What’s in Your Shampoo? Formaldehyde?

Johnson & Johnson, manufacturers of anti-wrinkle lotion and baby shampoo alike, has announced that it will phase out several questionable ingredients from its products by the end of 2015. Johnson & Johnson brands like Neutrogena and Aveeno can be found in drugstores around the world, so this could be a significant step forward, especially considering that it is the first major company to take this approach.

The ingredients they’re axing include formaldehyde, phthalates, and triclosan; they will also be further limiting the levels of 1,4 dioxane and parabens in their products.

According to the New York Times, two of the questionable ingredients, formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane, had never been listed on the products’ lists of ingredients, because they were not technically considered ingredients: formaldehyde was released over time by two other ingredients, while 1,4 dioxane was used only on other ingredients, in order to make them gentler to the skin.

These changes follow years of pressure and research from environmental and consumer groups, such as the Environmental Working Group’s Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Susan Nettesheim, Johnson & Johnson’s vice president of product stewardship and toxicology, described the company’s rationale for the changes: “Thereís a very lively public discussion going on about the safety of ingredients in personal care products. It was really important that we had a voice in that.”

While this seems to be good news, it may lead many consumers to wonder: wait a minute, what else is in my personal care products?

If you’d like to double-check what ingredients might be lurking in your products (yes, even those labeled as “natural”), EWG’s Cosmetics Database lets you search for product names, brands, and ingredients, and assigns them a Hazard Score from 0 (low hazard) to 10 (high hazard). Be informed!



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Matthew M.
Matthew M.5 years ago

Johnson and Johnson has been known to use cheap fillers in their beauty products, as well as their health supplements. The best thing you can do to yourself is go natural, avoid any products with artificial, synthetic ingredients. You might want to check out http://peacehealthandlongevity.com/ There is all-natural supplementation, as well as natural beauty and skin care products that won't transmit toxins to your skin.

Carolyn Smith
Cally Smith5 years ago

Very good. Indeed it makes you wonder what the hell we have been using for years. Personally I would be far more delighted if companies ugh as this stopped using palm oil derived ingredients (sodium laureth sulphate) in their products. THER ARE ALTERNATIVES to destroying rainforest nd it's precious inhabitants for a bottle of shampoo or even worse baby oil.

Ajla C.
Past Member 5 years ago

Ja koristmalverde kozmetiku baziranu na prirodnim preparatima,i
što je najvažnije nije testirana na životinjama.

Joy Wong
Joy W5 years ago

Why wait till 2015 ?

Emily Drew
Emily Drew5 years ago

This is why i make my own personal care products. Ridiculous!!

5 years ago

Old news for the most part.

Laurie D.
Laurie D5 years ago

Super to know but why use that stuff in the first place? There are GOOD brands out there that are actually safe for the consumer AND don't pollute AND don't hurt critters... No BRAINER!

Angie B.
Angela B5 years ago

Thanks for the info!

Barb Hansen
Ba H5 years ago

wow, listening to your customers. what a great idea.

Phillipa W.
Phillipa W5 years ago

and that is why I've NEVER used those products or anything that's not plant-based and organic and reputable and environmentally friendly. Obviously, if it's not environmentally friendly it's not going to be good for me or my children