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OPINION: Could My Baby Shampoo Be Dangerous?

Recent reports indicate that potential cancer-causing agents are found in Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo.

Despite offering safer products on the shelves in other countries, some Johnson & Johnson baby products sold in the United States still contain traces of potential cancer-causing agents. The chemicals in question are quaternium-15 and 1,4-dioxane.

I found myself shocked watching the news yesterday. Coverage of this story aired on all the major networks and various online media outlets, including the Huffington Post.

Realizing that I have been bathing my children in potentially cancer-causing agents since they were brought home from the hospital had me outraged. Sure enough, the dangerous chemicals were found in several of the products in my children’s bathtub. I found it in their baby shampoo and I also found quaternium-15 in their body wash.

This Perry Hall mom threw them all away.

I trusted Johnson & Johnson. Why would they remove these chemicals from products in several other countries, but leave them in place here in the United States?

The company’s website has released a statement about how they hold themselves to the highest standards and have reformulated 70 percent of their products to remove these chemicals. Still, I find it irresponsible to not have done this with their No. 1 selling baby shampoo.

A media campaign was launched yesterday by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, called Baby’s Tub is Still Toxic, which is urging consumers to boycott the products until they commit to producing these products without the dangerous chemicals by Nov. 15.

The company reports that they are not introducing any new products with the formaldehyde-releasing chemicals, and are working to reduce and eliminate these agents, both of which are approved for use in the United States.

But if a safer formula was already available, why were they still producing the less safe products in the United States?

I’m not trying to be unrealistic. I recognize that so many chemicals and ingredients our children are exposed to could be harmful—, sodas, preservatives, —but when it’s brought to my attention, I do my best to make informed decisions. I also believe that consumers should expect well- known and trusted companies to produce the safest products they can and not cut corners.

I’m not perfect. I don’t read every ingredient my kids consume. But stories like this open my eyes to make even better choices. Personally, I’ll be staying away from these products for some time.

My anger alone will have me switching to a less dangerous product.

Stacey Schantz November 02, 2011 at 04:18 PM
Using this website - http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5500/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=8577 - you can write to J&J and tell them to stop using these dangerous chemicals in their products. It's a pre-filled form, just fill in a few data fields and the information will be sent to J&J. I've send my form in, have you?
Renee November 02, 2011 at 04:28 PM
I learned that a long time ago and switched to Melaleuca products that I know are safe and have been around for 28+ years. Pantene is another product that is unsafe for the same reason keratin treatments are- they contain products found in formaldehyde! I also learned from researching why my son had eczema on his body only where his clothes covered and found out that it took 15 more wash/rinse cycles to get the detergent out just from using it once. I check out products I intend to purchase on this governments website: http://hpd.nlm.nih.gov/ Also, if it says on the label not sold in California, I do not buy it- they have stricter policies on what they can sell because of cancer causing ingredients! Hope this helps!
Tim November 02, 2011 at 04:49 PM
Wow, this straight up sucks. It's what we used too. Ugh.
Stacey Schantz November 02, 2011 at 05:26 PM
Thanks Renee, I use some Melaleuca products - laundry detergent, cleaning supplies - I'm looking in to switching over completely because of this. And GRRRR, i use Pantene!
Stacey Schantz November 02, 2011 at 05:26 PM
I'm with you Tim, it's got me quite worked up.
Darylle Sheehan November 02, 2011 at 09:06 PM
Thanks for this fantastic article, and for sharing the letter to Johnson & Johnson! This really is the best way to let J&J know what consumers want, need, and deserve!
Stacey Schantz November 02, 2011 at 09:32 PM
Thank you to Darylle who shared this link to the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database - http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=308. The database contains over 69,000 products and rates each based on its ingredients. I just bookmarked it on my iPhone for future reference.
Katie November 02, 2011 at 11:30 PM
Thank you for this article. Much needed awareness! Many people dont realize that we cant trust products from all companies just because their marketing is all warm and fuzzy.
Katie November 03, 2011 at 12:12 PM
And we should all be aware that it is not just baby shampoo.... check out the ingredients and chemicals in your baby's diapers, wipes, your laundry detergent, deodorant, toothpaste, lotion, makeup, hand soap, conditioner........... the list goes on and on. http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ For baby soap and shampoo, we use Earth Mama Angel Baby products
Stacey Schantz November 03, 2011 at 01:29 PM
Thanks for your comments Katie, it's really been eye opening for me... Hope it has been for other readers as well.
brittany neal November 03, 2011 at 08:56 PM
This terrifies me! My kids are 7 and 3 now and I used j&j on both of them and still do/did for my 3 yr old.what is our country heading towards with outrageous acts such as this..I mean yeah,they can take the chemicals out of their prods for other countries but not for U.S....wtf?
Katie November 04, 2011 at 03:50 AM
And this is a whole other article topic.... but it leads into what is in the food we feed our kids and ourselves...
Stacey Schantz November 04, 2011 at 01:32 PM
Brittany, I feel exactly the same way. My son is almost 5 and I've been using it on him since he was born, same with my 21-month-old. What disgusted me further was a quote on J&J's baby's website that states that a baby's skin is 100 times thinner than that of an adult. Clearly showing that safe baby products should be used on this delicate skin. And probably indicating that the chemicals can be absorbed easier through baby's skin. TERRIFYING! And even more reason why I find it so socially irresponsible that the company did not reformulate all of their products for US when it did for other countries. It absolutely disgusts me, and I very matter of factly threw out all J&J baby products in our house. Only to find the chemical is also in the foundation I use on my face, the bubble bath my son uses, my antipersperant. Going to need a second recycling pickup this week!!! Unfortunately since the chemical is approved for use in the US we probably can't avoid it completely even if/when J&J does remove it. Katie, you are right, food is even scarier! Perhaps I'll tackle that in the near future!
AmandaR November 08, 2011 at 05:53 PM
Besides Melaluca products, what else can I use to wash my baby?
Stacey Schantz November 08, 2011 at 06:08 PM
AmandaR, I found the Burt's Bee's Baby Shampoo and Wash to be very natural and has a pretty good scent. You can buy it at Babies R Us, Target Walmart. That's what we switched too. J&J does make a Natural's version too that's less expensive than Burt's and 98% natural, and from the ingredients list doesn't have the dangerous chemicals. But I couldn't bring myself to buy the J&J product. I've also heard good things about Angel Baby (I think also available at Babies R Us). Wegman's carries a whole section of natural cleansers, as does Whole Foods. But be a label reader! I found the dangerous chemicals in the baby wash/shampoo at Carter's (which boasts TRUSTED BY MOMS on the label) I've also seen in in Bubble Bath and all the generic Baby Shampoos I looked at.
Katie November 08, 2011 at 08:25 PM
If you go to the skindeep link http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ , you can click on the product you're interested in (shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, baby wipes, etc), and it will list products in order starting with the safest. Each product has a rating, 0 is the 'best' rating.

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