Formaldehyde in baby shampoo? Hormone disrupters in toothpaste? Not possible you say. Think again.
Take the array of products from a company that symbolizes purity: Johnson & Johnson.
Yet its products are far from pure, even though many are used on our most vulnerable humans: babies. In response to persistent pressure from consumers, Johnson & Johnson has recently removed quaternium-15, a formaldehyde releasing preservative, and 1,4 dioxane, a solvent linked to cancer, from all of its products.
While a laudable step, J&J remains in the challenging position of both defending ingredients it has used in its products for decades, while simultaneously reformulating them to eliminate ingredients of concern.
And what about toothpaste? One ingredient that has garnered the attention of consumers is an anti-bacterial agent found in some toothpaste brands: triclosan. Both the EPA and FDA have noted the concerns about the chemical even though conclusive data about its health effects on humans is not yet available. Nonetheless, the EPA regulates and classifies triclosan as a pesticide.
We don’t know about you, but we’d rather not expose our sensitive oral tissues to pesticides or other harmful-sounding chemicals so we avoid products that contain them. Seek toothpastes that use ingredients you can understand, like peppermint oil, silica, or the natural sweetener stevia. Avoid those with titanium dioxide, a chemical that’s used to make wall paint white, or sodium lauryl sulfate, a bubbling agent that causes mouth sores in some people.
Bottom line: make it a practice to read the labels on your personal care products. By purchasing natural products, you are voting for products that are good for you with the most powerful weapon you have: your wallet.