Johnson & Johnson To Remove "Chemicals of Concern From Baby Products

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Johnson & Johnson (J&J) says it will remove potentially carcinogenic chemicals and other potentially harmful substances from nearly all its adult toiletries and cosmetic products worldwide within by 2015 for its consumer health brands. These include Johnson's baby lotion and bath products, Desitin for diaper rash, as well as adult skin care brands including Aveeno, Neutrogena, RoC, Clean & Clear and Lubriderm. This health care giant has pledged to remove "chemicals of concern" from its baby products sold internationally after a campaign by a coalition of health and environmental groups. These groups believe that some chemicals found in products such as the company's popular No More Tears baby shampoo released the carcinogen formaldehyde.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics began pushing J&J in May 2009 to remove harsh and toxic chemicals from its brands to protect consumers and workers. The coalition includes more than 175 not-for-profit groups representing about 1.7 million members, from the Environmental Working Group and Friends of the Earth to the American Nurses Association and Physicians for Social Responsibility. The chemicals in question are 1,4 dioxane and the preservative formaldehyde, which is slowly released by a chemical called quaternium-15 to kill bacteria. Both 1,4 dioxane and formaldehyde may be human carcinogens; formaldehyde also is a skin, eye and respiratory irritant.

By 2015, J&J will phase out those two chemicals and others of concern, including triclosan, phthalates and parabens, as well as fragrance ingredients, which aren't disclosed on product labels. It will allow chemicals that release formaldehyde only when no safe alternative will work, but will reduce levels of 1,4 dioxane to below 10 parts per million.

In terms of cosmetic giants, J&J is going the furthest of any of them in removing chemicals of concern and is keen to reassure consumers that its product ingredients are safe and of high quality. It is responding to consumers who want more transparency. Fears over chemicals in beauty care products, particularly those for vulnerable babies, led the campaign to announce plans for a consumer boycott of J&J products, but that was scrapped before it began as the brand quickly agreed to make its baby products safer.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has issued multiple reports documenting its concerns and will now renew its push for several other, major cosmetics companies to commit to making their products nontoxic. Fortunately, many responsible cosmetics companies agree that safe is beautiful and are setting a high bar in the marketplace by agreeing not to use harmful chemicals in their products.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

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