As a parent, the last thing you want to do during bath time is rub highly toxic chemicals into your baby’s head. But chances are if you are using Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Shampoo…that is what you are doing. Johnson and Johnson, one of the world’s largest health care company is still making products for babies that have 2 potentially cancer causing agents in their products. Even more disturbing is the fact that J&J makes the same products without these chemicals, but still feels it is necessary to sell the products containing the cancer causing ingredients.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has been trying to get Johnson and Johnson to remove the small amounts of the chemicals, dioxane and quaternium-15 from Johnson’s Baby Shampoo for over two and a half years. USA today reports that:
“According to the report, obtained by The Associated Press, one of the suspect chemicals, quaternium-15, is a preservative that kills bacteria by releasing formaldehyde. Formaldehyde, used as a disinfectant and embalming fluid, was declared a known human carcinogen this past June by the U.S. National Toxicology Program. Formaldehyde also is a skin, eye and respiratory irritant.
The second chemical, 1,4-dioxane, is considered a likely carcinogen. It’s a byproduct of a process for making chemicals more soluble and gentler on the skin.”
Just recently, a campaign called “Baby’s Tub is Still Toxic,” was launched urging people to boycott all Johnson and Johnson products until the company agreed to stop using these chemicals in their baby products. The campaign also sent a letter to J&J signed by 25 environmental and medical groups, representing 3.5 million people, demanding the chemicals be removed by November 15th.
So what did J&J have to say about that? They said that formaldehyde releasing preservatives are safe and approved by regulators in the U.S. but that they would work on phasing them out. Really!!?? Do I really want to put any amount formaldehyde, the highly toxic substance used to preserve human remains, on my baby’s head!?? How is this ok? And why is a company that clearly has the ability to make these products safe, not doing it?
Did you know that 70% of what you put on a babies skin can be absorbed into their tiny bodies and that their skin is 30% thinner than adults? This is especially scary considering they are in such a vulnerable state of development. Harsh chemicals have no place in baby products. A few tips to make sure you are avoiding anything harmful for you baby:
- Read labels! If ingredients are natural, they should be fairly recognizable. If you see a bunch of ingredients that you can’t even pronounce, it’s not a good sign.
- Look for baby lotions that don’t have petroleum or mineral oil. Plant based ingredients like coconut, avocado, jojoba, sunflower are good because they have antioxidants and oils that are good for your baby’s skin.
- Avoid anything that list “fragrance” as an ingredient. This is a sneaky way to hide many chemicals that are potentially very dangerous.
- Check this site http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/childrens-products for baby products approved by the Environmental Working Group. You can find lots of options here as well as look up common baby products to see how they are rated.
- When all else fails, warm water and a wash cloth works just fine!
I wish we could assume that all these companies have our babies’ best interest at heart and that we could trust them to make safe products, but we can’t. There are too many loopholes in federal regulations allowing companies to put pretty much whatever they want into these products, without testing the safety. So be picky and choose the products you use on your baby wisely!
Do you have a favorite natural baby product? Leave a comment below.