We are non toxic, why can’t they be?
It’s hard to think of a big consumer company that hasn’t gone green by now, with at least a promise to reduce its carbon footprint, energy use, water consumption, or packaging. Fewer have examined the potentially toxic chemical ingredients in their products, a particular problem for the makers of shampoos, cleaning supplies, and cosmetics. Now they won’t have a choice: California (of course, California) has put into effect a green chemistry initiative, known officially as the Safer Consumer Products Act, that will require companies to eliminate certain potentially harmful chemicals from the products sold in a state large enough to sway the entire domestic market.
What the California law accepts—and some companies are starting to acknowledge—is that any dangers probably lie in the cumulative effects of chemical exposure. California has already identified 164 chemicals for testing. By April, regulators will select up to five priority products for analyses and possible reformulation. These potentially include nail polish that contains toluene, carpet adhesive with formaldehyde, and florescent light bulbs with mercury.
Although the law will be phased in over the next couple of years, Bloomberg Newsidentified a few big companies that have already begun to reformulate products. Among them is Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): Turns out its baby shampoo contains formaldehyde. (I know—formaldehyde? It isn’t added purposefully but is released over time by preservatives in the shampoo.) The chemical is considered a “probable human carcinogen” by the U.S. Government and is on California’s watch list.
By Susan Berfield for Bloomberg Businessweek
- Johnson & Johnson admits: “Our baby products contain cancer-causing formaldehyde” (feedondemons.wordpress.com)
- Johnson & Johnson admit that their baby products contain cancer-causing chemicals (the-tap.blogspot.com)