Johnson & Johnson Pledges to Remove Chemicals from Products

Johnson & Johnson, the company that makes the iconic Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and other products for babies, children, and adults, has pledged that its baby products will be free of potentially cancer-causing chemicals by the end of 2013, and its adult products will be the same by the end of 2015.  Late last year, the company announced its plans to alter its shampoo formula; this week’s announcement is an expansion of that earlier announcement.  The Associated Press reports:

The company told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview Tuesday that it remains on track to have baby products, including its Johnson’s No More Tears baby shampoo, reformulated with safer ingredients by the end of 2013. Adult products will be reformulated by the end of 2015.

“We want people to have complete peace of mind when they use our products,” said Susan Nettesheim, vice president of product stewardship and toxicology for J&J’s consumer health brands.

Those include Johnson’s baby lotion and bath products and Desitin for diaper rash, as well as adult skin care brands including Aveeno, Neutrogena, RoC, Clean & Clear and Lubriderm. J&J, based in New Brunswick, N.J., also makes prescription drugs and medical devices….

Johnson & Johnson is set to launch a website Wednesday morning,, telling consumers what it does to ensure its ingredients are safe and of high quality. That includes detailed questioning of manufacturers and suppliers covering everything from the composition of ingredients and any trace chemicals in them to their environmental health and safety practices.

“We’ve heard from consumers that they want to understand more about our plans” for improving products, Nettesheim said. “They want more transparency.”

Research by the Environmental Working Group found most cosmetic and personal care products — other than those from small companies in the fast-growing natural products niche — contain potentially dangerous chemicals.

The key ones 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 are probable human carcinogens; formaldehyde also is a skin, eye and respiratory irritant.

Image: Baby in bath, via Shutterstock

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