One of the most well-known baby product providers plans on removing potentially cancer causing and other dangerous chemicals from nearly all its adult toiletries and cosmetic products within 3 and a-half-years.
Johnson and Johnson pledged last year to remove chemicals in their baby products that have concerned a large coalition of health and environmental groups.
The company told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview Tuesday that it remains on track to have baby products, including its Johnson's No More Tears baby shampoo, reformulated with safer ingredients by the end of 2013. The company’s products for adults will be reformulated by the end of 2015.
"We want people to have complete peace of mind when they use our products," said Susan Nettesheim, vice president of product stewardship and toxicology for J&J's consumer health brands. One of the products that is undergoing a formula change is the popular baby shampoo, No More Tears. It will be reformulated with safer ingredients by the end of 2013. Other products include Johnson baby lotion and bath products as well as, Destin, their diaper rash cream.
Johnson and Johnson has launched a website, safetyandcarecommitment.com, to explain to consumers what the company does to ensure its ingredients are safe and of high quality.
Many of the ingredients causing concern are related to the company’s cosmetic and personal care divisions. Some of those brands include Aveeno, Neutrogena, RoC, Clean & Clear and Lubriderm.
The key chemicals in question are 1,4 dioxane and the preservative formaldehyde, which is slowly released by a chemical called quaternium-15 to kill bacteria. Both 1,4 dioxane and formaldehyde are probable human carcinogens; formaldehyde also is a skin, eye and respiratory irritant.
By 2015 Johnson & Johnson will phase out those two chemicals and others of concern, including triclosan, phthalates and parabens, as well as fragrance ingredients, which aren't disclosed on product labels. However, it will allow chemicals that release formaldehyde when no safe alternative will work and is reducing levels of 1,4 dioxane to below 10 parts per million.
"Many of our products will be ahead of this timing," Nettesheim said, noting its products already met or exceeded regulatory limits.
Concern over chemicals in beauty care products, particularly those for babies, led the campaign to announce plans last November for a consumer boycott of J&J products. That was scrapped before it began because Johnson & Johnson quickly agreed to make its baby products safer.
The company also plans to phase out other ingredients that have been linked to health problems, including phthalates, which have a variety of uses, like lessening the stiffening effects of hair spray; several fragrance ingredients; and triclosan, an antibacterial substance used in soaps. Johnson & Johnson will remove all parabens, a type of preservative, from baby products and some other parabens from its adult products.
Johnson and Johnson is one of the first major consumer products company to make such a widespread commitment.