Aveeno is one of several brands under the J & J umbrella.
Credits: File photo
Johnson & Johnson has pledged to axe harsh, cancer-causing chemicals from its products worldwide by 2015 after years of pressure from health groups.
The cosmetics giant plans to remove chemicals such as formaldehyde and paraben preservatives from its baby products by the end of next year and reformulate adult toiletries by 2015.
Formaldehyde is linked to cancer in humans when inhaled over a long period of time, and is also a skin, eye and respiratory irritant, according to Health Canada.
In Canada, formaldehyde is permitted in cosmetics at levels of no more than 0.2%.
Johnson's makes No More Tears baby shampoo, baby lotion, as well as products under the lines Aveeno, Neutrogena, RoC, Clean & Clear and Lubriderm, among others.
"We want to be sure people have peace of mind bringing our products into their homes and caring for themselves and their families," Susan Nettesheim, J & J's vice-president of product stewardship & toxicology, said in a statement.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of more than 175 non-profit health and environmental groups, has pressured the manufacturer since 2009 to eliminate potentially dangerous chemicals from its products.
The coalition had called for a boycott of J & J in November for using the formaldehyde-releasing chemical, quaternium-15, in its baby shampoo, as well as 1,4-dioxane, a suspected carcinogen.
J & J said at the time it would phase out some preservatives from its products, but didn't provide a timeline.
"This is a major victory for public health," Lisa Archer, co-founder of the campaign, said in a statement Wednesday.