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Queens Professor Weighs In On Controversial Ingredients In Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo

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Johnson & Johnson says that the ingredients in question are "safe and approved by regulators in every country or region in which they are used." (credit: CBS 2)

Johnson & Johnson says that the ingredients in question are “safe and approved by regulators in every country or region in which they are used.” (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — You may have used it as a kid, and if you’re a parent, there’s a good chance you’ve used Johnson’s baby shampoo on your child. On Tuesday, a boycott was launched against the shampoo and all Johnson & Johnson baby products.

Johnson’s baby shampoo is under fire for use of two ingredients — dioxane and quaternium-15 — which wipes out bacteria on the hair and scalp.

Jessica Assaf, with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, said those ingredients are putting children in danger.

“So basically they kill bacteria by releasing formaldehyde and formaldehyde has been classified by the U.S. government as a known human carcinogen,” she told CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu.

The campaign is calling on parents to boycott all Johnson & Johnson baby products until the company stops using the ingredients.

J & J released a statement saying the ingredients “…are safe and approved by regulators in every country or region in which they are used.”

But the company said due to consumer concerns, it’s gradually phasing out the specific types of preservatives in its baby products worldwide.

The Food and Drug Administration said “it has no evidence that exposure to 1,4-dioxane or quaternium-15 from cosmetics poses any risk to users.”

Dr. Robert Engel, a chemistry professor at Queens College, said there’s no need for parents to panic.

“If you have an allergy and there are a certain number of people who have particular allergy to formaldehyde, I would avoid it. If you don’t have that allergy that small amount is probably not going to be a problem,” Engel said.

Dr. Engel did say he’s glad J&J is phasing out formaldehyde-producing preservatives. Parents like Akeela Azcuy said she supports the boycott.

“If it just says fragrance or something like really long names of chemicals I don’t understand, I won’t buy it,” Azcuy said.

Johnson & Johnson has no timeline on when the two ingredients will be fully phased out of its baby shampoo. But the company said any new baby products it releases will not contain the preservatives.

Share your thoughts on the Johnson & Johnson boycott in the comments section…

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