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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.

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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