It became mainstream news today that Johnson & Johnson Baby Products contain carcinogenic chemicals (formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane) in their products sold on store shelves. We’ve talked about staying clear from Johnson & Johnson products at Mommy Footprint in this article, this article, and here. Here is the scoop on what’s gone down with Johnson and Johnson in the media today.
For two years, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has been requesting that Johnson & Johnson reformulate their flagship products….you see them at every baby shower and I’m sure they are still in hospitals and are used for a baby’s first bath:
And every time I’ve seen them at a baby shower I’ve stumbled through an awkward speech of why they shouldn’t be used on a baby. Me “that shampoo has chemicals that really irritate baby’s skin”. It’s an argument that really isn’t remembered by many new moms. Well thank you to mainstream media today, Forbes magazine, Healthy Child Healthy World, The Campaign For Safer Cosmetics, etc. are all writing the scary facts about these products: they contain cancer causing chemicals. And the sickest part of this is Johnson & Johnson knows how to produce formaldehyde-free products because the products they sell in many European countries, Japan, and South Africa are without these carcinogens. Yup – the formaldehyde ingredient called Quaternium-15 is found in the products sold in the U.S., Canada, China, Indonesia and Australia. So here is fact number one they know how to not manufacture not using Formaldehyde and a second chemical, 1,4-dioxane, that is considered a likely carcinogen. 1,4 in short is dioxin and a byproduct of a process for making chemicals more soluble and gentler on the skin. Fact number two that Johnson & Johnson knows how to make a product without carcinogens is their brand “Johnson’s Natural”. This more natural version of the Johnson & Johnson products don’t contain these chemicals, but the products are double in cost.
Do you know that Aveeno is manufactured by Johnson & Johnson? This is likely the brand your family Doctor will recommend when you tell them your baby or child’s skin is inflamed or they appear to have the onset of eczema. Brands like Oatmeal Baby Wash, Moisture Care Baby Wash and Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash also contain 1,4-dioxane. It’s terrible that a known side effect of formaldehyde is also a skin irritant. Ask around parent groups and see how many babies, toddlers, and children suffer from eczema and asthma – the numbers are out of control. So many toxic products targeting babies and the bottom line is money. Johnson & Johnson has proved it by creating a product that doesn’t contain formaldehyde but continues to sell the products 1/2 the price of the more natural version. It’s sick. And even once they remove these ingredients, know that it wouldn’t have been done without the watch dog groups I’ve listed at the start of this article. It is these groups looking out for our children – not the companies.
Bottom Line? Reward the companies that do care with your consumer dollars. Do not allow one more bottle of this sub-par product come into your home or purchased as a gift. Pull that expectant mom aside at the baby shower and quietly mention that the yellow bottle of shampoo contains cancer causing chemicals. Be blunt because words like ‘skin irritant’ and ‘product with chemicals’ doesn’t get people’s attention. Over the years, I’ve mentioned many companies that are doing the right thing by our families with producing safer skin care products for our children. Most of these companies are listed under the category called Childhood Eczema. If you don’t have time to read through the tips in these articles – here are some great places to start:
Green Beaver – Canadian made and with trusted ingredients.
There are so many small companies that deserve and have earned your consumer dollars with their research and product knowledge. Sad that the huge companies are not looking out for customers, even though they are aware of what is going into their products. I know my site has many green minded parents that don’t find this information to be new, but check out the Facebook Fan page for Johnson & Johnson and you’ll see the connection they have with new parents, grandparents, etc. They are a brand that is trusted and there is a tradition that comes with shopping at Johnson & Johnson..you can see it in the consumer relationships they’ve built.
So like always I struggle with the fine line of stressing out expectant or new parents with information like this – but I’d want to know. Wouldn’t you?