Late last year Johnson & Johnson announced plans to stop using “chemicals of concern” in baby products after pressure from health and eco groups. In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Johnson & Johnson said it will remove potentially carcinogenic chemicals from its products by the end of 2015.
In 2011, Johnson & Johnson was forced to make a pledge against using potentially carcinogenic chemicals in its products. It was a decision made under pressure after a health and environmental group coalition stirred up a hornet’s nest with reports the company was using harmful chemicals in baby products.
It was a two year long campaign that enjoyed support from over 175 nonprofit organizations with some 1.7 million members. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics began in May 2009, and prompted scrutiny from consumers as Johnson & Johnson was hit with allegations of using toxic chemicals in its brands.
As consumers grew to become more aware of what they’re buying, Johnson & Johnson announced actual plans to remove the potentially carcinogenic chemicals. “We want people to have complete peace of mind when they use our products” said Johnson & Johnson’s vice president of product stewardship and toxicology.
The chemicals that got the attention of health and environmental groups are 1,4 dioxane and preservative formaldehyde, both known as potential human carcinogens. The two substances along with triclosan, phthalates, parabens and fragrance ingredients will be removed from Johnson & Johnson’s products by 2015.
Susan Nettesheim, Johnson & Johnson’s vice president for product stewardship and toxicology, said: “There’s a very lively public discussion going on about the safety of ingredients in personal care products. It was really important that we had a voice in that”.
Put in the right light, Johnson & Johnson’s upcoming plans to remove potentially carcinogenic substances from its brands including baby products, acne cream and antiwrinkle lotion, will erase past scrutiny. Johnson & Johnson is the first major consumer products company to take on such a pledge.
“We’ve never really seen a major personal care product company take the kind of move that they’re taking with this” said Kenneth A. Cook, Environmental Working Group’s president. “Not really even anything in the ballpark” he added.