Johnson & Johnson’s baby products are caught up in the media hype

It seems as if every few months a new product-safety "crisis du jour" comes up in the media.  Whether it's toy recalls, e-coli scares or car seat failures, the media bombards parents with dire information on which products are going to injure or kill their children.  While the information is important, as parents we need to put some of this into perspective. 

The most recent story came out last week – a report on dangerous chemicals found in baby bath, shampoo and lotion products.  The report was picked up broadly and ran with headlines that would scare any parent – "carcinogens," "cancer-causing chemicals," "toxins."  All weekend while I was out with my kids I had worried parents coming up to me asking what they should use – should they throw out all of their shampoos and lotions?  I gave them my standard answer "sift through the hype and get to the facts."

Don't get me wrong – I'm a firm believer that it's always best to limit exposure to chemicals.  However, the original report on these products was extremely confusing and neglected to clarify certain points.   I've spent several hours trying to understand it and researched information about the two chemicals specifically mentioned – Formaldehyde and 1,4-Dioxane.   According to The Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, formaldehyde is known to be a skin irritant to people with very sensitive skin but in regards to cancer, the studies only discuss air contamination.  As for 1,4-Dioxane the levels need to be extraordinarily high before it becomes a health risk.  What I get back to is that, while we should be mindful of what's in our products, we need to look at where else these chemicals reside and how great the danger really is.

The media, of course, ran with the most sensationalized headlines and tried to paint some brands as downright evil.  One in particular is Johnson & Johnson.  When you look at the grid listing all of the brands tested you see that only 5 were J&J and in one instance they are listed twice for the same product (although the report doesn't explain why.) You'll also see that in some cases either 1,4-Dioxane wasn't detected (ND) or the product wasn't even tested for Formaldehyde.  What the report also doesn't mention is that these chemicals serve as preservatives and prohibit the growth of fungus, bacteria and other potentially harmful microbes. 

What I'm saying is before your throw out all of your favorite bath and shampoo products review the grid for yourself and do a little research.  Let's not make much ado out of nothing.

 

Product Name

1,4-dioxane (ppm)

Formaldehyde (ppm)

Lotion

 

 

American Girl Hopes and Dreams Shimmer Body Lotion (Bath & Body Works)

ND*

310

Baby Magic “Soft Baby Scent” Baby Lotion (Ascendia Brands, Inc)

ND*

570

Baby Magic “Soft Baby Scent” Baby Lotion (Ascendia Brands, Inc)

0.92

610

Baby Magic “Soft Baby Scent” Baby Lotion (Ascendia Brands, Inc)

ND*

330

Johnson’s Bedtime Lotion Natural Calm Essences (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies)

ND*

 

Mustela Baby Body Lotion (Laboratories Expanscience)

ND*

 

Tinker

Bell

Body Lotion (Goldie LLC)

ND*

220

 

 

 

Shampoo

 

 

CVS Baby Shampoo (CVS/Pharmacy)

0.92

350

Johnson’s Baby Shampoo (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies)

ND*

200

Johnson’s Baby Shampoo (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies)

1.1

210

L’Oreal Kids Extra Gentle 2-in-1 Fast Dry Shampoo – Burst of Cool Melon (L’Oreal

USA

)

0.95

260

Suave Kids 2-in-1 Shampoo – Wild Watermelon (Unilever)

0.69

ND*

 

 

 

Liquid Shower Soap

 

 

American Girl Hopes and Dreams Glistening Shower and

Bath

Wash

(Bath & Body Works)

14

 

American Girl Real Beauty Inside and Out Shower Gel – Apple Blossom (

Bath

& Body Works)

6.3

210

American Girl Real Beauty Inside and Out Shower Gel – Apple Blossom (

Bath

& Body Works)

5.7

220

American Girl Real Beauty Inside and Out Shower Gel – Apple Blossom (

Bath

& Body Works)

18

150

American Girl Real Beauty Inside and Out Shower Gel – Sunny

Orange

(Bath & Body Works)

35

ND*

 

 

 

Bath

Wash

 

 

Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy

Wash

(Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies)

1.4

 

Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy

Wash

(Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies)

1.7

 

Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy

Wash

(Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies)

4.6

 

CVS Kids

Body

Wash

– Blueberry Blast (CVS/Pharmacy)

0.75

54

Equate Tearless

Baby

Wash

(Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.)

0.63

290

Gentle Naturals Eczema

Baby

Wash

(Del Pharmaceuticals, Inc.)

6.4

 

Grins & Giggles Milk & Honey

Baby

Wash

(Gerber Products Company)

2.8

400

Huggies Naturally Refreshing Cucumber & Green Tea

Baby

Wash

(Kimberly-Clark)

3.2

410

Johnson’s Moisture Care Baby

Wash

(Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies)

3.9

 

Johnson’s Oatmeal Baby

Wash

– Vanilla (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies)

4.2

 

Mustela Baby Shampoo (Laboratories Expanscience)

2.8

 

Mustela Dermo-Cleansing Gel for Hair and Body Newborn/Baby (Laboratories Expanscience)

3.9

 

Night-time Bath Baby

Wash

(Target Corporation)

3.6

 

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