Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Johnson & Johnson = Cancer?

This post is similar to the bumper debate blog that I posted last week in that it has recently sparked a lot of debate in the parenting community.  The following photo is what I equate with babies and the reason they always smell so delicious:
Raise your hand if you were raised on this stuff.  If I had to guess, I would bet that most hands are raised right now.  This week, J&J has been under fire for some ingredients that have been in their shampoo since it was invented however many years ago.  I stumbled across this article yesterday and was shocked.  According to the article, some J&J baby products (including Baby Shampoo, Oatmeal Body Wash, Moisture Care Baby Wash and Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash) contain dioxane, which is considered a carcinogen, as well as quaternium-15, which releases formaldehyde (formaldehyde was added to the U.S. government's list of known carcinogens over the summer).  Allegedly, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has attempted to meet with J&J three times.  The company's response is that while formaldehyde is considered a carcinogen, according to regulators, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are safe.  The Company also maintains that they are working on reformulating their baby products and gradually phasing the chemicals out.  According to the article, this claim is less than sincere because J&J already sells a carcinogen-free version of baby shampoo in various other countries.  Johnson's Naturals, which can be bought in the United States, does not contain the chemicals - however, according to the article, it is about twice as much as the regular baby shampoo. I verified this fact with a quick Amazon search.

Those are some strong claims, yes?  Articles such as the one above make me react in different ways.  On one hand, I obviously do not want to jeopardize my child in anyway - I don't think any parent does.  On the other hand, however, you have to wonder why these products have been OK for 50 years (I made that number up but you get the point) and now all of a sudden they're bad.  Are parents, consumer groups, etc. overreacting?  Much like some other hot topic issues such as bumpers and deli meat, it's easy to wonder how serious these claims are and what actions need to be taken.  It's just like how people say "everything causes cancer."  It's kind of true - every day a new report comes out with something else that has been linked to cancer.  Today it was wine, but that discussion is for another day.  Sigh.

Anyway, the point of this post is that reading this article naturally sent my rule-following-goody-two-shoes-over-protective-I-don't-want-to-jeopardize-my-baby's-health side into a tizzy.  I registered for J&J, because I grew up on it, and it's what I know.  Do I change my registry to an alternative product?  I've read a lot about organic products such as Baby Bee by Burt's Bees or California Baby.  If I'm being honest, I really started looking into these products before all of this about J&J came out, because my hippie side likes that they're organic.  Additionally, I have always had very sensitive skin, so I thought it would be good to have some organic options on hand in case baby inherits this trait from me.  The downside is that these brands are also expensive, as are babies, and every penny counts.  Either way, it's something to think about.  Additionally, if something ever did happen to my child, I would hate to always wonder if I caused it by not heeding the advice of an article I read when I was in my OCD research phase of pregnancy.

What do you think?  Anyone out there have an opinion on this issue?  I know you do, so leave me some comment love!

Until tomorrow -

Sarah

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