Posted by Deborah Pujoue on November 24, 2011
It looks like Johnson & Johnson is sticking to its “No More Tears” slogan associated with the company’s baby shampoo. J&J has decided to reformat the formula after getting many calls from consumer watchdog groups and parents alike that complain there is too much formaldehyde and preservatives in the shampoo’s current formula.
On Thursday, November 17, Johnson & Johnson sent a letter to the “Campaign for Safe Cosmetics” that told the director, Lisa Archer, that they decided to change its current products to get rid of the harmful chemicals in them. J&J wrote in the letter that it believes its products are currently safe, but that the company wanted consumers to continue to trust J&J and maintain the bond that the company has built. Okay, I’m not sure that I feel a bond with J&J, but I certainly always assumed that their shampoos and lotions were safe to use.
The formula change is expected to take at least two years to complete (for the company’s products worldwide), but J&J does expect to have the baby shampoo products completed sooner than that. J&J also wants to convince its suppliers to lower the amount of 1,4-dioxane in the products; company officials are talking to their stakeholders about getting more information on what is in their fragrance ingredients.
The letter comes on the heels of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics call for a boycott of J&J baby shampoo. It was the group’s effort to force the company to get rid of quaternium-15 and 1,4-dioxane in the product. Quaternium is used to kill bacteria — however, it releases a human carcinogen in the process… formaldehyde.
It is no surprise that Johnson & Johnson still stands behind the product as is, saying that the amount of formaldehyde that exists in a full bottle of baby shampoo is the same as what is often eaten when people consume an apple or a pear. However, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics proved that the baby shampoos sold in other countries like Japan and the U.K. don’t have any formaldehyde in them. To make matters worse, the cancer-causing agents are not listed as ingredients on the label.
While I am not certain just how dangerous these low levels of formaldehyde are, I am happy to hear that J&J is changing the formula anyway. I don’t know a great deal about chemicals, but I do know that formaldehyde is bad and provokes a gory image of those scary bottles used to store body parts in horror movies. That’s enough for me to want to wait for the new baby shampoo formula before using the product again.