Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is the target of new analysis from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which released a second report detailing two cancer-causing chemicals found in Johnson & Johnson's popular baby shampoo.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is hoping to put public pressure on Johnson & Johnson, which still produces versions of the shampoo containing the carcinogens two years after the campaign's original report.
It's been an incredibly slow movement, Stacy Malkan, the author of the campaign's report entitled Baby's Tub Is Still Toxic, told the International Business Times.
We felt it was important to release the report to build pressure on them to move more quickly than they have been moving. We wanted to release the information as a way of informing the public that their shampoo still has same toxicity problems as back then.
Back then, in March 2009, the campaign released its original report, No More Toxic Tub, which brought attention to two carcinogens -- formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane -- commonly found in children's bath products.
Now, more than 2 1/2 years later, the campaign followed up on its original analysis of Johnson & Johnson. What it found, after purchasing and reviewing labels on Johnson & John's baby shampoo in 13 different countries, was that the shampoo in five countries -- including the United States and Canada -- contained quarternium-15, which kills bacteria by releasing formaldehyde.
The campaign encouraged consumers to boycott Johnson & Johnson baby products until the company makes public steps to remove the chemicals from all products around the world.
Clearly there is no need for Johnson & Johnson to expose babies to a known carcinogen when the company is already making safer alternatives. All babies deserve safer products, Lisa Archer, director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics at the Breast Cancer Fund, said in a release from the company.
The campaign showed the report to Johnson & Johnson on Monday before it was released Tuesday. They sent the company a letter, addressed to CEO William Weldon and signed by groups such as Archer's Breast Cancer Fund, the American Nurses Association and the Environmental Working Group. More than 20 groups signed, representing more than three million people, according to a press release from the campaign.
The letter called for a commitment from the company to replace the carcinogens in its baby products with safer substances by Nov. 15.
Johnson & Johnson responded with a statement that Archer called a big step in the right direction.
In the statement, Johnson & Johnson said it has been working to reduce levels of formaldehyde-releasing preservatives and 1,4-dioxane in its products. It also pointed out that it has introduced a new line called Johnson's Natural, which contains neither of the chemicals.
Over the past few years or so, we already have reduced the number of formulations globally with formaldehyde releaser preservatives by 33 percent and in the U.S. by over 60 percent, the statement read, in part.
But the company did not respond directly to the campaign's letter, and it did not say whether it planned to set any sort of deadline to remove the toxic chemicals from its products.
Johnson & Johnson did not respond to multiple calls and a message requesting comment.
A small sample of Johnson & Johnson baby shampoos at three Duane Reade locations in New York City on Wednesday revealed that all contained quaternium-15, the formaldehyde-releasing ingredient.
In June, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services added formaldehyde to its list of known human carcinogens. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics' report, obtained by IBTimes, formaldehyde also is a common allergen and can cause skin irritation, inflammation and rashes.
Malkin mentioned that although Johnson & Johnson was far from the only company that had carcinogens in its baby products, it was the company that drew the most concern because of its brand visibility. Malkin said she thinks the elimination of carcinogens in Johnson & Johnson baby products would go a long way in convincing other companies to do the same.
We do think the statement is important step forward, Malkin said. But we would like to see a specific timeline commitment. They need to say by when, and it should be very soon. They obviously have alternatives already. They need to step it up.
Write to Brett LoGiurato at b.logiurato@IBTimes.com