Cancer Causing Chemicals In Bath Products?

Published: Mar. 21, 2007 at 9:41 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 23, 2007 at 8:12 AM CDT
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The characters are irresistible to your child, but a new study reveals there's a suspected human cancer-causing chemical inside millions of bottles of bubbles.

Rachel Shults has a 20 month old son and another child on the way.  She says hearing the claim is horrifying.

"It makes me want to go home and check the products that I do have and dispose of them immediately," says Shults.

In the new book, A Safe Trip To Eden, the author had a number of personal care products tested for the contaminant 1,4-Dioxane.

The FDA recommends a maximum of 10 parts per million (ppm) of the contaminant. The author says of the products tested, 15% exceeded that recommendation.

Among the children's products, the Hello Kitty Bubble Bath was the worst offender. It was found to have 12ppm, 20 percent more than the FDA recommendation. The chemical was also found in some adult products.

Clairol Herbal Essences Rainforest Shampoo and Olay Complete Body Wash with vitamins both had nearly two and a half times the FDA recommendation.

Dr. Debra Cherry is an environmental scientist with UT Health Center. She says parents don't necessarily have to throw all of the products away just because they contain dioxane.

"It is a carcinogen in animals, but usually, it's given in high doses under unusual conditions of exposure where maybe the rats will eat large quantities of it," says Cherry.

Dr. Cherry says there is little information about the effects of long term exposure to the small amounts of dioxane contained in the bath product.  But, she does say it would be better if the chemical were not present at all.

You won't see 1,4-Dioxane listed as an ingredient on any of the bath products. The companies do not have to label them, because the contaminant is a bi-product of the manufacturing process.

Dr. Cherry says there's no way of knowing if any personal care product is completely free of the contaminant, even those that are certified organic.

Baby & Children's Consumer Products


 Disney Clean as Can Bee Hair & Body Wash (Water Jel Technologies)  8.8 ppm
 Disney Pixar Cars Piston Cup Bubble Bath (MZB Personal Care)  2.2 ppm
 Gerber Grins & Giggles Gentle & Mild Aloe Vera Baby Shampoo  8.4 ppm
 Hello Kitty Bubble Bath (Kid Care)  12 ppm*
 Huggies Baby Wash Shea Butter  4.0 ppm
 Huggies Natural Care Baby Wash Extra Gentle and Tear Free  4.2 ppm
 Johnson's Head-to-Toe Baby Wash (Johnson & Johnson)  5.3 ppm to 6.1 ppm
 Johnson's Kids Tigger Bath Bubbles (Johnson & Johnson)  5.6 ppm to 7.9 ppm
 Johnson's Kids Shampoo Watermelon Explosion (Johnson & Johnson)  10 ppm*
 Lil' Bratz Mild Bubble Bath (Kid Care)  3.7 ppm
 L'Oreal Kids Orange Mango Smoothie Shampoo  2.0 ppm
 Mr. Bubble Bubble Bath Gentle Formula with Aloe  1.5 ppm
 Rite-Aid Tearless Baby Shampoo  4.3 ppm
 Scooby-Doo Mild Bubble Bath (Kid Care)  3.0 ppm
 Sesame Street Wet Wild Watermelon Bubble Bath (The Village Company)  7.4 ppm
Adult Consumer Products  
 Clairol Herbal Essences Rainforest Flowers Shampoo  23 ppm*
 Olay Complete Body Wash with Vitamins (normal skin)  23 ppm*
 Suave Naturals Passion Flower  2.0 ppm
 *Product was at or above FDA maximum

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporter: