Johnson & Johnson, the U.S. healthcare giant, Thursday denied reports that its baby shampoo products contain cancer-causing chemicals.
The ingredients used in Johnson's Baby products, including preservatives that are designed to release tiny amounts of formaldehyde to protect against harmful bacteria growth, are safe and approved by regulators in every country or region in which they are used, including the U.S., EU, and China, said the company in a statement.
While different formulations of similar products around the world may contain different ingredients, all conform to regulatory requirements, it said.
Earlier, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released a report saying Johnson & Johnson sold baby shampoo that contained chemicals harmful to babies in 13 countries while selling such products in at least eight other countries without the harmful chemicals.
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, said Lisa Archer, director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics at the Breast Cancer Fund.
One of the chemicals, quaternium-15, is a preservative that kills bacteria by releasing formaldehyde, which was declared a human carcinogen by the World Health Organization in 2005. The other chemical, 1,4-dioxane, which is a byproduct of a process for making chemicals more soluble and gentler on the skin, is suspected of causing damage to the central nervous system, liver and kidneys.
We know that some consumers are concerned about formaldehyde, which is why we offer many products without formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, and are phasing out these types of preservatives in our baby products worldwide, said the company.
Between July and October of 2011, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics purchased and reviewed labels of Johnson's Baby Shampoo sold in 13 countries to see if the products contained quaternium-15, and found that the shampoo sold in the United States, Australia, Canada, China and Indonesia contained quaternium-15 while the shampoo sold in Denmark, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the UK contained non-formaldehyde preservatives.