If you buy a product that has been specifically created for your baby, you may assume that the
ingredients in that product are safe FOR YOUR BABY!
What you probably don’t know is that there is actually no way to guarantee this!
In fact the only thing that makes these products “for babies” is that they have been marketed
And, there is absolutely no guarantee that the producers of these “baby” products will do
anything to make sure that the substances are safe.
Take for example the recent revelation that the popular cosmetic company Johnson & Johnson
has been selling baby shampoo with cancer causing substances.
For years, Johnson & Johnson has been aware that some of the ingredients in their baby
shampoo is dangerous but they have continued to sell it to consumers.
So what are these toxic ingredients?
The most concerning one is quaternium-15 which releases toxic formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is
a know irritant and should not be exposed to the skin. Formaldehyde, has even been linked to
common childhood cancers like leukemia.
The other dangerous ingredient is 1,4-dioxane – this chemical is known to effect the human
central nervous system, kidneys and liver.
How did these ingredients end up in our baby products?
This perplexes us as much as it probably boggles you. This is the formal statement that was
made by Johnson & Johnson
“We have been phasing out the use of preservatives that release tiny amounts of formaldehyde
to guard against bacterial contamination. These preservative technologies, which are used
widely in our industry are all safe and approved in the countries where they are sold… Over the
past couple of years, we already have reduced the number of formulations globally with these
‘formaldehyde releaser’ preservatives by 33% and in the U.S. by over 60%.
We are completing this reformulation as quickly as we can safely and responsibly do so. As part
of the manufacturing process, we have extensive monitoring to ensure that the amount of a
trace byproduct known as “1,4 dioxane” in any of our products is well below the level that the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration and regulatory agencies around the world consider safe.
…We have introduced new product formulations for consumers who prefer natural products,
such as JOHNSON’S® NATURAL®, a line that is 98% natural, and contains no formaldehyde
releasing preservatives or traces of 1,4 dioxane.”
These companies have become really good at doing damage control in order to convince
parents that they are concerned about the health and well being of children. However, it still
does not properly explain how they could ethically justify selling a baby product with known
cancer causing agents.
And yes, Johnson & Johnson have come out with their own line of “natural” cancer-free baby
products but these products are more expensive and still only include 98% natural ingredients.
The big take away here is that the only person who is going to make sure that the substances
that you are putting on your baby are safe is YOU.
The best way to make sure that the cosmetics that you use on your little one are okay is by
looking at the ingredients list yourself. Look for products with simple ingredient lists that include
substances that you know and understand. Stay away from products with large amounts of
chemical components and preservatives, if you aren’t sure what it is Google it! In Canada, look for the NPN (Natural Product Number) to identify whether or not a product is certified natural!
Us Parents need to make an effort to choose natural and organic whenever possible. In some
cases it may even be wise to make your own baby cosmetics.
You can read more about the Johnson & Johnson chemical ingredients: