Johnson & Johnson has announced on Wednesday their plans to remove a host of potentially harmful chemicals, like formaldehyde, from its line of consumer products by the end of 2015, becoming the first major consumer products company to make such a widespread commitment.
The company had already pledged to remove certain chemicals from its baby products by 2013, but the latest announcement extended the program to its adult products, including well-known drugstore brands like Neutrogena, Aveeno and Clean & Clear.
“There’s a very lively public discussion going on about the safety of ingredients in personal care products,” said Susan Nettesheim, vice president of product stewardship and toxicology for the company’s consumer health brands. “It was really important that we had a voice in that.”
Environmental and consumer groups for years have pressured Johnson & Johnson and its competitors to remove questionable ingredients from their products.
“We’ve never really seen a major personal care product company take the kind of move that they’re taking with this,” said Kenneth Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, one of the organizations that has been negotiating with company officials to change their practices. “Not really even anything in the ballpark.”
In 2009, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition that includes the Environmental Working Group, analyzed the contents of dozens of products for children and found that many items contained two substances of particular concern: formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane.
Lisa Archer, director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, said her group will continue to press other cosmetics and consumer-goods companies to follow Johnson & Johnson’s lead, including the Estee Lauder Cos., Procter & Gamble, Avon and L’Oreal.
Photo provided by Johnson & Johnson.