Study Shows Infants Exposed to Reproductive Toxins from Shampoo, Lotion, and Powder

WASHINGTON – Environmental Working Group (EWG) Vice President for Research Jane Houlihan issued the following statement in response to a study appearing today in the journal Pediatrics showing for the first time that infants are exposed to potent reproductive toxins called phthalates from everyday baby products, including shampoo, lotion, and powder.

"This new research provides strong evidence that phthalates in baby products end up inside babies’ bodies, where they pose real-world risks for reproductive system damage among baby boys. We hope these results spur companies to remove phthalates from products sold in the U.S. Many of these same chemicals are banned from baby products in other countries. There is no justification for keeping them on the shelves here,” said Jane Houlihan, Vice President for Research of Environmental Working Group.

Unlike for food additives and drugs, cosmetic companies aren’t required to test their products for safety before they are sold. “This study confirms that it’s high time for Congress to update standards for cosmetics, and require that companies prove their products are safe for children before they go on store shelves,” added Houlihan.

An EWG study found that personal care products expose children to an average of 60 chemicals every day that they can breathe in or that absorb through their skin. EWG product testing, conducted in partnership with Health Care Without Harm and other members of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, showed phthalates in three-quarters of 72 name-brand products tested. Because federal law contains no safety standard for cosmetics, it is legal for companies to use ingredients that are reproductive toxins like phthalates, carcinogens, and other potentially harmful substances.

EWG publishes an online safety guide for more than 27,000 personal care products, including a wide range of baby products, with safety information for not only phthalates but also more than 7,000 other product ingredients.


EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment.

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