carcinogens in baby bath. And whether or not J&J and other companies even let us consumers/parents know if it's in there!
Babies are smaller, at a critical stage in their development. I read the counter arguments to challenging the use of formaldehyde in personal care products (preservatives are necessary, and contamination may cause blinding). Really? There is no way to produce baby bubble bath without using known carcinogens as preservatives? Or is it that it saves the company money to use known carcinogens rather than having a shorter product shelf life?
When my first baby was born, I didn't use soap or any products at all on her for maybe six months. My pediatrician (a homeopathy-leaning wonderful woman) laughed hard, and said, "hey, maybe you can use it once a week?!" so I definitely come from the "less is more" perspective.
I guess I would give the companies more wiggle room if it were, I don't know, hair mousse that adults use. You could choose not to use it, you could choose a different brand, you could decide having great hair days was worth the risk. Bubble bath for kids? Seems like it can be a simple recipe. And it seems like the choices ought to be clear for parents. I personally want any risky ingredients out of my baby's bathtub. Other parents might have a different risk tolerance. Why not tell parents what choices they are making? Put the ingredients and any potential carcinogens created as by-products of the manufacturing process right there on the label where mom and dad can see them. I'd like to eyeball those choices up front before I slap my money down.