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2nd Nov 2011Posted in: Blog Comments Off
Baby’s Tub Still Toxic

We are always very proud of the work by the National Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, but this is an especially strong victory. Johnson & Johnson has announced a reformulation of its baby shampoo in direct response the Campaign’s work – a clear step in the right direction for the company, whole industry, and all of our health! Teens Turning Green is proud to have been a signer on the report and an ongoing collaborator with the Campaign. Please see the articles that we posted from Forbes and NY Daily News, as well. Spread the word. Here’s to more massive change!

Baby’s Tub Is Still Toxic by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

November 1st, 2011

More than two years after leading health and parents’ groups asked Johnson & Johnson to reformulate its flagship baby shampoo to remove a cancer-causing chemical,(i) the company is still using formaldehyde-releasing preservatives in Johnson’s Baby Shampoo in some countries (including the U.S.), while formulas sold in other countries are free of these chemicals, according to this analysis conducted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Press release: Toxic Baby Shampoo: Johnson & Johnson Agrees to Global Reformulation Under Pressure from Health Groups (Nov. 1, 2011)

Why the double standard? Don’t all babies deserve to be protected from unnecessary exposures to carcinogens? We’re calling on Johnson & Johnson to stand up and make a commitment to remove formaldehyde from all its baby products in all the markets it serves.

Update! In response to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics report, Baby’s Tub is Still Toxic, Johnson & Johnson released a statement on Oct. 31 saying it is phasing out formaldehyde-releasing chemicals from its baby products worldwide. See statement.

What We Found

Between July and October of 2011, 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.

We found that Johnson’s Baby Shampoo sold in the United States, Australia, Canada, China and Indonesia contains quaternium-15, while Johnson’s Baby Shampoo sold in Denmark, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the U.K. contain non-formaldehyde preservatives.

Obviously, it is possible for Johnson & Johnson to make baby shampoo without formaldehyde, and that’s what the company should be doing in all countries.

The Problem with Quaternium-15

Quaternium-15 releases formaldehyde into cosmetics products. Formaldehyde is classified as a known human carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services(ii) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The National Cancer Institute, the World Health Organization and the National Toxicology Program have all identified a possible link between formaldehyde exposure and leukemia.(iii,iv,v)

Formaldehyde and quaternium-15 are also potent allergens that can trigger rashes and other skin inflammation problems.(vi) The North American Contact Dermatitis Group considers quaternium-15 to be among the most clinically significant contact allergens in children.(vii)

Timeline of J&J Engagement

Leading health and environmental groups in the United States have sent letters and met with Johnson & Johnson executives several times over the past two and a half years to urge the company to reformulate its baby products to remove chemicals of concern, including quaternium-15.

  1. •March 2009: A report by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, No More Toxic Tub, revealed that Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, along with many other children’s bath products, contained two carcinogens—formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane—that were not listed on labels.
  2. •May 2009: More than 40 organizations representing 1.7 million parents, health care providers and environmental health advocateswrote to Johnson & Johnson, detailing their concerns about the toxic chemicals found in the company’s baby products.
  3. •September 2009: The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics again wrote to Johnson & Johnson, asking the company to immediately remove the formaldehyde-releasing preservative quaternium-15 from its baby products in light of new research linking the chemical to increased rates of allergic contact dermatitis.
  4. •2009-2011: The American Nurses Association and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics met several times with Johnson & Johnson executives to discuss concerns about formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane.
  5. •October 2011: The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, American Nurses Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility and many other health and parents’ groups delivered another letterto Johnson & Johnson asking the company to commit to removing formaldehyde-releasing chemicals from all its children’s products in all markets worldwide by November 15, 2011.
  6. •In response to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics report, Baby’s Tub is Still Toxic, Johnson & Johnson released a statement on Oct. 31, 2011 saying it is phasing out formaldehyde-releasing chemicals from its baby products worldwide.

What You Can Do

  1. 1.Vote with your dollar: Until Johnson & Johnson commits to making safer baby products for all babies, purchase products from companies making safer alternatives. Search EWG’s Skin Deep cosmetic database to find safer products.
  2. 2.Contact J&J: Ask Johnson & Johnson to immediately remove formaldehyde-releasing preservatives from all of its baby products sold in all countries and replace them with safer alternatives.
  3. 3.Write to Congress: Ask your U.S. Representative to support the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011.

 

i Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (2009). No More Toxic Tub: Getting Contaminants Out of Children’s Bath & Personal Care Products.http://safecosmetics.org/downloads/NoMoreToxicTub_Mar09Report.pdf

Letter to Johnson & Johnson, May 2009. http://safecosmetics.org/downloads/JNJ-sign-on-letter_May09.pdf

ii U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Report on Carcinogens. Available:http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsroom/releases/2011/june10/

iii National Cancer Institute 2011. Formaldehyde and Cancer Risk. Available:http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/formaldehyde

iv Baan, Robert, et al on behalf of the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer Monograph Working Group (WHO/IARC). A review of human carcinogens—Part F: Chemical agents and related occupations. The Lancet Oncology, Volume 10, Issue 12, Pages 1143 – 1144, December 2009.

v Mackar, Robin. Expert Panel Recommends Listing Formaldehyde as Known Human Carcinogen.Environmental Factor, December 2009. Available:http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2009/december/spotlight-expert.cfm

vi Jacob, Sharon E.; Breithaupt, Andrew (2009). Environmental exposures, a pediatric perspective on allergic contact dermatitis. Skin & Aging, July 2009.http://www.skinandaging.com/content/environmental-exposures-%E2%80%94-a-pediatric-perspective-on-allergic-contact-dermatitis

vii Moennich, Jessica N.; Hanna, Diane M.; Jacob, Sharon E. (2009). Formaldehyde-releasing preservative in baby and cosmetic products: Health risks related to exposure during infancy.Journal of the Dermatology Nurses’ Association. 1(3):211-214, May/June 2009.

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PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: November 1st, 2011

Contact:

 

Stacy Malkan, 202-321-6963, stacy@safecosmetics.org; Stephenie Hendricks, 415-258-9151, stephdh@earthlink.net

 

 

Toxic Baby Shampoo: Johnson & Johnson Agrees to Global Reformulation Under Pressure from Health Groups

New report shows company making formaldehyde-free ‘No More Tears’ shampoo in some countries but not U.S.

San Francisco—More than two years after leading health and parents’ groups asked Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) 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, while making formaldehyde-free versions of the shampoo in several other countries, according to a new analysis conducted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

“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.

Yesterday, 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 statement.

Archer commented, “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.”

For the new analysis, entitled 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. According to a peer-reviewed paper in the Journal of the Dermatology Nurses’ Association, quaternium-15 is “the most sensitizing formaldehyde-releasing preservative and has been repeatedly shown to be a strong allergen that can cause contact dermatitis.”

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics analysis reveals that Johnson’s Baby Shampoo sold in the United States, Australia, Canada, China and Indonesia contains quaternium-15, while Johnson’s Baby Shampoo formulas sold in Denmark, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the U.K. contain non-formaldehyde preservatives.

“The American Nurses Association has adopted a precautionary approach based on the Precautionary Principle. In this application, even in the face of scientific uncertainty, if a chemical is strongly suspected of potential harm, it should be exchanged for a safer substitute,” said Amy Garcia M.S.N., R.N., C.A.E., Chief Programs Officer, Executive Office, American Nurses Association.

“Preventing toxic chemical exposures before they happen is the keystone of corporate responsibility. We call on Johnson & Johnson to remove carcinogenic formaldehyde from its products. It’s time to protect all children, regardless of their nationality,” said Peter Wilk, M.D., executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

In May 2009, ANA and PSR joined the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and many other health and environmental groups in formally asking Johnson & Johnson to reformulate its baby products after lab tests revealed that Johnson’s Baby Shampoo contained two carcinogens—formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane—that were not listed on labels.

In September 2009, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics wrote again to Johnson & Johnson, asking the company to immediately remove the formaldehyde-releasing chemical quaternium-15 from its baby products in light of new research linking the chemical to increased rates of allergic contact dermatitis.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and ANA have since met several times with Johnson & Johnson executives to discuss these concerns.

In response to consumer demand, the company launched a new “natural” version of baby shampoo that does not contain chemicals associated with formaldehyde or 1,4-dioxane. However, the original Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, which is priced at about one-half the cost of the new “natural” shampoo, has not been reformulated in the U.S. market.

Yesterday, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics—along with the American Nurses Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility and more than 20 other parents’ and health groups representing more than 3 million people—sent another letter to Johnson & Johnson, asking the company to remove formaldehyde-releasing chemicals from all its children’s products in all markets worldwide and replace them with safer alternatives. The letter asked for the company to make a commitment by November 15.

“While it is encouraging to see that Johnson & Johnson has made progress in formulating a safer ‘natural’ version of its iconic baby shampoo, now is the time for the company to rise to the occasion and make the safer products the world market is demanding for all its customers.” said Archer.

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The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a coalition of more than 150 nonprofit organizations working to protect the health of consumers and workers by eliminating dangerous chemicals from cosmetics. Core members include: Clean Water Action, the Breast Cancer Fund, Commonweal, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition and Women’s Voices for the Earth.

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