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

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…

  • bob shoots

    lol I laugh in the face J & J “J & J released a statement saying the ingredients “…are safe and approved by regulators in every country or region in which they are used.”” well lets think about this…cheap cost effective chemicals can do the job and put more money in the pockets of J&J witch means that they can than pay a small percentage to companies like the FDA to allow such chemicals to be used in the products.

  • Emily

    JNJ already has non-toxic available for other countries! Chems mentioned in boycott & more – http://tinyurl.com/44qc368 Sunflower Naturals

  • teddy

    How many cases of cancer are linked to it – sounds like a BS thing again being raised. I have no concerns with the product. BTW tell Michelle Obama I’ve been drinking soda my whole life and I’m nowhere near as fat as she is.

    • Mr Clean

      Does she or her husband wash their hair?


    We should stop washing hair period.

  • L.Lowell

    Bad stuff it seems and let’s not forget many medical doctor’s mention to their patients
    to use this shampoo with water as a little dab on the eyes to remove that
    nasty crust some elderly people get around the eyes, Nice to know that
    this has a poison in it.

  • Nachshon

    Has the carcinogen always been in the baby shampoo, or has it been added in recent years? And if it’s so easy to remove from the product, why did they have it in there to begin with? I don’t get decisions like this. It’s baby shampoo: people buy it bc they want the least harsh formula, so why not give them what they want? Does it make any sense?

    Incidentally, I don’t know why we’re cool with putting carcinogens in adult shampoo, either. Not like it’s getting our hair any cleaner.

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