Johnson & Johnson Going Green With 1,4-Dioxane And Formaldehyde In Products?

April 2, 2009 8 Comments

China is now pulling Johnson & Johnson products off their shelves…yet the United States isn’t. Does anyone else find that a tad bit strange? What’s the reason, you ask? Well, 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde have been discovered in Johnson & Johnson baby products. The Environmental Working Group case study of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo found formaldehyde at just over 200 ppm, a level that may trigger skin reactions. And according to my friend The Smart Mama, “J&J baby and bath products have other problem ingredients (as do other conventional and even some so called natural products), including hormone disrupting phthalates (included in the “fragrance” ingredient). My own review of every parent’s staple – J&J’s head to toe baby wash – highlights the issues and may cause you to reconsider whether the product is really as gentle as it purports to be.” Are these the types of products you want to be using on your kids, when there are safe alternatives available? Maybe Johnson & Johnson’s slogan of “As Gentle To The Eyes As Pure Water” isn’t exactly the truth.

The EWG/Campaign for Safe Cosmetics commissioned the study to test 48 products for 1,4-dioxane, and 28 of those products were also tested for formaldehyde. The lab found:

- 1,4-dioxane in 67 percent of the products.

- Formaldehyde in 82 percent of those tested.

- Seventeen products contaminated with both 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde.

The full list of products tested is in the Campaign’s report, “No More Toxic Tub.” They include: Johnson & Johnson’s baby shampoo, Baby Magic “Soft Baby Scent” Baby Lotion, and American Girl “Hopes & Dreams” Glistening Shower and Beth Wash.

I have written about 1,4-Dioxane And Why You Should Avoid It if you want to learn a little bit more about the chemical compound itself. But another big part of this story is a new green social media campaign that J & J is working on featuring Angie Harmon. According to The Smart Mama, Harmon is supposed to be a “greenie” – or at least she has advertised herself as one – an all organic diet and limiting her children’s sugar intake. She has been identified as a “staunch environmentalist and tireless advocate for children’s rights.” If this is true, how could Angie agree to be the spokesperson? Angie – those ingredients in the J&J products are not good for our children. How can you advocate for the environment and children’s rights, yet support products that continue the use of petroleum based ingredients, do not use recycled content bottles, and contain ingredients that may be harmful to our children?” Strange times, indeed. These campaigns are designed to encourage moms to buy these products, and using a “green” celebrity will give them credibility they don’t deserve. I do hope that Angie Harmon takes a second to really look at what she is promoting.

The FDA is not going to tell you that products you are using could be potentially dangerous; it is up to you to do the research, unfortunately. And a company selling baby products full of 1,4-Dioxane and formaldehyde needs to be talked about – thus all the bloggers talking about this issue:

Hey, Angie Harmon, You Can’t Kinda Go Green: Faulting Johnson’s Social Media Baby Product Campaign

I Use Toxic Bath Products on My Kids! Do You?

Pure and Gentle? Children’s Products Can Be Deceptive

Bubble Baths We Can Feel Good About

Johnson & Johnson Starts a “Green” Social Media Campaign but Neglects to Remove Toxic Chemicals

Should Soap Bubbles Make Your Baby Sick? Tell J&J No!

It’s up to us, the people who buy products from these companies, to do our due diligence before just believing everything they tell us. If you are using J&J products right now in your house, it might be time to do that research before you bathe your kids in 1,4-dioxane and/or formaldehyde any longer!

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About the Author:

After a varied past of being a test driver for automotive television programs, a Hollywood studio lackey, and an online media sales director, David is now the publisher and editor of The Good Human. In his spare time he rides motorcycles, drinks good beer, and builds stuff in the garage. You can follow him on Twitter at @thegoodhuman or G+ at Google
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Comments (8)

  1. Sommer says:

    Thanks for bringing this to the attention of your readers. I think you’ve hit on some great points and it’s really scary to think that there are people out there saying the trace amounts of carcinogens are acceptable in our baby care products.

  2. JessTrev says:

    Thanks for sharing this info. Beyond the simple greenwashing issue, I agree – “It”™s up to us, the people who buy products from these companies, to do our due diligence before just believing everything they tell us.” Well said!

  3. Eric McErlain says:

    First of all, your information is out of date, as China has cleared Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and declared it safe. That action was taken almost two weeks ago:

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hSvFq6mkNPHDbDnMqqH59HLc8bPwD97282RO1

    Next, your readers should review the following two sources that place the No More Toxic Tub report in the proper perspective, backing J&J’s contention that their products are safe:

    http://www.healthnewsdigest.com/news/Children_s_Health_200/Stop_The_Fear_Mongering_On_Children_s_Health.shtml

    http://www.stats.org/stories/2009/baby_bath_cancer_mar13_09.html

  4. David says:

    Wow, the formaldehyde industry telling us that formaldehyde is good for us. Remind anyone else of the cigarette companies telling us that their product is safe?

  5. AJ says:

    …yes… and the decades of the toothpaste companies’ telling us thatthe addition of flouride is safe, even necessary for us…

    OH! And the addition of ammonia to our already-chlorinated tap water so that now we drink, and cook with, and bathe in chloramine… and if it isn’t safe for kidney patients, how can they POSSIBLY imagine it is safe for anyone????

  6. Andrea Abrahamson says:

    Did you see that J&J launched an institute to educate consumers about natural ingredients??http://www.activenaturalsinstitute.com

    Very interesting, let’s see how long it will take them to reformulate..having worked in product development, this could take a year to 18 months. Hopefully we will see new stuff on the shelves soon. Or they will just launch new ones for the people that are aware of the harmful ingredients. And I always thought, if it is safe for babies, it is safe for me too.

  7. HomemadeMother says:

    This sort of thing is exactly why I make most of my own skin care products. I simply don’t trust the big companies anymore.

    http://www.homemademothering.com/2010/05/in-past-few-weeks-several-people-have.html

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