Group Urges Boycott of Baby Shampoo Over Cancer Chemical

Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo contains two cancer chemical ingredients considered dangerous to babies, according to a consumer advocacy group. Now, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is urging boycott of the controversial product.

What’s particularly vexing, noted MSNBC, is that Johnson & Johnson makes versions of this product that do not contain the dangerous chemicals, according to the Campaign. The groups seeks boycott until Johnson & Johnson agrees to produce the product without the cancer-causing chemicals. Of note, the Campaign has been trying, for the past 2 ½ years to have Johnson & Johnson remove dioxane and quaternium-15, which releases formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, said MSNBC.

The Campaign met with representatives from Johnson & Johnson on three occasions since 2009 and said it is unhappy that the manufacturer does not produce a safer alternative and other safer products in the United States, when it already does outside of the U.S., noted Bloomberg Businessweek.

For its part, Johnson & Johnson says it is reducing or gradually phasing the chemicals out of the baby product. That’s not soon enough for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, said MSNBC, an international coalition of health and environmental groups. “Johnson & Johnson clearly can make safer baby shampoo in all the markets around the world, but it’s not doing it,” said Lisa Archer, the Campaign’s director. “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,” Archer added in an online press release, said MSNBC.

The group initiated its boycott yesterday, the same day it released a report entitled “Baby’s Tub is Still Toxic,” an updated report was based on a review of label ingredients for Johnson & Johnson baby products sold in 13 countries, MSNBC explained. The Campaign sent a letter to Johnson & Johnson Monday signed by dozens of environmental, medical, and other groups representing some 3.5 million people worldwide, MSNBC wrote.

The letter was addressed to CEO William Weldon was signed by the Breast Cancer Fund, the Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, the American Nurses Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Green America, said Businessweek.

The Campaign is urging Johnson & Johnson to publicly commit to eliminating the chemicals from all its personal care products and to commit by November 15. Johnson & Johnson responded by issuing a statement indicating that formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are safe and have been approved by U.S. regulators and regulators in countries. Johnson & Johnson did concede that is also reformulating its baby products to below detectable dioxane levels, according to MSNBC. Johnson & Johnson did not say if it plans to answer or meet the Campaign’s demands.

“Even though the chemicals may be low-level, why risk it?” said Tracey J. Woodruff, an associate professor and director of the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment at University of California-San Francisco, who is not involved in the campaign. Woodruff pointed out that chemical levels in baby products only serve to add to other chemicals to which babies are routinely exposed, explained Businessweek.

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