Johnson & Johnson admits: Our baby products contain cancer-causing formaldehyde

Today, the personal care giant announced that it would voluntarily (after consistent pressure from the public and groups like EWG) remove hidden formaldehyde from their baby products like baby shampoo and baby washes.  Don’t see formaldehyde listed on the back of your bottle of “no more tears” shampoo?  Formaldehyde is “hidden” in these products in ingredient names like “DMDM hydantoin“, and “1,4 dioxane” (which is “hidden” in listed ingredients like “fragrance”.  It’s all a big fun game, you see.).

“There’s a very lively public discussion going on about the safety of ingredients in personal care products,” said Susan Nettesheim, VP for product stewardship and toxicology for J & J.

Lively discussion?  If someone was selling you shampoo for your baby that had cancer causing agents hidden in it, I hardly think the discussion with that person would be “lively”.

About the known cancer causing (as listed on the US EPA carcinogen list) chemicals, Ms Nettesheim says, ““…as a scientist I will sit here and tell you these things are perfectly safe.”  (I wonder what shampoo she uses on her kids)

To J & J’s credit, they are also going to phase out other harmful chemicals like pthalates and parabens which have estrogen-like properties and are suspected to be linked to hormone related cancers.  They plan to phase these chemicals out in their adult brands as well.  Johnson & Johnson also operates under squeaky clean names like Neutrogena, Aveno, and Clean & Clear.

Hopefully this will have a domino effect and other big names will follow.  I would score this as a victory for everyone who wants to wash their kid’s hair without risk of exposing them to carcinogens.

I would advise you to wait to use the new J & J products until you see the big bright labels that say “No more carcinogens!”

The Savvy Sister says ” Your skin is a carrier…NOT a barrier!”


PETER specialises in supporting parent and child relationships and the well-being and fitness of mothers and babies, and especially those babies and children with developmental delay. His certificated Teacher Training Courses in Developmental Baby Massage for professionals working with mothers and babies are given throughout the UK and abroad. These courses attract midwives, health visitors, neonatal nurses and all other therapists working with families and mothers and babies. A pioneer of Developmental Baby Massage and YogaGym from the 1980s onwards. Peter is credited as the original NHS baby massage teacher trainer who’s teacher training resulted in baby massage being offered free to parents in health centres and clinics throughout the United Kingdom. The leading international trainer for Developmental Baby Massage with over 40 years of group teaching experience Peter currently has over 18,000 teachers or more the world over, teaching Developmental Baby Massage. Background Peter has studied yoga and experiential anatomy from the early ‘80’s with his friend and teacher Arthur Balaskas. He worked with a group practicing ‘Psycho- Gymnastics’ and ‘Re- Birthing’ for some ten years under the supervision of R.D. Laing psychiatrist, musician, poet and author and a founder of the Philadelphia Association in London. Peter introduced yoga and massage into a number of Dr. Laing’s therapeutic communities and from the mid-eighties onwards has taught Developmental Baby Massage and Soft Post-Natal Yoga to mothers and babies. Peter teaches a variety of techniques to parents with babies with additional needs - stiffness - floppyness and developmental delay. Peter has made numerous television appearances and has featured in documentaries and breakfast shows on all the UK’s major channels. He's given talks on BBC Radio One, Woman’s Radio, Radio Wales and various other radio stations, and has had articles featured in Woman, Cosmopolitan, Harpers & Queen, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Observer, The Times, Japan Times and Australia’s Natural Parenting magazine and many other national publications including most UK ‘mother and baby’ periodicals. His books, sell worldwide and include: Baby Gymnastics with Arthur Balaskas (Unwin) Baby Relax (Unwin) Going for Gold [with DaleyThompson] (Unwin) Natural Parenting (Gaia) The Book of Massage (Gaia) Baby Massage (Piatkus) Hop, Skip and Jump [Gymnastics for Children] (Carroll and Brown) Developmental Baby Massage (Carroll and Brown, Octopus 2014 Sharing Pregnancy E Book 2012 Peter has also made the following films: Baby Massage Step 1 2 and 3 (Little Venice Films) Massage and Movement: Birth to Three Years Sharing Pregnancy [A Unique Film for Fathers] DVD Developmental Baby Massage, DVD Soft Baby Yoga, DVD YogaGym, DVD Stretching Together, DVD Peter works worldwide throughout the United Kingdom and abroad. For more detailed information about his teacher training courses See For advice / treatments Email

158 thoughts on “Johnson & Johnson admits: Our baby products contain cancer-causing formaldehyde

  1. I personally blog too and I am publishing something
    similar to this particular blog, “Johnson & Johnson admits: Our baby
    products contain cancer-causing formaldehyde | Keep In Touch”.
    Will you mind in cases where I actuallyutilise a few of your own points?

    Thanks -Damaris

  2. No More Tears formula ate threw the 316 stainless steel tubes that fed the liquid into the bottling line and had to be replaced every couple of years.

    • That is scary! If the chemical formula is eating-through stainless steel just think what it is doing to your poor baby’s head when the carcinogenic formula is slathered onto it!!! You say you love your baby, would not purposely harm it, don’t want it to contract cancer later, etc. Then we as consumers who are not adequately protected by the FDA now or in the future must learn from the Naturopaths who are trying to educate those who do not know the true dangers of what the FDA is knowingly turning a blind eye to with a wink-wink and a handshake under-the-table! We are sheeple, like lambs being led to our slaughter. I am thankful that J&J is admitting to the harmful chemicals and is promising to remove them since being publicly exposed and pressured by this Watchdog group, but it may be too little too late! The skin is the largest organ in the body, so what you slather on it absorbs through the pores and goes straight into the bloodstream which circulates it throughout your body, thus increasing the risk of carcinogenic chemicals damaging body cells and causing cancer. Buyer beware! Listen when the EWG tells you it has exposed another dangerous practice and is educating the public to its findings. You may be saving your baby’s health and wellbeing as well as your own…

      • Do you know what other baby shampoo and body wash I should use? I am currently using J&J and after reading this article I won’t be using it anymore!

        • This is just a tip of an iceberg this type of carsonagenic chemical is in most common products inc hand wash ,air fresher , most hair and body sprays tooth pastes foods etc etc etc please look at or contact the Hillary Newman clinic Gloucester personal friend of mine ask Hillary for a list of what’s best to use
          as I despise How the large corporates can just fool the public thanks hope this helps Julian

    • Ever let kids swim in a pool? The chlorine in the pool will also eat through 316 stainless steel. Not saying the No More Tears shampoo is more or less safe, just that the fact it eats through stainless steel doesn’t necessarily mean much. For what it’s worth, I work for a manufacturer of 316 stainless steel tubing, and have for years, so I’m familiar with the material and it’s possible I produced the very tubes you refer too.

  3. I used to use all of these on my son, and i cant believe this has just come to light, and this company has been going for years, why has this not come to light sooner??

    i will be letting all my friends and family know about this, its a disgrace, i will also be telling them not to use it on their children and will be letting my parents know not to use it on my son as they look after him once a month as they live far away, and i will share this on facebook also, i think this is disgusting and should of been dealt with sooner, Cancer is a huge thing in adults as well as children and my child is my world and if anything to occur, whilst using these products i would be suing and asking for a lot as this is wrong and should of been seen sooner, and i should think that other parents would feel the same about their children to

  4. How much formaldehyde? There’s loads of formaldehyde in natural foods like apples and (especially) pears. I don’t see people shouting from the rooftops about the dangers of feeding pears to children. The human body produces and uses formaldehyde all by itself, too. I’m struggling to see the point in this post, or why J&J in particular are singled out by it — formaldehyde is *everywhere*.

    • Exactly! Toxicity is all about dosage. Drink enough water, and it will kill you. That doesn’t mean water is dangerous in small quantities. The problem is people don’t seem to understand the difference, and, as you pointed out, they don’t understand that things like formaldehyde and ethylmercury are all over nature. They hear “formaldehyde” and “cancer” in the same sentence as their children and they freak out without understanding the science. I don’t blame the parents, necessarily, but I do blame the people that write inflammatory and misleading articles.

      • If it is in everything then we are getting a lot of it everyday. So why eliminate it in some things to lower our everyday exposure?

      • Fair question……how much!?
        How about why there should be any. I’m from a different country where I lived for 25 years and heard the word CANCER maybe 3-4 times. It’s not about how much. It’s about the fact that every bite be swallow, every ounce of lotion we use will take you right where cancer is waiting you! Very sad, but true. And the most painful thing is that little kids have to experience it before they grow old!

      • See the bit about it eating through stainless steel pipes ! When ” poisons ‘ occur in nature – nature has built in an antidote – which chemical companies miss or leave out.Take Aspirin for example – derived from the bark of the Willow tree, which was made in to a tea and tissane for centuries as pain relief . So chemists identified the pain relief property and replicated it to sell pain killing drugs.What was missed [ because they weren’t looking ] was the other properties that the bark has to alter the chemical composition if he blood was thinning and to prevent internal bleeding – it has naturally a built in fail safe – which Aspirin manufactured didn’t. If it;s produced naturally it has a balance – Drugs / products generally don;t that’s the differnec. People need to know what’s in all products and then make informed decisions. J + J pushed formula feed in India where water was full of toxins and disease as the company puts profit before life – which sadly most do – NO amount is OK actually – No Formaldehyde, not mercury not fluoride, No GMOS – no poisons. The skin is the largest organ – if you can’t eat it or drink it it shouldn’t be in your home let alone on a body 16 seconds / 42 seconds within 60 for sure it’s in your blood stream and off to your liver and kidneys … WE all need to get away from consumerism and back to balanced healthy living – and we need to KNOW what we are being fed and coated and sprayed with .. because this is our planet our home our bodies our kids lives and ours.

        • There is a reason that companies like this one have been getting away with poisoning us and our children for so long. Economics trumps values in most industry. Now that this is known, why do consumers like us continue to support these industries? Like the toxic and carcenogenic internal combustion engine, we have have succumbed to propaganda-style advertizing simply because we haven’t been taught critical thinking. I now ask myself: Is this a real need?

      • Yes is does come down to quantities and if you are using 15 different products of a morning (like most women do from the moment they step in the shower to the time they spray their hair & put on perfume) we have reached our limit on toxic chemicals. And who says chemicals from one product are safe to use with the chemicals in a different product. The average person has already absorbed over 200 chemicals through their skin by the time they leave their home for the day. It does come down to quantity & we ARE OVERLOADED!

    • David…whoaaaahhhh… can’t be serious???? You cannot be that ignorant!! Pleaser tell us all that you were trying to make a funny..

    • I completely agree! Formaldehyde is just about any furniture… It’s in lipstick. I also know that their is a certain percentage it has to be under to be safe. This article is very useless

    • There’s more than just formaldehyde. Phylates and parabens are in their products too. They may be in small amounts but considering the average person uses multiple products a day those small amounts add up to large amounts. In fact, on average, women end up putting 515 chemicals on their skin every day (face cream, deodorant, makeup, shampoo, conditioner…….more!). Your skin is your largest organ and it only takes 26 seconds for whatever is on your skin to absorb into your bloodstream.
      And how about the trust level people have had with J & J? Sneaking carcinogenic ingredients into products without fully disclosing on their labels is just wrong. We have a right to know everything that goes into the products we buy.

      • EXACTLY! if it’s in everything as an additive, even in small amounts, it all adds up to much higher amounts once we’ve gotten ready for work in the morning and thats just the beginning of the day lol Plus if theres nothing wrong with it they wouldn’t have hidden it.

        • They didnt “hide it”, as it isn’t an additive. Its presence is due to a side reaction of other additives/compounds within the formula. You can’t “hide” things, you are legally required to disclose additives. Notice J&J is the first of the major companies to be taking the initiative to remove this product. They are not doing so because they got in legal trouble.
          They are removing the presence of formaldehyde because they think the PR will appease the consumers, the consumers who use unreviewed scientific evidence.
          There is a reason all of these products must go through testing, supporting research, etc. As previously mentioned, the golden rule of pharmacology is the poison is in the dose. J&J explicitly say (in a ny times article) that they firmly believe the product is safe as is. To link formaldeyhde with cancer, and then view its presence in a product creates quite a scare. Note that UV rays from the sun are CARCINOGENIC. We also need these UV rays for natural vitamin D synthesis. Should we start living at night to avoid melanoma? Should we avoid subthreshold levels of “carcinogenic agents” ? Just something to consider..

    • Indeed. Here is a helpful link about naturally occurring formaldehyde (better not give your baby that apple sauce either, then…):

      On a serious note, there are organisations in this world who benefit from generating scare stories. Parabens, for example, have so far not been shown to be harmful but companies are forced to reformulate them out of their products due to consumer pressure. The pressure has come from NGOs and consumer groups who have been informed by scare stories. Now people are removing these things “just in case.”

      We are constantly exposed to carcinogens and toxins in our daily lives; many (if not most) of them from natural sources (like sunlight or barbecuing your food). The biggest risk factor for cancer is age. Since we now live to a ripe old age (i.e. over 40…) and more of us reach an advanced age, there are more cancers around. Cancer has been found in archaeological findings and it’s not a new disease. It has existed for as long as humans have.

      From a toxicology point of view, one has to take into account: 1) Dose (Julie is right: if you drink too much water, the salts in your body go out of balance and you get very sick very fast and you die), 2) How are we exposed – i.e. eating something is not the same as putting it on your skin (no matter what some companies might tell you).

      It’s highly unlikely that a company like Johnson & Johnson would be deliberately poisoning its customers. There could be some trace amounts of things like formaldehyde in their products but I would be willing to bet they are in these products at lower amounts than you would get from eating an apple.

      Always think “what has the originator of the story got to gain?” In this case, the EWG is a notoriously unreliable source and they make a lot of money from creating scare stories. In one of their earlier websites, they listed a corporate branded preservative called “phenonip” as a completely safe, hunky dory, “green” material and they listed all the parabens as “orange” or “red” (i.e. avoid). Well, phenonip is a brand name for a mixture of all of the parabens!

      Sometimes it really is necessary to take a cautious approach and do your research, even when the source is presenting itself as “helping you”. EWG have something to gain.

      • I think the main issue here is that it was hidden in the ingredients. Use whatever you want in your products but at least label them properly so that I, as a consumer, can make an INFORMED decision about the products I choose to use on myself and the rest of my family, ESPECIALLY my children. :)

        • Your issue isnt with them in that case, it should be with the regulations that require strictly additives, and allows companies to list other ingredients found within their products.

          • Why are there companies putting things under different names that we don’t understand? Probably in hopes of ignorance, which has happened. It is a shame and shouldn’t be so hard to buy healthy food and products for ourselves. There is a problem with tranparency is on culture for money purposes. People with “hide” or manipulate anything to make money, the companies don’t care about the wellbeing of the their consumer.

    • I completely agree. Like many other substances, formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, but only in case of long and unusually high exposure.

    • I was going to write something similar but I’ll just +1 you.

      Fearmongering just to score page-hits really annoys me.

    • The point is to recognize that the harmful chemical IS in everything and get it eradicated from the food and products we use daily as soon as possible! Continually using the products and consuming the food impregnated with the chemical builds-up to a too high amount of it in the body causing debilitating illness like cancer which subsequently can cause death, especially to a child whose body is smaller and concentrated amounts are magnified moreover in a smaller host such as your child… Buyer beware!!!

  5. Why are we not holding Johnston and Johnston accountable? Is this just a little whoopsey?”If an individual knowingly exposed someone to this kind of cancer causing chemical, would we not be held liable? Big lawyers, paid big dollars can turn murder into something as benign as having a “lively” discussion. The individual consumer is starting to realize that they too have power and that they can exert it by banding together through public media and they can reject the companies products, thereby finally having the last say about whether or not these “profit over people” companies will survive.

  6. The first feeling that popped into me after reading this, OMG!!! I am using this shampoo for 5 years now on my boy!!! Why aren’t people reacting to this? Why haven’t retailers taken these products off there shelves?? I don’t understand. Johnston & Johnston is so popular & the minute there’s a newborn, people opt to buy J&J products. Unbelievable, yet its true.

    • I have never used a Johnson & Johnson product and never would. So not everyone does this. I use organic and natural products only since my 4 year old was a new born.

    • They did take the products of the shelves a few years back… but changed nothing and put all them products back up for sale… sad world… these people probably have children of their own n clearly dont give a shit about the rest of the world

    • Fact: there hasn’t been a law passed regulating the cosmetics industry since 1938. Many of the laws governing the personal care industry date back to the 1930s. The needs of the American consumer have taken a back seat to those of major corporations. There are only 11 banned ingredients in the U.S. when it comes to personal care products. Europe bans over 1300 ingredients because they have been linked to human health issues such as cancer, birth defects, cell damage, and autoimmune disease. Do yourself a favor and check out Beauty Counter. It is a company dedicated to providing safe, healthy products for everyone. Our company’s mission is to help people make safe, healthier choices through education. Right now we are part of an unregulated industry and we believe people should know what goes into their products. We are all about truth, safety, and transparency. We tell you everything. Visit and shop or check out our mission tab for more info.

  7. Victory! I love reading blogs like this :) naming and shaming is the only way this will stop. it makes you wonder what kind of processes these companies follow and how they can hide this information from consumers.
    I have my own direct sales health and wellness products business and I sell pure, safe and beneficial products and educate consumers about all of these nasty chemicals found in products. Another interesting one is the use of mineral oil (which is petrol) used as the main ingredient in J & J’s baby oil, second and only other ingredient is fragerence (research it yourself). Therefore we are putting nice smelling petrol on our babies!! This has to stop!

    • Mineral Oil is a liquid by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline and other petroleum-based products from crude oil.

      Not saying it’s any good. But it is NOT petrol.

      • Glad to hear this is now out!!!! , I havn’t used anything other than all natural products on my kids as the ‘others’ contain chemicals that react with there skin. On a similar note, many vaccinations use formaldehyde in them so we are poisoning our children more often than we think.

    • I use coconut oil as an all-natural, affordable baby lotion (smells delish too!), and Miessence certified organic products (to food grade standards), for shampoo and soaps.

    • I met a nurse who worked with the OB doc who got J&J freebie bottles removed from 4 (yes 4!) hospitals’ maternity departments! If J&J isn’t good enough to use at a hospital, it sure isn’t good enough for my kids! I now shop at a health & wellness company! SUCH GREAT STUFF!

    • Heidi,
      There are many brands out there that are “green” and “safe” but I found the most trusted is Melaleuca. I’ve been using it for 12 years and will never stop.

      • NO! Melaluca is NOT safe! they are considered a “greenwash” company and are NOT honest with their labeling. they do the same thing J&J just admitted doing with their labeling and worse. DO NOT use that pyramid schemes nasty products on or around your family. stick to wholesome homemade cleaners, recipes are easy to find!

        one we commonly use around here: fill empty spray bottle half full with white/Organic apple cider vinegar and half water and add 10 drops of a quality brand tea tree oil/citrus oil/lavender oil. place sprayer nozzle back on and shake. ready to use!

        I’ve used this to clean as well as simple baking soda when things need a good scrub and we haven’t been sick in our household for over 3 years!

    • Poofy Organics is 100% toxic free (which is different from non-toxic), uses organic ingredients that are familiar and pronounceable (and listed on every label!). It’s made in small batches by hand (always fresh!) in USA.
      Click my name for more info!

        • just because you can pronounce it doesn’t mean you are knowledgable either, it just means you are lucky with linguistics. I have a natural knack for properly pronouncing the words upon sight, but that doesn’t mean I know what Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate is without looking it up.

    • This is the reason why these scare stories are so beneficial. People rush to find alternative (more expensive) “safe” products… but in the end nothing is categorically safe; you have to assess the risk for everything on a case-per-case basis.

      If you look around for who benefits from generating scare stories, it’s the manufacturers of alternative ingredients and products, plus organisations like the EWG (who make a lot of money from selling “safe shopping” guides and getting donations from worried parents who think EWG is protecting them).

      This story is highly unlikely to be anything to worry about. There is naturally occurring formaldehyde in many foods you eat:

      In toxicological sense, it’s the dose that makes the poison (and the method of exposure). Even water isn’t categorically safe (if you are exposed to it via your lungs, you drown, or if you drink too much of it in one go, you will die).

  8. Hidden subtle chemical poisoning. Really are you surprised!!!Do J&J care about you, me or our children. They are our precious babies their precious baby is the bottom line. Time to wake up I think.

  9. People in India were blindly following J & J products I guess. Its so scary .. Though oen of the warehouses had been shut down in India , i guess many people would be using it on their kids. Please be alert and see what you use for your baby.

  10. Formaldehyde is safe in small amounts. It’s in fruits and vegetables and is produces by the human body. It’s only carcinogenic in large, industrial amounts.

    • There’s more than just formaldehyde. Phylates and parabens are in their products too. They may be in small amounts but considering the average person uses multiple products a day those small amounts add up to large amounts. In fact, on average, women end up putting 515 chemicals on their skin every day (face cream, deodorant, makeup, shampoo, conditioner…….more!). Your skin is your largest organ and it only takes 26 seconds for whatever is on your skin to absorb into your bloodstream.
      And how about the trust level people have had with J & J? Sneaking carcinogenic ingredients into products without fully disclosing on their labels is just wrong. We have a right to know everything that goes into the products we buy.

      • Actually pretty much every girl I’ve known maybe uses a tiny make up (most none unless a special occasion.) Maybe a daily bath or every other day since it damages the hair. Also girls use a LOT less products than you say up there. Sure some high maintenance creeps do, but the average girl? Nah.

    • Excactly. I find it worrying that there are organisations who deliberately distort science and facts for monetary gain. For so many of the people who are very quick to believe large corporations are out to poison them on purpose, there should also be questions: “who stands to gain from scaring us to death?”

  11. This is absolutely ridiculous! My son was born on May 29th and that’s all I have been using on him!!!!!! I swear if something happens to my son I’m going to sue! Best believe it. What kind of sick ass people would put this kind of crap in BABY wash? I mean not only are babies using it but I have used it too! Something better be done. Seriously because this is bullcrap! I am one pissed off mother! >:(

    • You cannot possibly put all of the blame on J+J. Is it wrong to use these ingredients in their products. Absolutely!! However you should also look in to what you use on your child. Most mass market, big name personal care products contain these and other harmful ingredients which is why I have not used them in years. Do a little research and you’ll see that there are lots of healthier alternatives. Little Twig and Earth Mama Angel Baby are a few great brands for kids.

      • Right, cause it’s not like a new parent of a brand new baby has nothing better to do than to research what Tocopheryl Acetate, Tetrasodium EDTA and Vitis Vinifera is because it’s in their baby’s body wash or lotion and by the way, I took those ingrediant examples straight off my Victoria Secret lotion body. Get a grip, how dare you blame a parent for “not doing their homework” and assuming a product which has been around for how long should be safe for their baby. Johnson and Johnson happens to be one of the only products I can use on my son that doesn’t break him out with eczema flare ups. I’m just as upset as the next person, but do not even try and make me feel guilty because I have been using what works and not reading ridiculous ingrediants on the back of a bottle. I’m a single parent of a special needs child, I don’t and shouldn’t have time for that if the FDA, FBI, DMV, CDC WHATEVER would keep an eye out here.

    • Could you be any more dramatic about this? Formaldehyde is found everywhere. its a naturally occurring chemical. If this makes you uncomfortable stop using it.

    • Please don’t worry. This is very likely to be a scare story, designed to benefit the EWG and alternative product manufacturers (the EWG is a notoriously unreliable body – no scientist I know rates it at all. They have a lot to gain from setting up scare stories and then setting themselves up as the protectors).

      Please don’t think you have harmed your baby. It’s awful that there are companies making parents fear that they have done. Formaldehyde occurs naturally in many of the foods we eat and it’s highly unlikely to be in those products at anything other than trace amounts. Well, there are trace amounts of carcinogenic things everywhere – even in your own body. And unless you get exposed to toxic amounts, you will be just fine.

      In toxicological sense, it’s the dose that makes the poison (and the method of exposure). Even water isn’t categorically safe (if you are exposed to it via your lungs, you drown, or if you drink too much of it in one go, you will die).

      • And who benefits from attempting to “debunk” or diminish the importance of information like this? Companies like J&J. As for the argument that formaldehyde is found in nature so that makes it ok for it to be in skin care products, I say this: cyanide is naturally occurring in nature, as well (apple seeds and such) but I’m not going to rub it all over my kids’ skin.
        The CDC says of formaldehyde “Formaldehyde is absorbed through intact skin and may cause irritation or allergic dermatitis; rapid metabolism makes systemic effects unlikely following dermal exposure.

        Children are more vulnerable to toxicants absorbed through the skin because of their relatively larger surface area:body weight ratio.” (
        My argument is that the US has seen skyrocketing rates of cancer and cancer-related deaths in children and we should limit our children’s exposure to known carcinogens as much as possible. There are traditional ingredients used for body care that are still abundantly available today. In my opinion it is irresponsible for *any* company or individual to try and excuse the use of carcinogens, endocrine disruptors (i.e. parabens), etc. in any product for the sake of profit.

  12. Your body produces more formaldehyde than you’d be exposed to using this shampoo. An apple contains more formaldehyde than you’d be exposed to using this shampoo. Read a science book, please.

  13. My comment is targeted at the vaccination comment. Yes formaldehyde is used in some vaccinations, but as a nurse I know these are used within the safe legal boundaries in Australia. Yes we are exposing our kids to this lethal chemical, but only in safe doses and the benefits definately outweigh the negatives. Imagine a world without vaccinations. We would all be arguing why these drug companies couldn’t come up with some safe vaccination to protect our children. I agree J & J should have disclosed all ingredients clearly so parents could make an informed decision to use their products, but at the end of the day we have to weigh up the good versus the bad. I don’t believe vaccinations should be considered a bad with all the good they do. As parents we all want to protect our children, therefore it is our job to research the products we use.

    • Nicole,

      Is formaldehyde still safe if the body cann’t get ride of it? What about the build up that occurs after years of use? It WILL reach toxic levels and cause cancer. Please tell me you tell all parents about this risk.

      • Lucinda, there is formaldehyde in vaccinations everywhere, not just in Australia. You must do your own homework because it’s not just in your baby products or your personal care products- it’s in many things, including the vaccinations your doctor gives you. And no, that information is not readily shared. Each company is safe (unless consumers demand change) because they put it in their products (or vaccinations) in “safe” amounts. “Safe” if that’s all you use/consume, but as simple math and logic tell us, a lot of a little of something is actually a lot. Those who produce products with formaldehyde in them are going to talk about how their product is “safe” but we must take into account everything we put into our bodies. We have to be responsible because they are not, and they are not interested in taking responsibility for your health.

      • The body readily breaks formaldehyde into formate, using the enzyme Formaldehyde dehydrogenase (FDH). The reason we have this enzyme is because there is a significant amount of formaldehyde being produced by our bodies already, including as a product of the breakdown of methanol, which is also a byproduct of aspartame breakdown, which comes from fruit.

        Formaldehyde is very volatile and doesn’t last long either in the body or the environment, but is being continually produced by many processes.

  14. After reading the above article I am absolutely appauled to think a company like J n J would do this but in actual fact I’m not surprised after coming across a product the other day that completely left out an ingredient on the bulk product I refuse to use there products because certain ingredients in the products make my babies all sick I’ve avoided there products for a good while n will continue to do so til they baby friendly them

  15. No one can really do anything about this issue because the FDA ALLOWS Skincare & cosmetic companies to do this and doesn’t make them list all of their product ingredients. I’m an independent consultant with Arbonne and I would love to share more with anyone about the truth in what you are using in your everyday products and offer you pure, safe and beneficial alternatives for your everyday lives.
    Subject: Arbonne inquiry

  16. This is hysterical nonsense. We breathe, eat and come in contact with minute amounts of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals every single day.

    And for those who lean toward “natural” products…some of the nastiest, most lethal chemicals are produced naturally. Aflatoxin and Botulimum toxin come to mind.

    These commercial products are quite probably as safe as they can be made. Yes they contain a number of “chemicals”.

    SO WHAT??

    Folks breathe NYC and LA air, every day and that air is far, far worse for them than some miniscule amounts of some hazardous “chemicals”. If you want a laundry list of carcinogens, check out what is in “coffee aroma” or “new car smell”.

    Our beloved government puts all manner of “chemicals” in our drinking water in the name of public health. I’d worry a lot more about that.

    • Well if that’s the case then I’m worrying about ALL of it. We are exposed to WAY too much. And I agree, that this is probably minuscule compared to everything else. But it’s something and it’s not good. None of it is and it shouldn’t be permitted in any amount, because it all adds up…

    • The problem is not the J & J have trace amounts of a carcinogen in their baby products. The problem is that trace amounts add up after and MANY products have trace amounts of various carcinogens (even too much sun can cause cancer). The problem appears to be in the industry.
      Just like Big MACs and video games and hormones in BC pills and creams, we can get too much of anything which then becomes harmful to the user and the second hand user when it washes into our water systems.

  17. This is so scary. Thankfully I have found baby products that are Pure, Safe and Beneficial!! I am an Independent Consultant for Arbonne – all of our products are botanically based, vegan and free from parabens, sulphates, PABA and all other nasties!! As parents we have enough to worry about without the added stress of cancer causing baby products!! Please check out my business page at –

    Shoot me a message if you would like a free sample or the opportunity to try the best products in the world!!

    • I sampled the Arbonne baby products 6 years ago when my son was born…my point is this– the avg American family, young with a few kids, could never afford the Arbonne line of products. So like grocery store who charge more for organic, no growth hormone food…we are poisoning the families who sadly cannot afford not to be poisoned. Sure, there are natural safe alternatives but nobody mentioned how much more those alternatives would cost a family of 5 hovering on the poverty line. I think its so sad.

  18. Hello parents want to buy chemical free produts theses produts are the best on the market so safe to use on your little angels to order go to we do a range from hand and face wash to shampoo ,conditioner to lovely body creme and also lots for mum and dadas well check it out you’ll be glad u made the Change xx

  19. I have a brand new baby and I am not seeing the new label on her products. When is this supposed to have taken affect? Thanks for your help. I do not want to use these products on her if they are not safe.

  20. Im so thankful I have been able to share with new mothers a product that is unlike any on the store shelves. A product with no parabens, no formaldehyde, no toxins, all ingredients are listed. Can be used for multiple things like psoriasis, eczema, and even diaper rashes. It’s incomparable to the top retail brands. And parents can even earn an income using such great products.

  21. I understand what some of you are saying that our bodies produce this and it’s in minute amounts in foods we eat like fruits, however if you add in using several of these products daily like their shampoo, lotions and detangelers, plus these are typically used on our small children in addition not everyone metabolizes at the same rate this certainly all adds up to an unhealthy amount of formaldehyde. Are you telling me there is not a healthier alternative to use? It’s all about the money and what are the cheapest ingredients that they can use. Shame on you J & J for risking our children’s lives. I’ve trusted your products since as long as I can remember and typically always grab J & J items before others. Sorry for the rant, but I’m so fed up with finding out every other day that products/medications my family use are harmful. Enough already. The FDA needs to step up and start protecting consumers a little better

  22. This makes me sick. I’m sure they aren’t the only company putting it in. I’m sure it’s probably in everything. I just don’t understand why this is going on and why quality products are becoming harder and harder to come by these days. In order to avoid the toxins in food and health products, you have to have a lot of time and money to devote to researching it and buying it. Oh, and you probably have to have some smarts too. Ugh. Reading things like this is making me feel very anti-American lately:/

  23. What an absolute disgrace that you put that cancer causing product in baby products and then tried to hide it. Ok so why did you try to hide it …..deeerrr. Ars holes I put that shit on my babies heads I have five kids and six grandchildren they will never ever, ever buy your products again nothing that J@J make ever again, I hope you end up closing down I hope you go broke you bastards. I am so annoyedt that this CANCER CAUSING shit was in it it’s because you have tried to trick people and not tell them what you are doing and they cause cancer OMG what is wrong with you stupid people.

  24. If J&J baby shampoo has cancer causing ingredients, how many babies have cancer as a result of this? How many babies have showed any negative symptoms at all as a result of using this shampoo? Can anyone show any reports of any incidents?

  25. When my first daughter was born 14 yrs ago my Pediatrician said he wouldn’t use J+J on his dog! So I used Burt’s Bees and Dove on my daughters. 3 yrs ago I had my third daughter and although J+J has products that take up more space than any other I still hear those words. I am so happy to know this now!

  26. I have known this for years. Our skin is our largest organ and what you put on your skin gets absorbed into your bloodstream within 26 seconds. It’s not just baby care….let’s think about all the other products out there. There are so many toxins in personal care items it isn’t even funny. Most, if not all, over the counter cosmetics and skin care are loaded with petro-chemicals and toxins. Watch for Sodium Laurel Sulfate, Propylene Glycol (or other glycols), Mineral Oil (baby oil – a carcinogen and it is in hand lotions and many other lotion type products), parabens, acetone (yes, in your skin care). Read your labels on everything! Not just food but on personal care items. Hmmmm…. now tell me the real reason for skin cancer!! Check out – L’BRI Pure n’ Natural Skin Care. Safe for all ages and genders.

  27. My little brother started using this stuff when he was born and for the past few months he’s had really bad reaction to it but we didn’t know what it was until this post came out.
    ~CHIPS Admin.
    Find us on FaceBook.

    https://www.facebook dot com/ChipsSEOK(Remove the “dot” and replace it with a .)

  28. Whether we eat formaldehyde or not, the point that is being made here is that J&J has allowed this stuff in their products and are not disclosing it. Parents, whether ignorant or not, deserve to know. Maybe this is a wake up call for some to start really looking into the chemicals in their products. Just because this stuff is on the shelf, doesn’t mean it is safe to use. Just like food. Bottom line is money here, not health.

  29. Yes… marketed to “babies”, so it seems a scandal. How many of you are still eating food cooked on the barbeque? The paint on your walls and the glue holding your flooring is giving off chemicals too. So is that “new car smell”. Why are we picking on J&J? They’re just a company. You are intelligent consumers… go take a look at what’s “naturally” surrounding you daily… let the OCD begin!

  30. I can’t believe some of the comments on this article. Who would consider any additional amount of formaldehyde (or for that matter lead, parabens, phthalates, DEA, SLS, etc) in our lives acceptable, and if you knew about it, and chose to accept it, pass on that it is acceptable for others? Individuals need to make their own decisions in life, but to insinuate that we just need to ‘accept it’ and ‘deal with it’ is ludicrous. Several companies (for example, Jordan Essentials) exist to offer us reasonably priced, safe alternatives to J&J, we just have to take the knowledge we’ve been armed with and make good decisions for our families.

  31. I would just like to chime in on this a little bit in regard to those that think it is ok for these agents to be present in hba products because they are present in nature, or because its only “a little bit.” Formaldehyde accumulates in your body. The more you are exposed to it, the more you carry. If “just a little bit” is present *everywhere* then you are in fact being exposed to A LOT. Please keep that in mind. It is not necessary to use formaldehyde releasing agents in hba products, and therefore should not be used, in order to reduce one’s exposure to a known carcinogen that we cannot avoid in other daily interactions….

  32. i am worried and torn. i have used these products on all 3 of my children and still useing them on my 5mth old baby. i know that almost everything these days causes cancer but if you knew what caused cancers in products im sure you wouldnt apply that on you babys skin. they should have put their ingredients on the lable and not hide it, people should have a right to know what they are putting on babys skin. yes parents can research but most people like myself trust j&j products as its been a #1 brand for years and still used in hospitals. im not understanding why these products are not recalled? i have had people tell me oh i have used these products for years and im ok.. ya well clearly you havent seen the cancer rate sky rocket in the last 20 years, not saying that it all is j&j fault but it definitely dosent help any. i for 1 will not continue to use these products on my children or i untill i can see the lable saying that all these chemicals are gone out of the j&j products. thank you for posting.

    worried mother

  33. Loreal kids 2 in 1 shampoo and dove baby wash and regular dove body wash have it too. Check your labels everyone! I’m sure there are others!

  34. Okay so there is some harm in very thing these days apparently. What do you expect us to watch our children in? Water…?! Oh that’s not safe either is it??

  35. For those of you IDIOT bloggers out there who are spreading FALSE and unreliable information to scare the public, you need to STOP!!! This is insane!!! The document that J&J released is here:
    Not only is it three YEARS old, but clearly states how much formaldehyde is in the products and their testing and company procedures. It also states that they EXCEED (meaning they go above and beyond) the safety requirements that the FDA requires for their products. People like you that are trying to destroy large companies that have been in business for decades are why this country is falling into crap!!! Please, if you care so much get off your “cancer causing computer” and “brain altering cellphone” and go be a tree-hugger that QUIETLY communes with nature. Then maybe your system will get cleaned out of all the “poop” that you are trying to spew. Especially since it’s untrue an nothing but warped lies!!

  36. I have to laugh at all the people that continue to mention safe levels in these products. What happens when most of your environment/products/nutrition contain these “safe levels?” It takes simple elementary math to figure it out. All of it adds up to unsafe levels. Also, most chemical compounds created in nature are safe to the environment/humans vs the man made versions or substitutes. People need to actually do research on these additives, man-made vs natural, and stop taking the easy route of claiming conspiracy theory. Find out what is safe from your own research not what is spoon fed from the FDA. How often do you see commercials on TV in re of Medication recalls and the horrific reasons for them. All FDA approved!

  37. Reading blog entries and comments such as these, I am always amazed and incredibly saddened by the utter lack of understanding of basic, fundamental scientific concepts by such a large segment of our society. It’s so unfortunate.

  38. I have used these products for years, my mother has used them on me and my sister both, my grandmother and all 5 of her kids, my mother-in-law on my husband and his sister NONE of us have anything wrong with us. This is just probly something dumb Caifornia had them do because ever thing causes cancer over there it’s ridiculous. Nothing’s wrong with any of us and I bet y’all parents and there parents used it and I bet there’s nothing wrong with y’all. That just my opinion tho.

    • Doctors recommend Johnson & Johnson over all other products. Do you think a doctor is going to recommend something that’s going to harm a child in anyway at all. Come on people think a little use your heads other then as a hat rack. People like you all are the reason the world is like this today openin your mouths before you think. The dumb people like this is what pisses me off, how about instead of just opening your mouth about shit you see and hear on tv and the internet do a little research about it and not feed into the rumors that’s trying to be started. Johnson & Johnson has been around for many years and until now people have never said anything about cancer causing chemicles in it, but it seems like everything now days causes cancer. That’s all you hear about someone passed because of cancer because they did this or they used this STOP blaming dumb things. They would not have gotten it if it wasn’t GOD’s plan. He challenges people like this all the time not for you all to blame a product or what they were doing. Think back in the old days when cancer was still very much alive, people didn’t pick something to blame it on like they do now days. PEOPLE STOP AND THINK BEFORE OPENIN YOUR MOUTHS.

  39. Just because its in alot of stuff doesn’t mean it’s ok… This is one step hopefully ppl will wake up start researching stuff realize why cancer is off the charts these days and start demanding chemical free natural stuff but this article is useless in the fact that blind ingnorant ppl don’t care their the kind of ppl that will argue with your that mic Donald’s and Wendy’s r Not that bad lol,it’s not that hard to live a healthy life style u just can’t be lazy make your own shampoo r u crazy ? Lol I’ve been making my own stuff 4 years cause my children r worth it.

    • “Just because it’s in a lot of stuff doesn’t mean it’s ok.” True. However, that also doesn’t mean it’s not ok. People are so quick to jump on the mass hysteria bandwagon off of a headline without understanding the science behind things. OH- and H+ by themselves are pretty dangerous on ingestion. Add them together and they make water. It makes a difference when you understand the whole story. The same goes with understanding reasons why cancer incidence is much higher than it was in years past. Obesity sure doesn’t help but, in reality, we are living much longer. The older you are the higher the likelihood of developing cancer. The people who would have developed cancer years ago often died from infections, accidents and poor nutrition. They never lived long enough to develop cancer and increase that statistic. And are the ingredients that you use in your homemade shampoo organic? Grown naturally? “Grown naturally” often means in cow manure. I’m not trying to be critical, just open up the discussion to alternate view points.

    • What do you make your shampoo out of? If it is natural products you probably are still putting formaldehyde in your shampoo as it is a natural chemical made in nature i.e. pears and apples have it (and probably a greater amount than what J&J use in their products). What people don’t know is that our own bodies produce and use formaldehyde as a part of our normal metabolism, and it is actually a pretty important chemical — the body uses it to form DNA and amino acids. Before people damn something they should do the research.

  40. I am so sick of these monster companies acting like they are doing us a favor. Back in 2009 and 2011 there were reports where J & J said they would “PHASE OUT” the same ingredients that were banned & not included in their products shipped to other countries. Known Carcinogens, Formaldehyde-releasing chemicals from its baby products worldwide”… And a slew of other products one can find “Quaternium” = releases formaldehyde “a known human carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the International Agency for Research on Cancer” WELL IT’S TIME TO JUST PHASE THEM OUT! They have known about this for too long & continued to rake in the money on their deceptive commercials & ads & so called “natural” product line. Do you really trust them Now??! I for one, DO NOT. THERE ARE BETTER CHOICES AVAILABLE NOW! See it at http://www.ToxicFreeWellness Mommy’s Club Organic, Toxic Free, Eco Cert, Gluten Free & made in the USA. I have been waiting since I had my daughter 2 1/2 years ago for this opportunity to provide her affordable & toxic Free baby shampoo, lotion, vitamins etc. & I just happened to be one of the lucky ones to find it first! I am very passionate about this cause for our children & educating other parents. I also have a BLOG at

  41. So, yes, things like formaldehyde occur naturally and as part of our body processes. Yes, the totals from multiple products and our own bodily processes are important factors. This is not an, any of “it” is bad, or just because some occurs naturally it is OK, type of argument. There is some validity to both sides. So it seems we need studies to determine how much of combined carcinogens is “bad for us” because we do have so much exposure to so many things. How much in/out goes on in our bodies without being a problem? How much total are we being exposed to over time, and is that number too high, and if that leads to cancer. We live in a complicated (physically speaking) world. The more complicated our answers become, the more difficult it to answer what seem to be easy questions. Oh, for the more simple days of yore. If you were sick, you either got better, or worse and possibly died. Of course life expectancy was almost half of today’s. Look for some middle ground, and easier to read and more honest lists of ingredients that would allow us to choose where and when we introduce possible carcinogens.

  42. Is it all J&J baby products that contain these carcinogens …. shampoo, body wash, lotions, etc.? I always thought I could trust Johnson & Johnson’s. How disappointing.

  43. I’m so glad I don’t use Johnson products, they made my little girls skin dry. What about the formaldehyde they use in vaccines and mercury, why isn’t it reported in the news? Surely injecting them into a baby/child can be serious.!

  44. Mmm… did J&J really admit that their baby shampoo causes cancer? Or was that just your libellous rant? I’ll bet that the formaldehyde in their shampoo isn’t half as dangerous as the stupidity and ignorance present in the human race.

  45. Great article. This is good news. I recently made the switch to chemical free products. I made that decision on September 21,2013. And buy 100% certified toxic free, organic and wild-crafted products through my own web-store at wholesale cost. Toothpaste, baby products, shampoo, skin lotion, laundry detergent and all my dietary products are toxic free.

    Companies like J&J will have no choice because of the mind shift that is going on right now in society. Individuals are paying attention to what they are putting into their bodies.


  46. And that is why we make our own! Nothing hidden to it. I know what’s going in it. I make homemade bath and beauty products with a focus on goat milk products. All the milk comes from our hand milked goats so I know there’s no mistreatment or hormones pumped in them. All the ingredients are natural products and free of parabens and formaldehyde! All hand made in my little Tennessee home! :) Check it out at or

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  48. There are no “tolerable” amount of cancer causing ingredients for babies, and those that say there are, are probably not parents. Every company that uses these ingredients, (you know, the chemicals that eat through the pipes they’re fed into- to be pot into the bottles or containers they sell to you)should be made public so that the consumer can then decide, what they want to use. Also without hidden names, or misleading titles, such as “all natural, organic, clear etc.” How sad that they further play this market under those misleading titles. I was bathed and washed and made to be “baby soft” with lotions even teenagers and elders use, on the biggest organ of our bodies. And at 52- I was diagnosed with cancer, I know, I’m well over the ripe old age of my ancestors. But in a world that can prolong life now, with so much information and medical advancement, it does make me wonder- hmmm? If my mother had “the right” to know this information, would I have cancer now?

  49. This is why I vowed to always use ONLY organic products on my children. A great website is if you’re interested in using only safe products on/for your little ones.

  50. Before this came out about the Johnson shampoo, I was using it on my 1 month old son. Each time i used it, he would have red blotches on his head in the exact spots i applied it. A few days later i read this article and automatically stopped using the shampoo and the red blotches didnt show up after his next bath. So to me, this makes perfect sense…its unfortunate that stuff like this happens.

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  53. If it’s so bad then don’t you think there would be an epidemic of skin cancer in kids or something crazy like that. Everyone uses that shampoo/lotions. There are cancer causing ingredients in everything. Take a million daily vitamins and see how you feel. It’s all in moderation. You’re not going to get cancer from shampoo…that’s crazy.

    • Your skin is the means of transportation to the organs in the body. No it’s not going to create skin cancer, it creates cancer of the liver & the pancreas & the kidneys & the bladder & the breast & all the other things that people are getting cancer in. 50 years ago very few people got cancer. Now 1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with some sort of disease or illness or cancer. We are overloaded on toxic chemicals daily & then mixing the chemicals from one product (lets just use deodorant as an example) mixed with the lotion you put on & then the perfume on top of that & lets not forget the hairspray….. all these things are mixing together INSIDE the body & creating a chemical cocktail. So go ahead and try to moderate & don’t worry about getting cancer from shampoo because that would be crazy.

  54. There are so many products containing Formaldehyde. Please read the substance profile of Formaldehyde, especially the “Uses” heading (Page 6-7).

    Again, it depends on how much of it you’re exposed to. I’m sure the amounts in shampoo and powder is insignificant compared to the amount of exposure (embalmers, etc) the cancer studies use to correlate it to the incidence of cancer.

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