Johnson & Johnson —one of the largest personal care product companies in the U.S.—promised in August to remove all traces of potentially harmful chemicals, formaldehyde and 1.4 cioxane, from its entire line of consumer products by 2015. It is the first company of its kind to make such a commitment. Johnson & Johnson had already promised to remove two chemicals from its baby care products, including Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, by 2013. Some well-known Johnson &Johnson brands include Neutrogena, Aveeno, Lubriderm, and Clean & Clear.
The announcement came after years of pressure from environmental groups such as theCampaign for Safe Cosmetics , a coalition that includes the Environmental Working Group , found in 2009 that many items for children contained formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane, two potential carcinogens. Yet neither is listed on the back of lotions, shampoos and other products as they are released during the manufacturing process.
Johnson & Johnson has launched a new website ,to help inform its customers about the measures it’s taking to make its products safer. Quoted in a news release from Johnson & Johnson, Susan Nettesheim, vice president of product stewardship & toxicology for Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc, said, “There’s a public discussion underway about the ingredients in beauty care products, and we think it’s important to be part of that. Consumers today expect more information and greater transparency than ever before and we’re always listening to people who use our products. On this site, we’ll do our best to explain how we make the choices we make, and to show how our plans incorporate consumers’ feedback. We want all consumers to see for themselves how and why every one of our products can be used with peace of mind.”
The company states that while it only used tiny amounts of formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, it will phase them out of all baby and adult products, “making rare exceptions for adult products only when alternatives are not feasible or safe in formulation with other ingredients.”
Johnson & Johnson also has plans to phase out other ingredients linked to healthconcerns including phthalates, the commonly used antibacterial substance triclosan, and parabens, a type of preservative. The company will stop including parabens in its baby products and restrict their use to methyl, ethyl and propyl parabens, which have been studied for safety and are supported by regulatory authorities worldwide.
According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, in 2012 the consumer product company, Proctor & Gamble reformulated its line of Herbal Essences shampoos to reduce the amount of 1,4 dioxane in the products. The compound is often found in trace amounts in shampoos and cleansers and is a byproduct of the process that makes the products mild and nonirritating.