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J&J removing harsh chemicals from products by 2015

By Linda A. Johnson

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 15 2012 4:45 a.m. MDT

J&J said that since 2010, it's reduced the number of products containing chemicals that release formaldehyde by 33 percent and the products that contain 1,4 dioxane by 74 percent. In 2005 it launched the Johnson's Soothing Naturals line, products with no 1,4 dioxane and or formaldehyde-releasing chemicals. That evolved into Johnson's Natural baby products.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has issued multiple reports documenting its concerns, available on its website, www.safecosmetics.org. The site has links to tips on shopping for the safest products and a searchable database with information on ingredients and potential hazards of about 75,000 personal care products.

Concerns over chemicals in beauty care products, particularly those for vulnerable babies, led the campaign to announce plans last November for a consumer boycott of J&J products. That was scrapped before it began because Johnson & Johnson quickly agreed to make its baby products safer.

The public debate led to some spoof ads widely circulated on the Internet for a product called "Nothing But Tears" shampoo with taglines such as "Formulated to scrub clean any vestiges of naivete."

Archer said her group now will renew its push for several major cosmetics companies with bigger market share than Johnson & Johnson to commit to making their products safer.

The moves by Johnson & Johnson come as it tries to restore its image after an embarrassing, costly series of more than 30 product recalls since 2009, mostly of consumer products including nonprescription Tylenol, Motrin and Benadryl.

Problems ranging from wrong levels of active ingredient and nauseating package odors to tiny shards of glass and metal in liquid medicines forced the company to gut and rebuild a consumer health products factory in Pennsylvania. That factory and two others are getting extra scrutiny under an agreement with the FDA.

Linda A. Johnson can be followed at http://twitter.com/LindaJ_onPharma.

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