Under intense pressure from consumer watchdog groups and concerned parents, Johnson & Johnson has announced that it is reformulating all of its baby shampoos, lotions and other products to get rid of preservatives that may release formaldehyde.
On Thursday, Johnson & Johnson sent a letter to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics alerting its director, Lisa Archer, of their decision to change its products and remove potentially harmful chemicals that have raised concerns among consumers.
In the letter, the company wrote that it believes the products are safe with the preservatives, but said that it was important that the company listen to its customers and maintain a bond of trust between them.
It will take about two years for the company to change all of its products worldwide, but the baby shampoo products will be reformulated sooner. The company said it is also trying to get its suppliers to reduce the amount of 1,4-dioxane and is in discussions with stakeholders about requests to disclose its fragrance ingredients.
The letter comes just two weeks after the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics called for a boycott of Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo in order to force the company to remove quaternium-15 and 1,4-dioxane. Quaternium kills bacteria, but releases formaldehyde, which is a known human carcinogen. Johnson & Johnson maintains that the amount of formaldehyde in an entire bottle of its baby shampoo is equivalent to the amount one consumes when they eat an apple or pear.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has pointed out that bottles of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo sold in several nations, including Japan and the U.K., do not contain formaldehyde, but shampoo sold to parents of children in the U.S., Australia, Canada, China and Indonesia have continued to contain the cancer-causing agents. The chemicals are not listed on the label.
Since there are formaldehyde free versions of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo sold in some countries, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has argued that it is not necessary for versions containing the chemicals and potentially endangering children to be sold in any country. The group was joined by several other organizations, including the Breast Cancer Fund, the Environmental Working Group and others, in urging Johnson & Johnson to make this firm commitment to remove the potentially harmful chemicals from Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and other products.