On November 1st, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released an analysis of Johnson & Johnson iconic “No More Tears” baby shampoo via a report, Baby’s Tub Is Still Toxic (pdf). This report was released more than two years after many leading health and parents’ groups specifically asked Johnson & Johnson to reformulate their baby shampoo in order to remove a formaldehyde-releasing preservative (quaternium-15). Strangely, this new report shows that Johnson & Johnson did indeed remove this cancer-causing chemical from baby shampoo sold in Denmark, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the U.K. The bad news:  Johnson & Johnson are still using the formaldehyde-releasing preservative in baby shampoo formulas sold in the United States, Canada, China, Indonesia and Australia. Too bad for us here in America huh? For once though, a possible revelation – as soon as the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ report was released,  Johnson & Johnson lickity split, released their own statement, noting that they are getting rid of products containing formaldehyde.

 Johnson & Johnson’s statement, notes, in part:

“We have been phasing out the use of preservatives that release tiny amounts of formaldehyde to guard against bacterial contamination. These preservative technologies, which are used widely in our industry are all safe and approved in the countries where they are sold. Over the past couple of years, we already have reduced the number of formulations globally with these “formaldehyde releaser” preservatives by 33% and in the U.S. by over 60%. We are completing this reformulation as quickly as we can safely and responsibly do so.”

The company further says that they’ve introduced new product formulations for consumers who prefer natural products, such as their line of Johnson’s Naturals, “A line that is 98% natural, and contains no formaldehyde releasing preservatives or traces of 1,4 dioxane.” Lisa Archer, director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics at the Breast Cancer Fund, said in a statement:

“We’re glad to see that the Johnson & Johnson is taking this seriously. This commitment is a big step in the right direction. We look forward to the day when we can tell consumers the company’s entire product line is free of carcinogens and other chemicals of concern.”

These changes are a step in the right direction, but it’s far from time to start feeling all warm and fuzzy about Johnson’s Baby Shampoo.

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Right now, any Johnson’s Baby Shampoo on U.S. store shelves today still has formaldehyde-releasers and other hazardous chemicals in it. Also, according to PETA and Leaping Bunny, Johnson & Johnson still tests on animals. Their baby shampoos and soaps are not biodegradable. Even their so-called natural line contains some questionable ingredients, such as fake fragrances and still scores worse than many other baby shampoo products at Skin Deep. When you start comparing Johnson’s & Johnson’s products to other products, their baby care line just doesn’t make the safest-for-your-baby cut. Consider the almost entirely organic Babybearshop line or the Dr. Bronner’s Fair Trade and organic baby line and others, who have gone Fair Trade, biodegradable and certified organic, simply because they know it’s safe. No pushing from reports or consumer groups needed. Sure, Johnson’s & Johnson’s have taken a small step in the right direction, but it’s taken way too much massive pushing from too many to make it happen. Your baby deserves better.

+ See our list of safe and eco-friendly baby soaps

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