The poison in baby products 


Who says we're not making progress in battling the senseless greed of corporate profiteers?

Look at the big change won earlier this year when the labels on Johnson's Baby Shampoo announced: "Improved Formula."

This popular Johnson & Johnson baby product has long been advertised with the comforting slogan, "No More Tears," for the shampoo's ingredients don't sting a tiny tot's eyes.

That's nice, but many mommies and daddies have become more concerned about another ingredient the corporation has not advertised: Formaldehyde.

This toxic industrial chemical, which can cause several cancers and leukemia, is contained in thousands of consumer items, including carpets, nail polish, and, yes, soaps, lotions, wipes and dozens of other baby products.

But Johnson's "improved" baby shampoo qualifies for a new advertising slogan: "Now With No Formaldehyde!" You'll see no such bragging, however, for even though this is a big, beneficial step for babies' health, the corporation continues to assert that the amount of poison in a bottle of shampoo is harmless.

But, as the head of the Environmental Working Group put it: "Why is there a carcinogen in their shampoo? When in doubt, take it out."


And let's note that J&J is not taking formaldehyde out as an act of corporate benevolence, but because a tenacious grassroots coalition called Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has rallied consumers, scientists and family advocates to demand it.

As Johnson's head of consumer product development conceded, "This [health concern] lands right at the heart and soul of what Johnson & Johnson is all about, so we had to take this very seriously."

Such other giants as Revlon and L'Oreal, however, are not removing formaldehyde, so we must keep pushing. To help, go to Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (safecosmetics.org).

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.


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