By Holly Lebowitz Rossi
November 04, 2011

Johnson & Johnson, the company that makes the iconic Johnson's Baby Shampoo and other products for babies and children, has announced plans to remove potentially carcinogenic chemicals from its shampoo formulas.

Since 2009, when the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released a report identifying traces of formaldehyde in a number of cosmetic products, including Johnson's baby shampoo, the debate has escalated over whether government regulation of toxic chemicals in consumer products is sufficient.  This past June, the U.S. government's National Toxicology Program officially identified formaldehyde as a carcinogen, renewing the urgency of the debate.

This week, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released a new report, stating that Johnson & Johnson had removed the formaldehyde-releasing preservative quaternium-15, as well as the chemical byproduct 1,4-dioxane, from their products in some countries, but not in the United States.  Parents who wish to avoid these chemicals in the U.S. have to purchase Johnson's "Naturals" line, which costs more than the standard shampoo formula.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics urges parents to avoid products containing ingredients that may be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, including sodium myreth sulfate, PEG compounds and chemicals that include the clauses "xynol," "ceteareth" and "oleth." Parents should also avoid products that contain formaldehye-releasing preservatives, including quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea.

(image via: http://www.instyle.com)

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