Johnson & Johnson recently announced that its famous “No More Tears” baby shampoo, along with many other consumer products, has been reformulated. The products no longer contain two potentially harmful chemicals, formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, that have come under increasing scrutiny by consumers and environmental groups.
Two years ago, the company pledged to remove the chemicals by the end of 2013, and it recently delivered on its promise. The move is the first step in a companywide effort to remove an array of increasingly unpopular chemicals from its personal care products, and is the biggest yet by a major consumer products manufacturer. Retailers like Walmart and Target recently announced that they would eventually require suppliers to reduce or eliminate 10 chemicals from cleaning and personal care products (including those removed from the J&J products). Johnson & Johnson has removed the preservatives that release formaldehyde, and said it has reduced the levels of 1,4-dioxane to very limited trace amounts, from one to four parts per million.
Given the trace amounts that were present, scientists are split over the potential effects of the chemicals on users. Regardless, J&J took the cautious approach and removed any potentially harmful amounts of the chemicals. Reformulating most of its products proved to be a difficult task – costing millions of dollars and taking several years – but the company believes the work was worthwhile. Trisha Bonner, principal scientist for Johnson & Johnson’s consumer products, explained that mostly, the task was to make the change as invisible as possible. “If you can’t tell the difference, then we did our job,” she said.
Read more on the NY Times.