Rutgers Public Health Expert Available to Discuss How Consumers Can Be Aware of Ingredients in Personal Care Products After News of Possible Asbestos in Baby Powder

New Brunswick, N.J. (Dec. 18, 2018) – A Rutgers public health expert is available to discuss how consumers can educate themselves on personal care and household products, following news that Johnson & Johnson baby powder might have contained or been contaminated with small amounts of asbestos, a known carcinogen.

“The revelation that there may have been asbestos in baby powder is a wake-up call for people to know what is in the products they are buying,” says Emily Barrett, an Associate Professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at Rutgers School of Public Health and faculty member at Rutgers Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute. 

“Consumers must be skeptical when it comes to personal care products. Lotions, powders and cosmetics contain chemicals that can get into our bodies. Some of these chemicals have been linked to cancers or reproductive issues, while the possible health effects of others haven’t been studied. There is no foolproof way to know what’s safe, but reading ingredient labels to look for chemicals like triclosan, parabens, and oxybenzone is a good habit. Also, the Environmental Working Group’s ‘Skin Deep’ Cosmetics Database is a great resource for understanding what’s in the personal care products we choose.”

Barrett can be reached at (848) 445-0197 or at [email protected].




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Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) takes an integrated approach to educating students, providing clinical care and conducting research, all with the goal of improving human health. Aligned with Rutgers University–New Brunswick, and collaborating university-wide, RBHS includes eight schools, a behavioral health network and four centers and institutes. RBHS offers an outstanding education in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, public health, nursing, biomedical research and the full spectrum of allied health careers. RBHS clinical and academic facilities are located throughout the state.