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Watchdog clears Johnson & Johnson baby products after probe

China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine released inspection results yesterday that showed all of the 26 tested baby bath products produced by Johnson & Johnson China met with the country's regulations on cosmetic formaldehyde.

But one batch number (B081210A/20111209) was found to contain as light amount of 1,4-dioxane, a yet unregulated substance used in cosmetics by both China and the United States, according to the Administration .

The Administration had carried out tests on 31 batch numbers of 26 baby bath products of the Johnson & Johnson China company following allegations that the company's bath products contain harmful substances for children.

The government agency said China had not imported any Johnson & Johnson products since 2008 and that all the Johnson & Johnson products sold in the country were made in China by the Johnson & Johnson China Ltd.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a nonprofit US organization, issued an online report on March 12, saying it had found "dozens of top-selling children's bath products are contaminated with the cancer-causing chemicals formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane.

According to the US National Cancer Institute, formaldehyde is used to make building materials such as plywood, as a preservative in medical laboratories and as an industrial fungicide. It can also be released by burning wood, kerosene, natural gas or cigarettes and may occur in automobile emissions. The institute's Website states that formaldehyde is classified as a "probable human carcinogen" by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

As for 1,4-dioxane, both the US and China have not established or recommended a specific limit on the level of 1,4-dioxane in cosmetics.

The Administration said it would work with other government departments and organize experts to further study the effects on health of the 1,4-dioxane substance in cosmetic products.

The China Consumers' Association, a government-funded social organization in charge of commodity and service supervision and consumer rights protection, urges Chinese consumers to stop buying the Johnson & Johnson baby bath products before official test results are released, according to domestic media reports yesterday.


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