Johnson & Johnson to Remove All Carcinogens from Baby Products


Johnson & Johnson has delivered a letter to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics laying out commitments and timelines for the company's plans to reformulate all of its baby products worldwide to remove cancer-causing chemicals. The letter was prompted by the Campaign's Nov. 1 report revealing that Johnson's Baby Shampoo still contains formaldehyde-releasing chemicals in the U.S., Canada and China, even though formaldehyde-free versions of the product are available in several other countries.

According to the letter, signed by Johnson & Johnson Vice President of Product Stewardship Susan Nettesheim, on behalf of CEO Bill Weldon, the company will:

  • >> Remove quaternium-15 and other formaldehyde-releasing preservatives from all of its baby products worldwide within two years.
  • >> Reduce 1,4 dioxane in all of its baby products to less than 4 parts per million (ppm).  Long term, the company indicated it will replace the chemical process, called ethoxylation, that results in 1,4 dioxane contamination.
  • >> The company has already removed phthalates—a reproductive toxin—from all its baby products worldwide, including fragrance.


The commitment to remove chemicals of concern does not apply to Johnson & Johnson's adult products such as those in the Aveeno or Neutrogena lines.

"We applaud the leadership of Johnson & Johnson for publicly committing to globally reformulate their baby products to remove formaldehyde, 1,4 dioxane and phthalates," said Janet Nudelma, program director of the Breast Cancer Fund.

"Other major baby brands must now follow suit," said Stacy Malkan, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and author of the report "Baby's Tub is Still Toxic."

She noted that several other top children's bath products — made by Huggies, L'Oreal, Grins & Giggles, Baby Magic, Sesame Street, CVS and others— also contain formaldehyde-releasing preservatives as well chemicals associated with 1,4 dioxane.

"Clearly, there is no need to be exposing babies to cancer-causing chemicals in the bathtub. Many companies are already making bath products without carcinogens and that's what all companies should be doing."  

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