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Toxic Johnson’s Baby Shampoo: No More Tears: As Gentle to Eyes as Pure Formaldehyde

I grew up on “No More Tears”, yet Johnson’s Baby Shampoo was never allowed to touch my babes, well accept when nurses used it on my son after open heart surgery, but that is another story.   Unfortunately, such assurances as “No More Tears” give parents false assurances as to the safety of Johnson’s baby products.  In fact, a new report by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics reveals shocking formaldehyde-Releasing preservatives in this ubiquitous baby product.

The slogan “No More Tears:  As gentle to eyes as pure water” is nothing but a lie!

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics reported yesterday:

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)

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

Of course I am outraged by the inclusion of such toxic ingredients in baby products that a majority of Americans use.  It is even more outrageous that different formulas exist in different countries, while the company continues to expose little ones to carcinogens where legislation does not mandate such safety.

Specifically, Johnson’s Baby Shampoo contains:

Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, PEG-150 Distearate, Fragrance, Polyquaternium-10, Tetrasodium EDTA, Quaternium-15, Citric Acid, Yellow 10 and Orange 4. May also contain: Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide.

The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database gives Johnson’s Baby Shampoo a moderate hazard score of four, however, EWG rates Quaternium-15 with a score of six:

Allergies/immunotoxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Contamination concerns (FORMALDEHYDE), Use restrictions

In response to the study, which follows up a request two years ago by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics for the removal of Quaternium-15, Johnson & Johnson “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”.  What about the old products?

Once again, we are reminded why it is important to seek out alternative, natural products for our families.  You can’t trust corporate America to have your family’s health and safety as their primary interest.

Image credit:  AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by eVo photo

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