Baby products giant Johnson & Johnson is probably best known for its baby shampoo, and its accompanying “No More Tears” tagline. The product has been in the market for more than 50 years, and has long been associated with gentleness and safety, that one would not expect it to be a product that contains carcinogens.
However, it was revealed that some Johnson & Johnson’s products, including its baby shampoo, actually contain two carcinogenic chemicals: 1,4-dioxane and quaternium-15. 1,4-dioxane is a byproduct of the process that makes chemicals more soluble and gentler on the skin, and is considered a likely carcinogen, while quaternium-15 is a preservative that kills bacteria through the release of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.
This was revealed by the group Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which has reportedly been urging the baby products giant – unsuccessfully – to remove the chemicals from Johnson & Johnson’s baby shampoo for more than two years. While there are only trace amounts of these chemicals in the shampoo, Tracey J. Woodruff, an associate professor and director of the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment at University of California-San Francisco, commented: “Even though the chemicals may be low-level, why risk it?”
Johnson & Johnson announced on Wednesday its efforts towards removing these chemicals from its products. The New Brunswick, New Jersey-based company revealed that it expects to remove all quaternium-15 from its products within two years, but mentioned that it will be soon for its baby shampoo. They also revealed their long-term goal of trying to find alternatives that do not produce 1,4-dioxane in the manufacturing process.