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Watchdog rules J&J's baby bath products safe

China's top product safety supervisor said yesterday tests showed Johnson & Johnson's baby bath products conformed with regulations on cosmetic formaldehyde, a chemical questioned by a US health advocacy for causing health problems.

The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine found trace levels of formaldehyde contained in the products were within limits after inspecting a total of 31 batches of 26 baby bath products made by Johnson & Johnson China.

One batch was found to contain a slight amount of 1,4-dioxane, a yet unregulated substance used in cosmetics by both China and the United States, the administration added.

A US-based health advocacy group claimed that some child care products contain formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, byproducts of the manufacturing process, that might lead to cancer or allergies under repeated exposure.

Johnson & Johnson's products were named among the suspect products.

The administration said Johnson & Johnson's baby bathing products had not been imported to China since 2008 and all its products available on the domestic market were made by the company's local plants.

According to the administration, neither China nor the United States has decreed amount limits of 1,4-dioxane when it occurs during production. However, it has organized experts to further study its health effects in cosmetic products.

The State Food and Drug Administration, meanwhile, failed to find contamination by formaldehyde or 1,4-dioxane in checks it did on 14 Johnson & Johnson's baby bath products sold under the company's Shanghai brand.

"The administration will continue to closely monitor the situation and do testing in a timely manner," the state FDA said yesterday.

Johnson & Johnson said yesterday the report proved its products were safe and met requirements.

"The inspection result helped to clear up consumer concerns and unnecessary worries about Johnson & Johnson's products," said Wang Meiying, general manager of Johnson & Johnson (China).

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 Xinhua news agency.

NGS, a supermarket in Shanghai, cut the company's baby shampoo from sale last week over safety concerns.

According to the US National Cancer Institute, formaldehyde is used in building materials such as plywood, as a preservative in medical laboratories and as an industrial fungicide.

It can be released by burning wood, kerosene, natural gas or cigarettes and may occur in car emissions.


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