There’s been an incredible response to the “Toxic Tub” report released by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics in March. Parents and consumer groups seemed especially responsive to the fact that toxic chemicals were found in baby products by Johnson & Johnson. We can all recall the ad campaigns for Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo, with its “No More Tears” tagline. How could it be possible that a product championed as being so gentle would contain harmful ingredients?
The evidence was clear. At issue: the inclusion of harmful chemicals in child care products, including formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane. Both are listed as probable carcinogens by the Environmental Protection Agency and both were found in numerous products made for babies and children. “There is no excuse for a baby shampoo marketed as ‘the number one choice of hospitals’ to contain chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer,” said Lisa Archer, national coordinator of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and a staff member of the Breast Cancer Fund. “As a manufacturer of trusted brands, Johnson & Johnson has a responsibility to remove carcinogens and other hazardous chemicals from its products.”
So what gives? Why do companies like Johnson & Johnson use these toxins in their products when other companies have demonstrated that it’s possible to make effective products without them? Knock, knock. Is anybody home? Hello? Are you there? Stop. It’s that simple–stop using these ingredients. Go back to the lab and come up with something better that is safe.
Actually, Johnson & Johnson has already come up with a formaldehyde-free formula for the version of its products they make in Japan–because Japan has banned formaldehyde from products. Which of courses reveals the makers to be opportunists who feel they can get away with passing off the harmful products in America because there’s no law that says they cannot use them. That’s shameful.
After the report was released, news outlets picked up the story and parents groups and health care providers raised an ear. Then we heard that hospitals in China and elsewhere were starting to remove the products from use. Let’s hope there’s a domino effect and others follow suit. In the meantime, it’s up to consumer groups and others to raise a voice and take action.
This week, Johnson & Johnson is being asked to step up. Numerous groups, including the American Nurses Association, are urging Johnson & Johnson to remove these toxins from the products. A sign-on letter that’s been backed by nearly 50 groups was delivered this week to the company, urging them to remove formaldehyde, 1,4-dioxane and other hazardous chemicals from the company’s personal care products by the end of the year.
What can you do? You can find out about what’s in beauty and personal care products by visiting the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website and clicking the link for the Skin Deep database. Also, let the powers that be at Johnson & Johnson know what you think. Here’s the “Contact Us” page on their website.
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics