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Cancer-Causing Chemicals In Baby Products

Johnson & Johnson in the US have admitted to using cancer-causing chemicals in their baby shampoo. The chemicals that they have admitted to using are 1,4-dioxane and quaternium-15 – both known to be linked to various cancers, such as leukaemia and upper throat cancer.

While Johnson & Johnson make these products without these carcinogens for other countries (including Australia), they continue to use the dangerous chemicals in US products.

The chemical 1,4-dioxane is used to reduce the harsh effects of other chemicals used in their products, and quaternium-15 is a preservative used to increase product shelf-life. The quaternium-15 releases formaldehyde – a known carcinogen.

In 2009, under significant pressure from action group, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Johnson & Johnson agreed to phase out these dangerous chemicals in countries such as Australia, the UK, Scandinavia and South Africa, but it is not known if they continue to use them in the US, as there is no standards in the US for these chemicals in personal care products.

While there has been much debate around whether or not Johnson & Johnson are doing the right thing by their consumers, it is important that parents of babies and young children be vigilant about the products they are using on their baby’s skin. There are many alternatives available that are known to be safe for babies and children.

What you Can Do

Read the labels of baby products and know what to look for. Any of the following chemicals should be avoided:

  • DEA or Diethanolamine (a potential cancer causing ingredient).
  • Propylene Glycol – this is a common ingredient in shampoos and has been known to cause skin irritation. It has also been associated with kidney and liver abnormalities.
  • Parabens –  known also as methyl paraben, isobutyl paraben, propyl paraben, ethyl paraben, butyl paraben, or E216.  These are known oestrogen-disrupters and have been linked to cancer.

Ingredients listed at the top of the ingredients list have the highest levels in the product.

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