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For Immediate Release: May 26th, 2009
Contact:  Stephenie Hendricks, 415-258-9151, stephdh@earthlink.net
Shannon Coughlin, 415-336-2246, scoughlin@breastcancerfund.org


Parents, Doctors, Nurses to Johnson & Johnson: Make Safer Baby Products

San Francisco — Concerned about cancer-causing chemicals, more than 40 organizations representing 1.7 million parents, health care providers and environmental health advocates delivered a letter today to Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) urging the company to remove toxic ingredients from its popular baby products. Click here to view the letter.

The letter, signed by the American Nurses Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, MomsRising and many others, urges Johnson & Johnson to remove formaldehyde, 1,4-dioxane and other hazardous chemicals from personal care products by the end of 2009.  

A March 2009 report by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane in Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and other top-selling children’s bath products. Both chemicals are known to cause cancer in animals and are listed as probable human carcinogens by the Environmental Protection Agency.

A recent National Cancer Institute study reinforced the link between formaldehyde exposure and cancer. Formaldehyde is also an allergen that can cause rashes in sensitized people. The chemicals were not disclosed on product labels because contaminants are exempt from labeling laws.  

“There is no excuse for a baby shampoo marketed as ‘the number one choice of hospitals’ to contain chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer,” said Lisa Archer, national coordinator of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and a staff member of the Breast Cancer Fund. “As a manufacturer of trusted brands, Johnson & Johnson has a responsibility to remove carcinogens and other hazardous chemicals from its products.”

Other companies are making similar products without carcinogens, and Johnson & Johnson is already making formaldehyde-free products in Japan, where the chemical is banned from cosmetics.

Johnson & Johnson was recently listed as America’s most reputable company, according to a survey by the Reputation Institute. The survey was conducted prior to the release of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics report.   

In response to the report, major retailers in China, Vietnam and Singapore pulled Johnson & Johnson products off shelves. At least three class-action lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson and other companies named in the report. In April, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced the Safe Baby Products Act, directing FDA to regulate hazardous contaminants in children’s personal care products.

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Founding members of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics include: Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, Breast Cancer Fund, Clean Water Fund, Commonweal, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, National Black Environmental Justice Network, National Environmental Trust and Women's Voices for the Earth. www.SafeCosmetics.org

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