Johnson & Johnson will remove certain potentially dangerous chemicals from its baby shampoos that are said to be carcinogenic. Skeptics however question if the company’s motives are truly environmentally conscious moves or rather prompted by an aggressive boycott campaign launched by the high profile activist organization, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
Johnson & Johnson’s Commitment
In a report issued in early November from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition effort aimed at protecting others by lobbying to eliminate dangerous chemicals from personal hygiene products and cosmetics, it was revealed that Johnson & Johnson’s baby shampoo still contained a formaldehyde-releasing chemical in its US, Canada and China based products.
It is believed that this report prompted Johnson & Johnson to commit to a timeline to reformulate all of its baby products worldwide and remove such potentially cancer causing agents.
According to Johnson & Johnson, the company has already removed phthalates (a reproductive toxin) from all its baby products worldwide, including its fragrances. However, it added that within the next two years it will remove quaternium-15 and other formaldehyde-releasing preservatives from all of its baby products across the globe.
Additionally, it is working towards reducing 1,4-dioxane (a contaminant also thought to be carcinogenic commonly found in shampoos and other cosmetics), which is a result of its chemical process called ethoxylation. Currently, all of Johnson & Johnson’s baby products do carry, at a minimum, trace amounts of 1,4-dioxane.
While Johnson & Johnson’s CEO, William Weldon claims that the trace amounts of formaldehyde in their products “pose little risk”, critics says that build-up of anything over time is bad for babies, parents and ultimately the environment.
Toxin Control – A Concern Beyond Big Business
In similar news, activist groups across the nation are demanding the production of safer hygiene and cosmetic products not only from companies, but lawmakers as well. Health advocacy group, Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) recently urged the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to revisit the Safe Chemicals Act regarding limiting toxins in order to ensure the safety of consumers and workers.
According to Gary Cohen, President of HCWH, “the mounting scientific evidence linking environmental exposures to increased rates of chronic diseases and, consequently, rising health care costs, make reform of our nation's chemical regulatory system not only an urgent ethical imperative, but also a critical economic initiative.”
Key Statistics – Global Haircare Market (source: MarketLine)
- From 2009 to 2014, the global haircare market is expected to increase 15.5% in value.
- Shampoo accounts for over 37% of the global haircare market, making it the largest sector in the industry
- It is estimated that nearly 39% of the global haircare market is comprised by Europe
- In the global haircare market, industry leader Proctor & Gamble holds 22.7% of the market’s value.
- Multinational companies, L’Oreal and Unilever hold almost 29% of the haircare market value collectively.