Poison in baby shampoo

Protest over chemicals in baby shampoo heats up

In early November, a coalition of more than two dozen environmental and medical groups sent a letter to pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson demanding the company remove trace amounts of carcinogens from one of its baby shampoos.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has protested the use of dioxane, known to be carcinogenic to animals, and quaternium-15, which releases formaldehyde, in Johnson’s Baby Shampoo for more than two years, according to The Associated Press. Formaldehyde was declared a known human carcinogen in June by the Department of Health and Human Service’s National Toxicology Program.

“You’re exposing a child during a very vulnerable period of development, when the effect may be worse,” said Tracey J. Woodruff, director of UC, San Francisco’s Program on Reproductive Health and Environment, of the cancer risks of formaldehyde in baby shampoo.

Johnson & Johnson has developed a product line called Johnson’s Natural that does not contain the carcinogens, but the new line costs about twice as much as the original shampoo.