Johnson and Johnson: Take Back the Toxic Soap (us Green Parents are Not Happy)


Oh, things are cooking in the blogosphere. I am part of Green Moms Carnival and there are some amazing and inspiring moms writing about important issues everyday. Remember when I recently reported about the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ recent Toxic Tub report? Where they shared that mainstream baby soap and shampoo contains cancer causing ingredients formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane at low levels?

In response to this news, parents and governments across the world are outraged and are taking action. Many retailers in China, Taiwan, and Vietnam have pulled Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo from their selves. Where is the U.S. outrage? Isn’t it a tad ironic that in China they are pulling this from the shelves, while we sit idly by?

Jennifer at the Smart Mama wrote this powerful post sharing about a new campaign, also ironic, from Johnson and Johnson to promote their bath products. They’ve got bloggers, video, contests, you name it. Maryanne also wrote about this campaign over at Eco-Child’s Play, and it’s odd timing with the Toxic Tub report. I find myself scratching my head. A report comes out telling parents that Johnson and Johnson’s baby products have 1,4 dioxane and formaldehyde, and we know they have phthalates, and millions of parents will now see commercials, blog posts, and ads promoting the stuff (not to mention a media star, “green mom” even, Angie Harmon, to be a spokesperson).

Well, the Green Moms Carnival have a hold of this and look out. We know that the amounts of these chemicals is small. But that isn’t the point. The point is that they shouldn’t be in there at all. Parents should be demanding that Johnson and Johnson reformulate to remove 1,4 dioxan, formaldehyde, and phthalates. It’s also a two timing move to talk about how green they are but then continue to look the other way while these toxic ingredients are in there very own products.

According to the Safe Cosmetics Report,

“Contrary to industry statements, the U.S. has no safety standards for formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane in personal care products, nor does it limit the amount of these chemicals in products or require that they be listed on labels. The European Union has banned 1,4-dioxane from personal care products and has recalled products found to contain the chemical. Formaldehyde is banned from personal care products in Japan and Sweden, and restricted in the EU and Canada.

‘Once again, the U.S. is lagging when it comes to protecting children’s health,’ said Lisa Archer of the Breast Cancer Fund and coordinator of the Campaign. ‘The lack of safety standards in the U.S. is disadvantaging American companies. We need updated laws to ensure that American products meet the highest bar of safety and are free of toxic chemicals.’”

It’s time for some outrage, parents. Stay tuned for more ways to get involved. See my earlier post about the Toxic Tub report for way to can take action and keep your kids safe. It really shouldn’t have to be this hard, and parents across the country are talking about it. Johnson and Johnson needs to provide America with what they seek to perpetuate: a safe product for our kids, be a company that is transparent, and as green as possible. To do any less would be hypocritical and disrespectful. The Green Moms are angry, well-researched, and will be heard. Check out what they have to say on April 1st, at the Green and Clean Mom (thanks to Sommer for hosting and alerting us to the Johnson and Johnson campaign)!

14 Responses to Johnson and Johnson: Take Back the Toxic Soap (us Green Parents are Not Happy)

  1. Amy March 31, 2009 at 3:57 pm #

    It is insane that the USA is not taking action. It is just not okay!

  2. JessTrev March 31, 2009 at 5:41 pm #

    Time for outrage, indeed. Well said!

  3. Jenn March 31, 2009 at 5:44 pm #

    Great job! I'm still baffled as to why this is even an issue. Um, formaldehyde in baby bath…no thanks! It does not need to be in there, so let's get it out!

  4. Anna (Green Talk) March 31, 2009 at 6:04 pm #

    Sometimes I think that no is watching the store when it comes to personal care products. J&J says it tests its products to make them safe. Did anyone at J& J really believe their products are safe with 1,4-dioxane, which was banned by the EU? Formaldehyde? Please.All parents should be insulted by J&J's campaign.

  5. Formaldehyde Council April 1, 2009 at 4:30 am #

    No, it isn't time for outrage, it's time for facts and for critical thinking. First off, the author here notes that the Johnson's product had been removed from stores in China, but neglected to inform her readers that more recently, authorities there declared that the product was safe.Furthermore, a number of other observers have actually taken the time to read the entire report from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and found some very glaring flaws. Click here and here for just two examples.The bottom line is that these products are safe, and the only irresponsible parties here are the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and third parties who passed along their charges uncritically.

  6. Mindful Momma April 1, 2009 at 6:11 am #

    You're right – it shouldn't have to be this hard to shop for bubble bath for our kids. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

  7. christine April 1, 2009 at 9:52 am #

    Seriously – I pulled this from my bathtub about a month ago. And then I said to my husband, I don't even know what to do with this – I feel like I should be dropping it off at one of the town toxic chemical collections! I am a mom on a budget but I will splurge on California Baby for my kids now, any day.

  8. mother earth aka kar April 1, 2009 at 5:07 pm #

    22 yrs ago someone shared with me the concerns about Johnson's no more tears formula – I was postively horrified.

  9. Katy Farber April 1, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

    Thanks for your comments. Just for full disclosure, let's look at the group where the Formaldehyde Council is from (according to their own website), "The Formaldehyde Council, Inc. (FCI) was formed by the producers and users of formaldehyde to ensure that accurate information regarding the use of this important compound would be available to the public." No conflict of interest there! But honestly, the comment from the Formaldehyde Council misses my point. I am not a chemist. I'm not even defending the report. I am merely a concerned parent who sees a barage of chemicals that are untested and unregulated in multiple products that people use everyday, out of trust and good faith. If there is even a shred of evidence to suggest that these chemicals are harmful (and I'd say we have more than a shred!) then why put our most vulnerable population at risk? There are alternatives, ask any of the makers of natural products. It is about trust from a company who is touting its goal as being the greenest company in the world. You simply can't talk that way and add potentially harmful chemicals to the products you sell, without people noticing. That is the problem. And I think I am thinking quite critically about this issue. What do you think, readers?

  10. Diane MacEachern April 2, 2009 at 5:15 am #

    Bottom line: let's use our "purse power" to really get the message across. Stop buying J&J (and similar companies) until they make their soap clean!

  11. Anonymous April 2, 2009 at 7:39 am #

    Bombard J&J's website with your comments about getting this garbage out of their products. They claim they are 'green' on their website. Such a disgrace.

  12. Lynn from organicman April 7, 2009 at 4:26 am #

    Katy,Thanks for contributing such great posts to the carnival and for really putting your concerns out there. It is only recently that the links between breast cancer and early exposure to carcinogens is becoming more clear to me, and many of those linkages I've discovered through my reading about the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and their supporting organizations, and I'm so glad you highlighted Lisa Archer of the Breast Cancer Fund in your well-researched post. I do have my doubts about the China protests – I think those were totally politically motivated. Best,Lynn

  13. Anonymous August 19, 2011 at 3:21 am #

    the only thing that doesnt give my baby a rash is J&J bubble wash the blue bottle not the shampoo. Seriously it is the ONLY thing. You have to also think about this, not everyone can afford to use others and j&j is affordable and considered safe and we have worse and more chemicals in adult shampoos or even soap. everything today has chemicals no matter what you may think. might look up research on how companies dont always list ALL the ingredients in their products especially if they can make a profit. for other info on formaldehyde you may want to visit http://www.eco-usa.net/toxics/chemicals/formaldeh…. do you have plywood or particle wood in your home? if so you need to switch to wood because it has formaldehyde, air? formaldehyde, glue, paint, insulation? all have formaldehyde.

  14. Anonymous August 19, 2011 at 3:32 am #

    also the bath that i use does not have the things yall have listed here is a good site to look up your products and such. i already have and my J&J product does NOT have any of them http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=599

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