According to the EPA, only 11% of the 10,000+ chemicals used in personal care products have been evaluated with regards to human health. Many of these unregulated chemicals have the potential to cause serious harm. Sodium lauryl sulfate, for example, is found in shampoos and conditioners and causes dangerous hormonal disruption. Formaldehyde, also in shampoos, causes irritation of the eyes and skin and has shown carcinogenic activity. Additionally, foaming shower products are likely to contain chemicals called ethanolamines, which result in liver and kidney damage.
These chemicals can be harmful to the environment as well. Everything that goes down our drains eventually ends up in our oceans and other water bodies, and their ecosystems. Antibacterial soaps and many other cleaning solvents contain chemicals that never degrade, and are harmful to aquatic life. With few pristine water bodies left in the world, it is especially important to monitor the use of these ingredients.http://greenopedia.com/article/avoiding-toxins-bath-products
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WebMD News Archive
March 12, 2009 — You aren’t likely to see the chemicals formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane listed on the labels of baby bath products, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there, a consumer group is warning.
More than half of children’s bath soaps, shampoos, lotions, and other personal care products tested by the group Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC) were found to contain 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde, according to a report released today.
Both of the chemicals are considered probable carcinogens by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Because they are not intentionally added by manufacturers, there is no requirement that product labels list the chemicals when they are present.
There are also no federal restrictions on allowable levels of the chemicals in body care products, but several other countries do not allow the chemicals at any level.
The European Union has banned 1,4-dioxane from cosmetic products. And formaldehyde is not allowed in cosmetics sold in Japan and Sweden.
“Manufacturers could easily remove these toxic byproducts, but they are not required to do so under federal cosmetics safety standards,” Sonya Lunder, MPH, of CSC and the Environmental Working Group tells WebMD