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Johnson and Johnson to Remove Dangerous Chemicals From All Products

Courtesy Johnson & Johnson's

Johnson & Johnson has announced that it will remove potentially dangerous chemicals – including some that may cause cancer – from nearly all of its toiletries and cosmetic products worldwide, the Associated Press is reporting.

The health and cosmetics giant announced that it remains on track to have baby products, including its Johnson's No More Tears baby shampoo, reformulated with safer ingredients by the end of 2013. Adult products will be reformulated within 3 1/2 years.

"We want people to have complete peace of mind when they use our products," Susan Nettesheim, vice president of product stewardship and toxicology for J&J's consumer health brands, told the AP.

Some of the products in question include: baby lotion and bath products, Desitin for diaper rash, and adult skin care brands such as Aveeno, Neutrogena, RoC, Clean & Clear and Lubriderm

The key chemicals of concern are 1,4 dioxane and the preservative formaldehyde, which is slowly released by a chemical called quaternium-15 to kill bacteria. Both 1,4 dioxane and formaldehyde are probable human carcinogens; formaldehyde also is a skin, eye and respiratory irritant.

For tips on shopping for the safest products and a searchable database with potential hazards, visit the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ website.

The Campaign has also released a statement applauding J&J for its voluntary move, and put pressure on other companies to follow suit: 

“The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics ... will launch a national campaign this week challenging L’Oreal (Maybelline, Garnier, Kiehl’s, The Body Shop, Softsheen-Carson), Procter & Gamble (CoverGirl, Pantene, Secret, Old Spice), Estee Lauder (Clinique, MAC, Prescriptives), Avon, and Unilever (Dove, Ponds, St. Ives, Axe) to follow J&J’s lead and commit to removing carcinogens and other harmful chemicals from cosmetics and specify a timeline for removal.”