Toxic Baby Shampoo Report Stings Johnson & Johnson
By Elisha Hawk
The eyes of Johnson & Johnson executives must be stinging from today’s disclosure that its Baby Shampoo sold in the United States still contains a chemical that releases formaldehyde—a known carcinogen—even though the ingredient has been removed from shampoos sold in other countries.
A report issued by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of some 50 non-profit health and safety groups, says its latest analysis of J & J’s Baby Shampoo shows the product sold in the U.S., Canada and China still contains quaternium-15, a chemical preservative that kills bacteria by releasing formaldehyde. Formaldehyde was recently added to the U.S. government list of known human carcinogens
The Campaign’s report triggered a statement from J&J that it is phasing out its products with formaldehyde-releasing chemicals in the U.S. and elsewhere. But according to the Campaign, the company already sells formaldehyde- free shampoo in Denmark, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the U.K.
“Clearly there is no need for Johnson & Johnson to expose babies to a known carcinogen when the company is already making safer alternatives. All babies deserve safer products,” said Lisa Archer, director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics at the Breast Cancer Fund.
We agree. Why the delay for U.S. babies? Is it profit? According to the Campaign, J & J’s “organic” brand of its baby Shampoo contains does not contain guaternuum-15 – but it costs twice as much.
I find it reprehensible that a corporation would so callously put infants and small children at risk to sell a little more shampoo. Johnson & Johnson’s reputation is on the line. It should immediately recall all its Baby Shampoo and any other products containing cancer-causing ingredients from around the world and replace them with safer alternatives.
Elisha is a attorney with Janet, Jenner & Suggs and focuses her practice on defective products liability and holding corporations responsible.