I had hoped to continue reading on in the press release about Johnson & Johnson’s launch of the Big Bubblin’ Stars Contest that they would announce some major changes in their use of toxic chemicals. I thought there might be a higher chance anyway - especially with the help of Angie Harmon, who’s interested in bettering the environment and protecting the rights of children – that the company wouldn’t stop at raising money for charities. But alas, it appears they won’t be living up to my expectations.
The timing of the grand announcement was interesting too, right after the Campaign for Safe Cosmetic’s expose detailing a case study of J&J’s Baby Shampoo from the report No More Toxic Tub. The study tested dozens of mainstream baby care products, only to find formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane in many of them.
There may be no more iconic baby product than Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. But the well-known claim that it is “as gentle to the eyes as pure water” just doesn’t measure up. Unfortunately, there are no legal standards that require products with such marketing claims to contain the safest ingredients available.
Recently, one of our favorite personal care product experts, SafeMama, explained that the levels of formaldehyde found (over 200 ppm) may be enough to trigger skin reactions in sensitive people.
We get tons of email from readers asking what to do about skin rashes and eczema and if you aren’t already using a natural bath product line it’s time to start. For starters, formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane are known carcinogens. Why would we want that on our kids or us? In addition, formaldehyde can also trigger skin rashes in some children. These substances are not on labels obviously, but that’s because they are contaminants of the processes companies use to create and package them. So you won’t know by reading the labels.
The No More Toxic Tub Report also goes on to explain that formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane are not the only chemicals of concern in the J&J product – it also contains D&C Orange 4, a color additive not approved by FDA for cosmetics used around eyes.
Are you serious??
And now to add insult to injury, I’m watching the hoopla buzzing around the Big Bubblin’ Stars Campaign. They’ve been able to pull in hundreds of mom bloggers to help spread the word about their new social media initiative. Kind of disappointing . . .
So what’s the right answer?
1) J&J could rock this issue of concern the right way with their giant sphere of influence. Go on – throw all caution to the wind and commit to dumping known carcinogens and irritants.
2) Help support a truly toxin-free initiative by aligning with the Kid-Safe Chemical Act to require complete transparency with all chemicals used in children’s products by manufacturers.
Solution #1 + Solution #2 = Some Serious Moxie (n. vigor, verve, pep, nerve, skill, know-how, courage and aggressiveness)
Now I could really throw myself behind that – and I can guarantee that there are many other influential mom bloggers who would jump on board in an instant! In fact, we’ve already heard from several:
- The Smart Mama
- Green and Clean Mom
- The Green Parent
- The Green Phone Booth
- Healthy Child Healthy World
- Green Talk
- Organic Mania
- The Big Green Purse
- Non-toxic Kids
- The Good Human
- Nature Mom
What can we do to cause change?
>> Learn more about about this issue of toxic ingredients by reading The Smart Mama’s “A Label Reading Lesson: Johnson & Johnson’s Head to Toe Baby Wash“.
>> Sign the Kid-Safe Chemical Act Declaration today.
>> Contact Johnson & Johnson to let them know that you’ll be putting your money where your mouth is, and won’t be buying their products until they remove harmful ingredients like 1,4 dioxane and formaldehyde.
3/31/09 Correction: My poor little brain was on the wrong track when I initially published this post, and I mistakenly addressed SC Johnson’s voluntary move to stop using phthalates in their products. Which leaves even more bad news for Johnson & Johnson – not only have they NOT agreed to remove phthalates, but they even defend using endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the products!
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto