Jessica Alba Leads Mommy War on Synthetic Chemicals


She is also part chemical policeman, part personal coach, going to clients' homes, looking at the products they use around their house, from the kitchen to the nursery, and offering what she said are safer alternatives.

"Just because it's sold in a store, just because you're seen it on TV or in a magazine, doesn't mean that there's been any kind of regulation for that product, for the specific ingredients inside it," she said.

Both Ziff and Gavigan agree about scented lotions.

"Fragrances, they're qualified as trade secret industry of personal care. So a company does not have to disclose what's inside a fragrance," Gavigan said. "The reality is, that can be 150 more ingredients on this label."

But is all this worry an over reaction? U.S. manufacturers say their products are safe. According to the American Chemistry Council, "more than a dozen federal laws govern the manufacture and use of chemicals, and consumers can have confidence that chemistries in everyday products are being used safely."

Many people agree. Merrick White, a mother of two living in Huntington Beach, Calif., said she wasn't worried about the conventional products she uses in her home.

"The things that I use, as far as I know, do not have chemicals that harm my family, and they work for us and so I'm not willing to pay more for products that are just organic," she said.

White, who blogs for the website, trumpeted her embrace of mass brands.

"The products that I use are just conventional products that I get at a big-box store that come in bulk that are cost-effective and they keep my house clean," she said. "I've never looked at the label for this so ... and to be honest, I don't really care. If it works for me, I'll use it."

Dr. Phil Landrigan, an epidemiologist and pediatrician, who is also the director of the Children's Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, said there is cause for concern.

"I feel that American families need to be aware that they're being exposed every day to chemicals of unproven toxicity," he said. "We've been looking very carefully at connections between exposures to toxic chemicals in early life and bad developmental outcomes in children."

But Dr. Cyrus Rangan, a medical toxicology consultant for Children's Hospital Los Angeles, said more research is needed on this subject.

"We need a lot more research, and it's not an area where we have conclusions yet," he said.

But Dr. Cyrus Rangan, a medical toxicology consultant for Children's Hospital Los Angeles, said more research is needed on this subject.

"We need a lot more research, and it's not an area where we have conclusions yet," he said.

The Federal Drug Administration also acknowledges that more research is necessary, telling ABC News, "Certain chemicals that are currently in cosmetics have been the subject of widespread concern. The FDA believes that the public health would be served by conducting a scientific evaluation of the safety of these chemicals and removing those that are not shown to be safe."

Angela Logomasini of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based Libertarian think-tank, conducts research and analysis on environmental regulatory issues and said she didn't believe there was a need to worry about conventional products.

"I think it's reasonable for consumers to be confident that the products they buy in the stores are safe. I don't think they should be worried about trace chemicals or low-level risks," she said.

But Jessica Alba isn't waiting for science to come up with definitive answers.

"We have this mission," she said. "What we do and about what we want to do in our lives, and the planet that we want to leave our children, and our children's children, and so we created the solution."

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