Are Johnson & Johnson baby products safe?

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  1. Are they safe? Read this article

    Bear in mind Aveeno is also a J&J company, although they claim to use natural ingredients, not all ingredients are natural.

    For Immediate Release: May 26th, 2009
    Contact: Stephenie Hendricks, 415-258-9151,
    Shannon Coughlin, 415-336-2246,
    Parents, Doctors, Nurses to Johnson & Johnson: Make Safer Baby Products

    San Francisco — Concerned about cancer-causing chemicals, more than 40 organizations representing 1.7 million parents, health care providers and environmental health advocates delivered a letter today to Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) urging the company to remove toxic ingredients from its popular baby products. Click here to view the letter.

    The letter, signed by the American Nurses Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, MomsRising and many others, urges Johnson & Johnson to remove formaldehyde, 1,4-dioxane and other hazardous chemicals from personal care products by the end of 2009.

    A March 2009 report by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane in Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and other top-selling children’s bath products. Both chemicals are known to cause cancer in animals and are listed as probable human carcinogens by the Environmental Protection Agency.

    A recent National Cancer Institute study reinforced the link between formaldehyde exposure and cancer. Formaldehyde is also an allergen that can cause rashes in sensitized people. The chemicals were not disclosed on product labels because contaminants are exempt from labeling laws.

    “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.”

    Other companies are making similar products without carcinogens, and Johnson & Johnson is already making formaldehyde-free products in Japan, where the chemical is banned from cosmetics.

    Johnson & Johnson was recently listed as America’s most reputable company, according to a survey by the Reputation Institute. The survey was conducted prior to the release of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics report.

    In response to the report, major retailers in China, Vietnam and Singapore pulled Johnson & Johnson products off shelves. At least three class-action lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson and other companies named in the report. In April, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced the Safe Baby Products Act, directing FDA to regulate hazardous contaminants in children’s personal care products.
  2. Another article:


    Home > Media Center > February 8, 2007: Cancer-causing Chemical Found in Children's Bath Products

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, February 8, 2007
    Contacts: Kevin Donegan or Marisa Walker, Breast Cancer Fund, (415) 346-8223; Stacy Malkan, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, (202) 321-6963; David Steinman, author, “Safe Trip to Eden,” (310) 403-6995; Sheila Huettl, Freedom Press, (800) 959-9797.

    Cancer-causing Chemical Found in Children's Bath Products

    Women’s Shampoos and Body Wash also Contaminated

    WASHINGTON — A hidden cancer-causing petrochemical has been found in dozens of children’s bath products and adults’ personal care products, in some cases at levels that are more than twice the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s lenient recommended maximum.

    Laboratory tests released today revealed the presence of 1,4-Dioxane in products such as Hello Kitty Bubble Bath, Huggies Baby Wash, Johnson’s Baby Wash, Scooby-Doo Bubble Bath and Sesame Street Bubble Bath. The tests also found the carcinogen in Clairol Herbal Essences shampoo, Olay Complete Body Wash and many other personal care products.

    1,4-Dioxane is a petroleum-derived contaminant considered a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a clear-cut animal carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program. It is also on California’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known or suspected by the state to cause cancer or birth defects. Because it is a contaminant produced during manufacturing, the FDA does not require it to be listed as an ingredient on product labels.

    The problem of 1,4-Dioxane contamination in personal care products is highlighted in a new book, “Safe Trip to Eden: Ten Steps to Save the Planet Earth from the Global Warming Meltdown,” by David Steinman. The laboratory results were released jointly today at the National Press Club by Steinman and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of U.S.-based health and environmental groups working to protect cosmetics consumers from toxic chemicals and hold companies accountable for the safety of their products.

    “Regrettably, 1,4-Dioxane contamination is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Jeanne Rizzo, R.N., executive director of the Breast Cancer Fund, a founding member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “Because the FDA does not require cosmetics products to be approved as safe before they are sold, companies can put unlimited amounts of toxic chemicals in cosmetics.”

    Steinman said parents should be outraged that companies are willing to spend a significant amount of money on entertainment licensing agreements that entice children but won’t spend pennies to remove contaminants such as 1,4-Dioxane.

    “Consumers who have young children, as I do, have the right to expect the highest purity in children’s products,” Steinman said. “I call on American consumers to say no to dangerous petrochemicals in their children’s cosmetic and personal care products.”

    Contrary to what many consumers may believe, the FDA does not review or regulate cosmetics products or ingredients for safety before they are sold to the public and has no legal authority to require safety assessments of cosmetics.

    Devra Lee Davis, professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, said that the usual regulatory approach of assessing risk one chemical at a time does not account for the combined effects of very low levels of hidden contaminants in personal care products and from other sources. “We must lower exposures to controllable agents that we know or suspect cause cancer,” she said.

    The FDA has been measuring 1,4-Dioxane levels since 1979, but because the agency has little authority or enforcement capacity over the cosmetics industry, it has worked with manufacturers to reduce levels on a voluntary basis only. In 2000, the FDA recommended that cosmetic products should not contain 1,4-Dioxane at concentrations greater than 10 ppm (parts per million); yet some 15 percent of products tested exceeded even these lenient guidelines. This limit, however, also does not take into account that babies exposed to 1,4-Dioxane from baby shampoo may be exposed at the same time to 1,4-Dioxane from bubble bath, body wash and many other products.

    More than two dozen products were tested at Steinman’s request by West Coast Analytical Service, an independent testing laboratory specializing in trace chemical analysis. Among the products tested:

    Baby & Children’s Consumer Products

    Disney Clean as Can Bee Hair & Body Wash (Water Jel Technologies) 8.8 ppm
    Disney Pixar Cars Piston Cup Bubble Bath (MZB Personal Care) 2.2 ppm
    Gerber Grins & Giggles Gentle & Mild Aloe Vera Baby Shampoo 8.4 ppm
    Hello Kitty Bubble Bath (Kid Care) 12 ppm*
    Huggies Baby Wash Shea Butter 4.0 ppm
    Huggies Natural Care Baby Wash Extra Gentle and Tear Free 4.2 ppm
    Johnson’s Head-to-Toe Baby Wash (Johnson & Johnson) 5.3 ppm to 6.1 ppm
    Johnson’s Kids Tigger Bath Bubbles (Johnson & Johnson) 5.6 ppm to 7.9 ppm
    Johnson’s Kids Shampoo Watermelon Explosion (Johnson & Johnson) 10 ppm*
    Lil’ Bratz Mild Bubble Bath (Kid Care) 3.7 ppm
    L’Oreal Kids Orange Mango Smoothie Shampoo 2.0 ppm
    Mr. Bubble Bubble Bath Gentle Formula with Aloe 1.5 ppm
    Rite-Aid Tearless Baby Shampoo 4.3 ppm
    Scooby-Doo Mild Bubble Bath (Kid Care) 3.0 ppm
    Sesame Street Wet Wild Watermelon Bubble Bath (The Village Company) 7.4 ppm

    Adult Consumer Products
    Clairol Herbal Essences Rainforest Flowers Shampoo 23 ppm*
    Olay Complete Body Wash with Vitamins (normal skin) 23 ppm*
    Suave Naturals Passion Flower 2.0 ppm
    *Product was at or above FDA maximum

    Steinman’s book explains what Americans can do today to be “green patriots” and curb the nation’s dependency on foreign oil. The new laboratory results reveal the health risks posed by the same petrochemicals that are part of what he calls the nation’s growing oil addiction.

    Women and girls use an average of 12 personal care products daily, according to a 2004 survey conducted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The Environmental Working Group's interactive product safety guide, Skin Deep, allows consumers to find products free of common carcinogenic impurities like 1,4-Dioxane.

    # # #

    Founding members of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics include Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, Breast Cancer Fund, Commonweal, Friends of the Earth, Women's Voices for the Earth, Environmental Working Group, National Black Environmental Justice Network and the National Environmental Trust. For more information and background on the campaign, and a link to the Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep” database of cosmetics product safety, visit To learn more about “Safe Trip to Eden: Ten Steps to Save the Planet Earth from the Global Warming Meltdown” by David Steinman, call Sheila Huettl at (323) 208-2629.
  3. I looked into this after hearing about what they use in it and I decided not to use their products on my daughter.
  4. I believe so, I mean, I've been using Johnson&Johnson's baby soap since I was a child and I'm currently 19. I haven't had any negative effects.
  5. dont tell me they didn't know that stuff is bad- from the very beginning! they don't care about consumers, only about profit! in japan they don't put formaldehyde in, but in the US there is no "prohibited law" about it, so they put it in, KNOWING it's bad!!! what is that supposed to mean?
  6. Thanks for posting this! I've been using Aveeno on my DD. I automatically assumed that it was "natural". :rant:

    I'm just going to have to start getting her bath products at Whole Foods.
  7. This is crazy! I just had two baby showers and got tons of J & J stuff! Man I don't know what to do now! This looks pretty convincing!
  8. Yikes!! We bought California Baby products to use on our son when he arrives. Thanks for the info, I'll be sure to stay far away from J&J
  9. Wow.
  10. #10 Jul 21, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2009
    I don't believe the baby soap was listed as one of the dangerous products.

    This is the full list of products they are targeting. But take a look at the numbers, even though they put a lot on the list, many of them that have these chemicals they are talking about are very minute.

    The percentages that they list are very skewed, to make them look worse than they are.

    The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics commissioned an independent laboratory to test 48 products for 1,4-dioxane; 28 of those products were also tested for formaldehyde. The lab found that:

    * 17 out of 28 products tested – 61 percent – contained both formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane.
    * 23 out of 28 products – 82 percent – contained formaldehyde at levels ranging from 54 to 610 parts per million (ppm). (Color mine: not surprising that 82% encompasses 54-610)
    * 32 out of 48 products – 67 percent – contained 1,4-dioxane at levels ranging from 0.27 to 35 ppm. (Emphasis mine: take a look at that spread from 0.27 to 35 -- of course it's going to be a high percentage)

    Link to these statistics:

    I'm not saying that people shouldn't watch out for things like this, but don't be sucked in to bad statistics. It's as bad as propaganda.
  11. If China removed them from their shelves, they must really be toxic!
  12. Thank you posting this Lori!

    I was looking for something to quantify the stats a little more. Exactly what you found!

    I will surely look forward still to a reply from J & J on this.. I think they should stand out and explain the results themselves. Luckily I still have a few more months for all of the facts to come out before I make my decision on using their products or not!
  13. some more info...from Wiki...

    1,4-Dioxane is primarily used in solvent applications for the manufacturing sector; however, it is also found in fumigants and automotive coolant. Additionally, the chemical is also used as a foaming agent and appears as an accidental byproduct of the ethoxylation[1] process in cosmetics manufacturing. It may contaminate cosmetics and personal care products such as deodorants, shampoos, toothpastes and mouthwashes.[2]

    In 2008, testing sponsored by an independent consumers organization found 1,4-dioxane in almost half of tested personal-care products.[8]

    And another article on 1,4-dioxane ...

    OCA's New Study Finds Greatly Reduced Carcinogens in Personal Care Products

    OCA's New Study Finds Greatly Reduced Carcinogens in Personal Care Products
    Press Release: New OCA Study
    Follow-Up Tests of Leading Personal Care and Household Cleaning Brands Reveal Improvements in Levels of Carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane
    Organic Consumers Association, For Immediate Release: March 6, 2009
    Straight to the Source

    Adam Eidinger - 202-744-2671
    Ariel Vegosen - 516-732-0579
    Ronnie Cummins - 218-349-3836
    Sheila Huettl - 310-455-8952

    ANAHEIM, CA - Today, a new follow-up study was released that assesses levels of the petrochemical carcinogen 1,4-dioxane in leading conventional as well as "natural" and "organic" brands of personal care and household cleaning products. The results indicate significant improvement for 23 products from sixteen major brands that had formerly been found to contain potentially dangerous levels of the contaminant 1,4-dioxane in a similar study held in March of 2008.

    Both of these studies, which looked specifically at products that come in contact with the skin, were commissioned by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), a watchdog group with over 500,000 members, and were overseen by environmental health consumer advocate David Steinman (author of The Safe Shopper's Bible). The independent third-party laboratory, Bodycote Testing Group, known for rigorous testing and chain-of-custody protocols, performed all testing. The products selected for the study are available at popular retail outlets.

    As was the case with the former study, the new results showed that products bearing the USDA Organic seal (such as products from Dr. Bronner's, Intelligent Nutrients and Terressentials), were totally free of 1,4-dioxane.

    Many companies with products that tested positive for 1,4-dioxane in the March 2008 study were cooperative with the Organic Consumers Association and provided re-formulated products for the new study. Brands whose products showed significant improvement since the last study include: Earth Friendly Products, Ecco Bella, Giovanni, Jason, Johnson & Johnson, Kiss My Face, Life Tree, Method, Nature's Gate, Planet Ultra, and Seventh Generation. (Seventh Generation also donated $10,000 to help fund this follow-up study.) Three companies named in a lawsuit filed in June 2008 by the California Attorney General based on previous high levels of 1,4-dioxane in their tested products have reformulated and their products tested clean or nearly clean in the current study: Alba (Avalon), Citrus Magic, and Nutribiotic.

    Several brands claimed to be working on product reformulations that were not ready in time for this study, including: Nature's Gate, Healthy Times, and The Village Company. A spokesperson from Whole Foods Market, which is also a defendant in the California Attorney General's lawsuit, reports they are reformulating their private label 365 Everyday Value products according to their new Premium Body Care Standards, and will be rolling them out to the stores by mid summer.

    Some of the leading brands with products testing at the highest levels for the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane were Dial, Palmolive, Head & Shoulders, and Body Essence. Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Liquid Dish Soap had the highest levels of the carcinogen at an alarming 204 ppm (parts per million), ten times higher than any other product's current results in the study.

    Based on the presence of potentially dangerous levels of 1,4-dioxane, legal notices have been served this week by David Steinman to Mrs. Meyer's, Dial, and others. According to Ronnie Cummins, the National Director of the Organic Consumers Association, "The OCA pledges to keep up the pressure until every brand claiming to be 'natural' removes 1,4-dioxane and other problematic synthetic chemicals from their products."

    About 1,4-Dioxane

    1,4-dioxane is a petrochemical "known to the State of California to cause cancer" under Proposition 65. Due to its toxicity, many consumers would not expect to find it in "natural" or "organic" branded personal care products. The contaminant 1,4-dioxane is a byproduct of the ethoxylation process, which is a cheap shortcut companies often use to provide mildness to harsh cleaning ingredients. 1,4-dioxane is also a suspected kidney toxicant, neurotoxicant, and respiratory toxicant, according to the California EPA, and it is a significant groundwater contaminant. While previous studies have revealed the presence of 1,4-dioxane in baby, children's and adults products and those mislabeled as "organic" and "natural", this latest study shows the toxin is being significantly reduced as many brands reformulate.
  14. #14 Jul 21, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2009
    A screen capture of the lab results from the article I posted above....

    Looks like J & J have been working to reduce the levels.
    ND- Not detected
    * reformulation and improved score

  15. ONE retailer in Eastern China removed product out of 3,500 stores. To put it in perspective, China is the most populated country in the world, with 1,331,950,000 people (according to Wikipedia, List of countries by population - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). That's almost 20% of the world's population.

    Again, the statistics are skewed to cause panic.

    Supermarket suspends sale of Johnson products amid debate