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Preservatives in Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products
Johnson & Johnson - Preservatives

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Johnson & Johnson - Parabens
  • Bacteria can grow in almost anything that contains water. Because of this, we believe that any baby or beauty personal care products that contain water should also contain preservatives to ensure they are safe.
  • Preservatives are added to baby and beauty personal care products to avoid harmful mold and bacteria that could build up in personal care products over time.
  • Many preservatives in use today are found in nature. Parabens, for example, are found in blueberries and carrots – it’s nature’s way of preventing spoilage in fruits and vegetables.
  • Our safety assurance process test preservatives for mildness and potential irritation. This includes studying how a consumer might use or store the product at home.
Parabens in Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products

In our products

Preservatives are an essential part of baby and beauty personal care products. Without them, everyday products you’ve come to rely on could expire within weeks or even days. Products labeled “preservative free” aren’t necessarily better or safer. In fact, the main reason we include preservatives in some of our products is to ensure their safety.

Every preservative must clear our safety assurance process before we’ll allow it in one of our products. As a result, the preservative amounts we allow in our products are far below the limits set by regulators.


The Expert Panel of the U.S. Cosmetic Ingredient Review* has reviewed the use of parabens in personal care products and concluded they are safe at levels up to 1 percent. EU regulations require that parabens not exceed 0.8 percent and for propylparaben not to exceed 0.18 percent. In the products we make that contain parabens, they are present at levels below the current E.U. and U.S. regulations.

None of our baby personal care products worldwide contain any parabens. For adult beauty personal care products, parabens in new products are restricted to methyl, ethyl and propyl parabens, which have been extensively studied for safety and are supported by regulatory authorities around the world. No other type of parabens exist in our beauty personal care products.

Formaldehyde Releasing Preservatives

While formaldehyde releasing preservatives are safe when used in well formulated cosmetic products, we listened to our consumers, and as a result, our baby personal care products worldwide no longer include formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. Similarly, you’ll only see formaldehyde-releasing preservatives in beauty personal care products when alternatives are not feasible or safe when combined with other ingredients.

With regard to the Government of India’s March 31, 2019 report of Formaldehyde in Johnson’s Baby Shampoo:

We unequivocally maintain that our products are safe and our assurance process is amongst the most rigorous in the world, meeting or exceeding the safety standards in every country where our products are sold. Johnson & Johnson is in full compliance with current Indian regulatory requirements and standards for manufacturing and testing of all our products.

Earlier this year, representatives of the Drug Controller in Jaipur, Rajasthan drew samples of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo for testing and we fully co-operated during the process. We do not accept the interim results given to us which mentioned samples to ‘contain harmful ingredients- identification positive for formaldehyde.’ The government did not disclose the test methods, details or any quantitative findings. This is concerning especially when there is no prescribed test method or requirement for testing Formaldehyde in shampoo under the applicable standards. We have confirmed to the Indian authorities that Formaldehyde, as an ingredient, is neither present in our shampoo nor does Johnson’s baby shampoo contain any ingredient that can release formaldehyde over time. Our products are safe to use and conform to all applicable standard under the D&C Act and D&C rules.

We have contested the interim test results of the Government Analysis that were based on unknown and unspecified methods. Following due process under law, the application before the relevant authority is pending for re-testing of samples at Central Drugs Laboratory.

* No endorsement, approval, association, or sponsorship of Our Safety & Care Commitment by the organization listed is stated or implied.