Call me crazy but I don't think a person should need a PhD in chemistry to shop for bubble bath. But apparently you do. Not only do you need to understand what those largely unpronounceable ingredients really are, but you also have to know what chemical reactions might happen if more than one ingredient is combined or when they break down over time.
Take a guess on which of these two ingredients is a toxic chemical and which is a natural substance: diazolidinyl urea or potassium cocoate? It’s hard to tell if you’re not a chemist. Turns out that diazolidinyl urea is a chemical preservative (and a known human carcinogen) that can break down into formaldehyde in products. Potassium cocoate is a natural salt derived from coconut and used as an emulsifier in many natural body care products. See what I mean?
And shopping at a co-op or Whole Foods doesn't necessarily save you from this guessing game. Even the 'natural' products out there contain ingredients that sound like chemicals. I've written before about how these toxic chems may be in so called 'natural' body care products and how much it frustrates me. The latest findings from the Campaign for Cosmetic Safety didn't help. The No More Toxic Tub report showed that a surprising number of bath products for infants and children contain known carcinogens - namely formaldehyde and 1,4 Dioxane. It's hard enough to find the time to shop - why should we need to scour the labels at the store to make sure products are safe for our kiddos? That's insane!
What can you do about it?
- Sign the declaration for the Kids Safe Chemicals Act - to let our elected officials know that it's not OK to sell toxic body care for kids.
- You can also send a message to congress through the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
- Stick to simple liquid castile soap like Dr. Bronners (Trader Joe's makes a version of this too)
- Use the Skin Deep database to find the safest products.
There's been a lot of collective outrage about this lately...on twitter and on the blogs. The Green Moms are blogging about it this week. Head over to Green&Clean Mom on Wednesday, April 1st to read more perspectives about this issue and also about the controversy over Johnson & Johnson's Big Bubblin' Stars Contest (they're one of the brands mentioned in the Toxic Tub report...and probably the most commonly used bath products in the U.S.)
Let's do what we can to make bath time fun again!