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Experts may test baby bath products

BABY products from Johnson & Johnson may be tested by experts from Shanghai's food and drug administration after a report that they contain chemicals which could cause cancer.

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a non-profit US organization, found formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane in "dozens of top-selling children's bath products" including products from Johnson's and Procter & Gamble, it said in a report released last week.

The P&G products mentioned in the report are not sold on China's mainland.

"Formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane are not included in the daily testing procedures of quarantine and inspection institutions," said Gu Zhenhua, an official with the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration. "However, we'll look into the situation to decide whether to check these baby products."

An official from one of the Shanghai branches of Auchan (China) Investment Co, which runs a chain of supermarkets in the city, said sales of Johnson & Johnson products had been unaffected and they wouldn't withdraw the products from the shelves.

Safety limits

After the report came out, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies Inc issued a statement saying that the trace levels of the compounds found by the organization were within safety limits. It also added that all their products met or exceeded the regulatory requirements in every country where they were sold.

The report said 17 out of the 28 products tested contained both 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde, including Johnson & Johnson's Baby Shampoo and Sesame Street Bubble Bath.

A total of 23 out of the 28 products tested contained formaldehyde and 13 of them had levels of formaldehyde above 250ppm, which could trigger a reaction in sensitized people.

"The problem is that the same toxic chemicals are found in many products, and these small exposures can add up," said Stacy Malkan, co-founder of Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. "It is a good idea to use fewer products on babies overall," she said.

Experts consider 1,4-dioxane, widely recognized as a carcinogen in animal studies, to be a potential human carcinogen.

Formaldehyde in cosmetics is widely understood to cause allergic skin reactions and rashes in some people.


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