Imagine if you awoke to see headlines about your company or client insisting that it “poisons babies.” Going to be a rough day, huh?
On Tuesday, the blog Jezebel
published a story titled, “Johnson & Johnson Gently Poisons Babies With Its Shampoo
,” which details the push by The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (and other consumer groups) to persuade the company to remove dioxide, a suspected carcinogen, and formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, from its popular baby shampoo.
The story begins:
“Moms who buy special shampoo for their babies probably assume that they aren't rubbing carcinogens into their precious child's head during every bath. If they live in the U.S., there's a good chance they're wrong. Health and environmental groups have been pressuring Johnson & Johnson to remove two potentially cancer-causing chemicals from its popular baby shampoo, and for some unfathomable reason, they're dragging their feet.”
is part of Gawker Media.
According to a report from The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
, Johnson & Johnson has said it’s reformulating its baby shampoo and gradually phasing out the chemicals. Jezebel
pointed out that the company already sells versions of the shampoo without the chemicals in foreign countries.
By Wednesday morning, hundreds of media outlets had picked up the story, from Bloomberg Businessweek
to The Huffington Post
In response, Jay Kosminsky, vice president of worldwide communication and public affairs at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products, issued this statement
“Today a coalition of groups known as the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is issuing a report critical of some of the ingredients in JOHNSON’S® Baby products. The first and most important thing to know is that the products they mention are safe – up to our own high standards and approved by regulators in the U.S., EU, and China. Still, because we know that some consumers are concerned, we have made a number of changes to our product line over the past two years. You can read more about the actions we’ve taken on the JOHNSON’S® Baby site, by clicking here.”
The statement hasn’t curbed the outpouring of negative sentiment on Twitter
, the company’s Facebook page
, and in blog comment sections. One Facebook commenter writes:
“I could cry just thinking about the harm these products might cause my babies. I have twin boys and for the past 14 months have used Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo everyday. It makes me sick that you could advertise your products as gentle and safe. Lulling us into a false sense of security, knowing full well that there are ingredients that could cause cancer is criminal. … I will never use your products again, and neither will anyone I speak to! Shame on you! I truly hope that this issue causes your company a lot of problems, because you have taken away some of my peace of mind.”
So much for “No more tears” inside the company’s PR department.