Vietnam checks baby bath product amid toxic chemical concerns

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Vietnam authorities have ordered tests of Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo after a US coalition of environment and health groups warned that the company has not yet removed toxic chemicals from its products despite their demand in 2009.

Nguyen Xuan Tien, deputy head of Cosmetics Department under the Drug Administration of Vietnam, told Thanh Nien that his department will cooperate with related agencies in other countries to closely monitor the safety of Quaternium -15, which was said to release a carcinogen formaldehyde to kill bacteria.

According to Tien, Vietnamese regulations restrict the content of the preservative in cosmetics to 0.2 percent, although the content in Johnson's Baby Shampoo as announced by Johnson & Johnson Vietnam is 0.05 percent.

Meanwhile, 1.4 dioxan, another carcinogen used to make products gentler on users' skin, mentioned in the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics' latest report, is banned from use in cosmetics under Vietnam's regulations, the official said.

In its report published November 1, the coalition said its reviews of the labels of Johnson's Baby Shampoo in 13 countries showed that the US company didn't remove the preservative in the US and several other countries such as China and Australia.

The coalition said in 2009 it already found the toxic chemicals in Johnson's Baby Shampoo and many other children's bath products.

Since then, the coalition, in writing or at meetings, has urged the company to remove the chemicals, and even called for consumers to boycott the company. In response to the request, Johnson & Johnson introduced a new version of its product that is free of the chemicals and is sold in several countries.

On October 31, the coalition once again sent a letter to the company, asking it to make a commitment on November 15 that it will remove formaldehyde-releasing chemicals from all of its children's products in all markets around the world.

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