Announcing that it would remove chemicals of concern from its baby products by 2013, the personal care giant Johnson & Johnson is following through on a commitment it made after relentless pressure from health and environmental groups.
Best known for its No More Tears baby shampoo, the company came under scrutiny for ingredients including 1,4 dioxane and the formaldehyde-releasing preservative, quaternium-15. These along with triclosan, phthalates, parabens and detergent-based fragrances will be completely phased out of all the company's products by 2015. 1,4 dioxane and formaldehyde are both considered potential human carcinogens. Phthalates and parabens are considered endocrine disruptors, which can cause a number of health issues including problems with fertility, metabolic function and development.
Johnson & Johnson's decision came after the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics—a coalition of more than 175 nonprofits—targeted the company back in 2009, citing the health of consumers, including children, as well as the health of the employees who make the products were at risk from exposure to the known toxins. Plans were underway by the coalition to launch a consumer boycott of the products. The company agreed to make its products safer before the boycott could get underway.
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In addition to the product changes, Johnson & Johnson will launch the website www.safetyandcarecommitment.com to bring more transparency about its products to its retail and wholesale customers. The site will cover the origin of the ingredients, as well as the environmental and human safety risks for each of the company's products.
Along with No More Tears, Johnson & Johnson manufactures Aveeno, Neutrogena, RoC, Clean & Clear and Lubriderm.
In 2011, the Clorox company became the first mainstream company to disclose all its ingredients after pressure from the nonprofit, Women's Voices for the Earth.
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