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Beauty Byte: Consumer Group Questions Carcinogenic Chemicals in Johnson & Johnson Products

Beauty Byte: Consumer Group Questions Carcinogenic Chemicals in Johnson & Johnson Products

No more tears, but something more harmful lurks inside? That's what the Campaign For Safe Cosmetics would lead you to believe. The coalition of health, environmental, and consumer groups — armed with a letter signed by nearly 50 groups totaling some 1.7 million members — approached Johnson & Johnson to ask that the company reformulate its products to be free of chemicals suspected of causing cancer.

The substances in question are 1,4-dioxane (a byproduct of the manufacturing process) the preservative formaldehyde, which is slowly released by a chemical called Quaternium-15, both probable human carcinogens . . . and both found in the much-loved Johnson's Baby Shampoo, marketed as the "number-one choice of hospitals." Um, eek. According to a Johnson & Johnson spokesperson:

The trace levels of certain compounds that were noted by the Campaign For Safe Cosmetics can result from processes that make our products gentle for babies and safe from bacteria growth. Many regulatory agencies around the world consider these trace levels safe.

The quantity in question in the baby shampoo is 210 parts per million of formaldehyde and a "low level" of 1,4-dioxane, amounts thought to be absorbed by the skin. But if the two chemicals were food additives, they'd have to be tested before being sold to prove they didn't contain dangerous chemicals . . . and these two would fail. Since the FDA is not involved in cosmetic product regulation, the point is (somewhat) lost but shocking nonetheless. Does this news change your views or do you consider it just a drop in the bucket?

Join The Conversation
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Until these more eco friendly products become more wallet friendly I'm sticking to what works for me and my bank account-that's the cold hard facts.
chatnoir chatnoir 8 years
Yep.. AND.. the 'no more tears' formula numbs your babies eyeballs. It was just announced that certain baby foods contain more TransFats than 5 Big Macs. I'm so glad we are 'questioning' things now. The more we do that, the more other options we'll have.
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 8 years
I am in process of switching over to all natural products. I finally became fully aware of the issue earlier this year and I decided I no longer wanted to be ignorant of the problem (chemicals, toxins.) This news doesn't surprise me (since I read the label and it is a mass distribution line.) However it is disgusting that companies, in this case the widely known Johnson & Johnson, are using harmful toxins in the children's products. Their young system and skin are very fragile and have yet to build a stronger immunity. Yes, it has been used for years but also during those years, the reports of cancer have been rising. Of course I'm not saying Johnson & Johnson is solely responsible for the rise; however I do believe that J&J along with all of the other companies choosing chemicals over natural sources, are contributing to the high case loads (along with the food & pharmaceutical industry; then include the sun and tanning bed worshippers.) Every little trace amount of a toxin, etc, adds up over time.
ModernGraceKelly ModernGraceKelly 8 years
It's been used for years.. I'm not buying this whole idea. There are plenty of things that harm people. Smoking is the worst, but I see a ton of them every day. I think compared to baby shampoo, that has more harmful chemicals. It's also not left on your hair, it's rinsed out. Trace amounts are low. I'm not against all natural, but the only way to completely avoid pollution today is to live in a plastic bubble and never bathe.
emalove emalove 8 years
I think the selection of natural/organic beauty products is getting better than it used to be, but there still aren't a whole lot of good, affordable options out there. I hope that changes.
La-Tua-Cantante La-Tua-Cantante 8 years
I started switching over to natural beauty products a few years ago, but I just wish the selection was better. Also, they are SO expensive so it's hard sometimes
michlny michlny 8 years
I am in the process of completely switching my personal care products to natural/organic products - free of carcinogens, phthalates, PEG, parabens, et al. As consumers, we really need to empower ourselves with education.
DiJaNa16 DiJaNa16 8 years
That's nothing compared to the amount of possible carcinogenic chemicals found in just about every single make up product, and most women don't think twice about putting on make up every single day...
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