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Oh Happy Day: J&J works to revise its formulas

Last November I wrote this post about Johnson & Johnson’s No More Tears and how sad some of its ingredients make me.

The update: the company recently told the Associated Press that it’s still on track to reformulate its baby products with safer ingredients by the end of next year. Adult products are on track to be reformulated by the end of 2015. (Here’s a link to the full story via the New York Times.)

This is a really big deal, you guys. It’s not perfect: the company also revealed that although it will phase out 1,4 dioxane, quaternium-15, triclosan, pthalates, and parabens as well as fragrance ingredients, it will keep using chemicals that release formaldehyde “when no safe alternative will work.”

There’s definitely still some work to be done. But the bottom line is that even though the FDA doesn’t heavily regulate cosmetics, we as citizens helped create an important change. And I’m so, so, SO thrilled by the hard work of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group. Well done.

I’m doing my happy dance today. How are you celebrating this news? —Aleigh

(Image via Kables

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6 Reasons ‘No More Tears’ makes me want to cry

It seems like all of my friends are having babies these days, so it’s no surprise that baby products have been on my mind lately. (I do love shopping for my friends’ babies!) But here’s the thing: I really don’t think any products for babies, whose immune systems are just developing, and whose skin is so sensitive, should contain ingredients that are linked to allergies, neurotoxicity, cancer or other health issues.

And there’s one ubiquitous baby product that is a major offender: Johnson & Johnson’s No More Tears Baby Shampoo. (I am not linking to this product!) This shampoo that Johnson & Johnson claims is “As Gentle to Eyes as Pure Water” actually contains a few potentially cancer-causing chemicals, plus a few other problematic substances. And it’s definitely not as gentle as pure water. Here’s a breakdown of the troubling ingredients:

  • Quaternium-15: This ingredient releases formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. It’s also an immune system toxicant.
  • PEG 80 Sorbitan Laurate, PEG-150 Distearate and Sodium Laureth 13 Carboxylate (Dioxane): All of these ingredients are potentially contaminated with or release 1,4 Dioxane, widely considered to be a likely carcinogen. It’s been banned in Canada and the European Union (EU).
  • Cocamidopropyl betaine: Has been associated with irritation and allergic contact dermatitis.
  • Fragrance: A common irritant for sensitive or allergy-prone skin. (Also suspect because a label of “fragrance” doesn’t list the ingredients that make up the fragrance.)
  • Tetrasodium EDTA: According to the EU, there is evidence that this ingredient is toxic to the eyes. Ironic, no?
  • Artificial colors including D&C Yellow 10 and D&C Orange 4: Neither of these coloring agents are approved by the FDA for use in cosmetics “around the eyes” (whoops!).

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has been, er, campaigning against these ingredients for years, but yesterday, they took this battle to the next level–and it appears to be working! Their new report, “Baby’s Tub is Still Toxic,” came out yesterday, and was followed with this statement from Johnson & Johnson saying that it is phasing out formaldehyde-releasing chemicals from its baby products worldwide. I’ve been planning this post for a few months, but given these recent developments, I thought it was worth sharing sooner.

What do you think? Have you used this baby shampoo on your little angel? Have you ever felt duped by claims of gentleness and purity in the products you’ve used? —Aleigh

(Image via Lawrence Whittimore)

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