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Major Chinese Grocer Pulls Johnson & Johnson from Shelves

In the wake of EWG’s report that found formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane in “gentle baby products, a major Chinese grocery chain is pulling Johnson & Johnson baby products from their shelves.

Nonggongshan Supermarkets Corporation (Bless you!), based in Shanghai, said the concern over carcinogens pushed them to make the choice.

We have to be responsible to consumers and suspend sales of these products until they are proved safe.

Anyone else think it’s ironic that a store in China is making the move to protect consumers faster than any here in the States?

Internet chat rooms were buzzing with parents’ concerns in China. The Web, as you might have noticed, is also a flutter in the U.S., especially from enviros, consumer groups,  and natural parents.

And the FDA has little, if any, regulatory power over the chemicals used in cosmetics and toiletries. According to the EWG:

The FDA cannot require companies to test products for safety before they are sold, does not systematically review the safety of ingredients and does not set limits for common, harmful contaminants in products.

(Remember the FDA? Don’t get me started. After melamine was found in higher-than-allowable amounts in U.S. infant formula, they simply increased the “acceptable” amount. Now there’s rocket fuel in infant formula. What will be the “acceptable” level for that? There’s the Salmonella outbreaks, lack of Gardasil regulation, and the mercury in high fructose corn syrup. Puh-lease. Let’s not make the mistake of trusting the FDA to protect us.)

Of course, there are those who think we’re all overreacting. But formaldehyde is found in everything from furniture (glues and plywood) and clothes and sheets (to prevent mildew during long shipments), and now baby products.

Some say that these chemicals are necessary. They’re at such low amounts they won’t hurt us. But let’s see: the carcinogen is found in the bath and toiletry products you use daily on your child. Then you pop her is a that crib…the one with the accompanying dresser? They’re made of pressed board, which is off-gassing as we speak. Not to mention that sheet set or all those adorable onesies. But they were made in China, so they were treated with the chemical before their long trip to the States.

Little bits of exposure, here and there, matter. Until an independent study looks at all the various avenues for formaldehyde and its long-term effects, it’s hard to believe that exposure to a known cancer causing agent as an infant would be no prob, Bob.

As for me and my family? We’re sticking with the ones on the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database‘s safe list. You know…the ones made without this “necessary” chemical.

Read another sassy blog on this topic here, where I reveal fun uses for Lysol!

Find the whole “No More Toxic Tub” report here.

Image: nathalielaure at Flickr under a Creative Commons License.


  1. It is great to see somebody not accepting the necessary chemical. Maybe this will spark others to not accept anymore harmful chemical from big companies for other safer alternative ways.

  2. First of all, your information is out of date, as China has cleared Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and declared it safe. That action was taken almost two weeks ago:


    Next, your readers should review the following two sources that place the No More Toxic Tub report in the proper perspective, backing J&J’s contention that their products are safe:



  3. Audrae Erickson says:

    No mercury or mercury-based technology is used in the production of high fructose corn syrup in North America.

    The American public can rest assured that high fructose corn syrup is safe. Safety is the highest priority for our industry, which is why we immediately commissioned external testing as well as independent expert review of claims concerning mercury and our corn sweetener.

    Woodhall Stopford, MD, MSPH, of Duke University Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading experts in mercury contamination, reviewed the results of total mercury testing of samples of high fructose corn syrup conducted by Eurofins Central Analytical Laboratory (Metairie, LA) in February and March 2009. Dr. Stopford concluded:

    • No quantifiable mercury was detected in any of the samples analyzed.
    • High fructose corn syrup does not appear to be a measureable contributor to mercury in foods.

    In his summary of findings, Dr. Stopford stated, “Mercury is ubiquitous in the environment being generated both by man-made activities (such as coal-fired power plants) and by natural phenomenon (such as volcanoes). Mercury is found naturally in all living things, including all categories of foods and beverages. Levels in foods and beverages have dropped significantly in the last 40 years. The introduction of high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener has not been associated with any noticeable difference in mercury levels in foods and beverages containing high fructose corn syrup. Levels of mercury found in such foods and beverages are what would be expected from mercury found normally in such foods and beverages and are at background levels.”

    Audrae Erickson
    Corn Refiners Association

  4. Wow the industry reps are really getting around today! These are cancer causing carcinogens, I dont find it odd that we should all be concerned about this. I think it’s great that some one is out there at least letting us know what is in our baby furniture, sheets, body care products,etc. Even if each one separately is considered at “safe levels”, together I think that they’re pretty dangerous. Again, I find it amusing that these industry “spin doctors” are spending money on having employees read any blog that could make them look bad.

  5. Guess what, formaldehyde is also listed as an ingredient in some vaccines. Go online and look up “vaccine package inserts” and you can read the ingredients. If we know that it causes cancer, why is it okay to put it in vaccines for children?


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