Johnson & Johnson, a leading pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturer, as well as a prominent producer of personal care products, announced last week its plans to remove harmful substances, including formaldehyde from its consumer products.
J&J hopes to meet this goal by the end of 2015. The company's recently-announced goal comes after it already announced it would remove certain chemicals from its baby products, including its famous baby shampoo, by 2013.
J&J's goal appears to be a trend for the corporation, after pledging in July to expand corporate oversight over its drug production and marketing division, which we blogged about in a prior entry. You can read that blog post here.
These commitments, however, also come after a wave of allegations concerning repeated FDA violations and illegal marketing of J&J's FDA-regulated products. Similarly, J&J has faced several recalls of its products in the past several years.
Although J&J's vows are surely a step in the right direction, they are also indicative of a public relations effort to elicit a favorable public image, in light of the trouble they've faced for prior bad conduct.
J&J's commitment to remove harmful chemicals from its consumer products, however, if implemented, demonstrates a rare instance of a drug and consumer products company placing public safety over profits. According to the New York Times, J&J's pledge makes it "the first major consumer products company to make such a widespread commitment."
The company plans on implementing its program to cover popular brands, including Clean & Clear, Neutrogena and Aveeno. J&J representatives report that its recent announcement coincides with increasing concern over safety of ingredients in personal care products, which are not subject to the same stringent regulations that prescription drugs and medical devices face.
In 2009, a report surfaced on the subject, concluding that many consumer products contain harmful chemicals and yet companies have found a loophole in federal regulations to avoid reporting them. After scientifically analyzing several dozen products, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics reported that many consumer home care products contain formaldehyde, recently identified as a carcinogen, and 1,4 dioxane--both chemicals that can be extremely harmful to human health.
The loophole that allows manufacturers to avoid reporting these ingredients, and others, is that technically, neither are added "ingredients." Rather, both substances can become chemically created and released into the products by other listed ingredients in the products.
Per reports, public interest groups, including consumer safety and environmental organizations have been urging J&J and other like industry leaders to remove potentially harmful substances from their products for years. For those groups and consumers alike, if J&J follows through, it will represent a public safety victory.
In the meantime, however, the personal injury and defective products lawyers at JONES WARD will continue to report on the conduct of major consumer product and pharmaceutical companies, bad or good. The recall lawyers at JONES WARD are dedicated to bringing you the most up-to-date information regarding dangerous products, as it comes out. If you or a loved one has been injured, please give us a call. For more information, contact attorney A. Layne Stackhouse at 502.882.6000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.