CTVNews.ca Staff
Mon. Nov. 7 2011
 
A consumer advocacy group is taking aim at Johnson & Johnson for failing to remove a cancer-causing chemical from its baby shampoo two years after it was first pressured to do so.
 
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics says laboratory testing shows the manufacturing giant is still including the formaldehyde-releasing preservative quaternium-15 in its flagship Baby Shampoo product sold in the U.S., Canada, China, Indonesia and Australia.
 
Quaternium-15 releases tiny amounts of formaldehyde as a bacteria-fighting preservative. Formaldehyde is considered a carcinogen in large doses but is legally acceptable as an ingredient in the U.S., in small doses.
 
In Denmark, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the U.K., quaternium-15 has been replaced with non-formaldehyde preservatives.
 
Because of this “double standard” the organization is calling for parents to boycott the product.
 
“In light of the new information that Johnson & Johnson is already successfully using non-formaldehyde preservatives in other baby products and in other countries, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and allies are urging the public to express their concerns to the company and to not buy Johnson and Johnson products,” says a report from the consumer group.
 
The report points out that Johnson & Johnson has introduced a “natural” version of the shampoo that does not contain any chemicals linked to formaldehyde.
 
“However, the original Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, which is priced at about one-half the cost of the new ‘natural’ shampoo, has not been reformulated in the U.S. or other markets,” the report states.
 
The report states that formaldehyde was recently added to the U.S. government list of known human carcinogens by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
 
Johnson & Johnson recently announced it will slowly start phasing out the use of preservatives that release small amounts of formaldehyde to “guard against bacterial contamination.”
 
The company says in a statement that “These preservative technologies, which are used widely in our industry are all safe and approved in the countries where they are sold. Going beyond safety alone, to meet the changing needs and expectations of parents, we are no longer introducing new baby products that contain these types of preservatives.”