No More Tears, But Maybe Cancer

Go and check your shampoo bottles.

If you find the ingredients contain “dioxane and a substance called quaternium-15“, throw them out – you’re poisoning your kids, perhaps even giving them cancer.

Johnson & Johnson, makers of the famous “No More Tears” Baby Shampoo, have been knowingly putting cancer causing agents in their shampoo for years. And it’s legal.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has unsuccessfully been urging the world’s largest health care company for 2 1/2 years to remove the trace amounts of potentially cancer-causing chemicals – dioxane and a substance called quaternium-15 that releases formaldehyde – from Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, one of its signature products.

Johnson & Johnson said it is reducing or gradually phasing out the chemicals, but did not respond directly to the campaign’s demands.

Now the group is ratcheting up the pressure and urging consumers to boycott Johnson & Johnson baby products until the company agrees to remove the chemicals from its baby products sold around the world.
“Johnson & Johnson clearly can make safer baby shampoo in all the markets around the world, but it’s not doing it,” said Lisa Archer, director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “It’s clearly a double standard, something they can easily fix.”

Archer said her group has met with Johnson & Johnson representatives three times since spring 2009, and is disappointed the company is not making safer baby shampoo and other products in the U.S. when it does elsewhere.

And there’s the rub, right? They don’t use it in all their shampoos, they know it’s harmful and yet they use it here.

Oh, don’t think just because there’s some french printing on your bottle you’re safe, the shampoo sold here is made in the US. And it’s not just limited to J&J products, a colleague found the ingredients in a grocery store brand of shampoo too.

Which begs the question, who do you blame: the government or the manufacturer?

According to the report, obtained by The Associated Press, one of the suspect chemicals, quaternium-15, is a preservative that kills bacteria by releasing formaldehyde. Formaldehyde, used as a disinfectant and embalming fluid, was declared a known human carcinogen this past June by the U.S. National Toxicology Program. Formaldehyde also is a skin, eye and respiratory irritant.

Quaternium-15 is still an ingredient on Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo sold in the U.S., Canada, China, Indonesia and Australia, but the campaign’s research this summer found it’s not in the same product sold in at least eight other countries, from the U.K. and Denmark to Japan and South Africa.

The second chemical, 1,4-dioxane, is considered a likely carcinogen. It’s a byproduct of a process for making chemicals more soluble and gentler on the skin.

The campaign’s May 2009 report, called “No More Toxic Tub,” stated that studies by an independent laboratory it hired, Analytical Sciences LLC of Petaluma, Calif., found that 1,4-dioxane was contained in Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, Oatmeal Baby Wash, Moisture Care Baby Wash and Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash.

Canada was the first country in the world to declare BPA a toxic substance even while companies were still defending it’s use.

That chemical is being blamed for increased rates of prostate cancer and early onset puberty in girls.

My wife is livid tonight. When the BPA scandal broke, we were thorough in our removal of the products from our home and demanded refunds from retailers. Now we find out just as we were poisoning our kids each time we fed them, we were doing it every night when we bathed them. Little by little, we’ve been exposing our kids to harmful chemicals that don’t need to be in there.

The bottle manufacturers relented and are changing their production methods, just as Johnson and Johnson has finally relented to the pressure.

Still, isn’t it a great feeling to know you’ve been poisoning your kids their entire lives?

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  1. Melissa January 2, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Check out you can input any skin care etc product and it will show you the toxicity levels in the product.

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