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Minnesota Legislature Votes to Ban Formaldehyde in Children’s Soaps, Lotions

Congressional Action Needed to Protect Children Across America

Contact: Margie Kelly, 541-222-9699, mkelly@breastcancerfund.org
May 6th, 2013

Minnesota’s legislature took a giant step toward protecting children by banning formaldehyde, a cancer-causing chemical, from children’s personal care products like lotions, shampoos, and bubble baths. The ban against the use of formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives would apply to products intended for children under eight. The legislation now moves to the desk of Governor Mark Dayton.

“Minnesota’s proposed ban on formaldehyde in children’s products is fantastic news for parents in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but families in the other 49 states also deserve safe products free of cancer-causing chemicals like formaldehyde,” said Cindy Luppi with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and Clean Water Action. “We need Congress to pass the Safe Cosmetics Act that would protect children across America from personal care products made with toxic chemicals linked to serious health disorders and diseases.”

Consumer demand for safer products, especially for children, is changing the marketplace.

In 2011, Johnson & Johnson committed to reformulating its baby products to remove formaldehyde. Last year, the company set an industry standard by announcing it would remove known carcinogens and other toxic chemicals from both its baby and adult products by 2015.

“There’s no reason for formaldehyde-releasing chemicals to be in products that children inhale and absorb through their skin. Safer alternatives are available and being used by some manufacturers. This bill takes an important step in protecting young children who could suffer health effects from exposure to toxic formaldehyde,” said Kathleen Schuler, Co-Director of Healthy Legacy, the Minnesota environmental health coalition supporting the legislation.

Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are used in many personal care products, particularly shampoos and lotions, and have been linked to both skin sensitivity and cancer. The European Union restricts the use of formaldehyde in personal care products, and requires that products with formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasing ingredients carry the label “contains formaldehyde.”

Congress has yet to act to remove dangerous chemicals from personal care products. Legislation introduced earlier this year, the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2013, will phase out chemicals linked to cancer and reproductive harm; implement a strong safety standard designed to protect children, pregnant women and workers; require full disclosure of ingredients; and give FDA the authority to recall dangerous products.

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The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a national coalition of more than 175 nonprofit organizations working to protect the health of consumers and workers by eliminating dangerous chemicals from cosmetics.