More than two years after health and parents’ groups asked Johnson & Johnson to reformulate its flagship baby shampoo to remove a chemical that releases formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, the company is still using the formaldehyde-releasing ingredient in Johnson’s Baby Shampoo in the United States, Canada and China. In several other countries, the company has made formaldehyde-free versions of the shampoo, according to a new analysis conducted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
After Johnson & Johnson received word of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics report, the company released a statement saying it is no longer introducing new products with formaldehyde-releasing preservatives and has reduced its use of the chemical by 60 percent in the U.S. market and 33 percent globally over the past few years. “We know that some consumers are concerned about formaldehyde, which is why we offer many products without formaldehyde releasing preservatives, and are phasing out these types of preservatives in our baby products worldwide,” said the company in the statement.
For the new analysis, Baby’s Tub Is Still Toxic, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics purchased and reviewed labels of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo sold in 13 countries to see if the products contained quaternium-15, a chemical preservative that kills bacteria by releasing formaldehyde. Formaldehyde was recently added to the U.S. government list of known human carcinogens by the National Toxicology Program, under the Department of Health and Human Services. Formaldehyde and quaternium-15 are also potent allergens that can trigger rashes and other skin inflammation problems.
“Clearly there is no need for Johnson & Johnson to expose babies to a known carcinogen when the company is already making safer alternatives. All babies deserve safer products,” said Lisa Archer, director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics at the Breast Cancer Fund. “We’re glad to see that the Johnson & Johnson is taking this seriously. This commitment is a big step in the right direction. We look forward to the day when we can tell consumers the company’s entire product line is free of carcinogens and other chemicals of concern.”