MORE TEARS: After Talcum Powder, JnJ Baby Shampoo reveals presence of Carcinogens
New Delhi: After facing trouble with its baby talcum powder amid allegations that it contains asbestos, US healthcare giant Johnson and Johnson (JnJ) has now come under the scanner of regulators for its popular Baby Shampoo. According to recent media reports, the product samples failed quality tests as the presence of carcinogenic contents were found in the two batches of the product tested in Rajasthan.
Through recent media reports, it is learnt that the shampoo samples revealed the presence of Formaldehyde.
Formaldehyde is identified as a substance that promotes the formation of cancer in human body. It is a colourless, strong-smelling chemical compound mainly used in making building materials and pressed wood products.
According to the American Society of Cancer, the dissolved formaldehyde is used as a preservative in some foods and in products, such as antiseptics, medicines, and cosmetics.
The concern came to light as the country's drug regulator initiated a wider probe into the entire range of baby care products of JnJ post asbestos scare in JnJ's talcum powder.
The discovery was made after Drugs Control Organization of Rajasthan conducted samples test of the baby shampoo and found that the product was not in accord with the quality standard. The samples collected showed the presence of "harmful ingredients" that may cause cancer.
Complying by the same, regulators in Rajasthan ordered to withdraw of two batches of 'No More Tears' baby shampoo which were found to be "not of standard quality" and contaminated with formaldehyde. Two batches of the product containing around 50,000 bottles each were manufactured at JnJ's facility at Baddi, Himachal Pradesh.
Following media reports on the product's test results in Rajasthan, Gujarat Food and Drugs Control Authority has turned its eye on the healthcare major too. The state FDCA has ordered tests on samples of J&J's baby shampoo results, which could take at least two weeks.
"We randomly and arbitrarily take up products for a test. Close to 15,000 samples of drugs and cosmetics every year are tested in Gujarat. However, we have now ordered tests on Johnson & Johnson's baby shampoos on a priority basis after we saw the results declared by Rajasthan," H G Koshia, Food and Drugs Commissioner of Gujarat told Business Standard.
"We have taken the step suo moto and have not heard or received any notification from the DCGI," Koshia added.
Regulatory authorities in Rajasthan told TOI that the samples of baby shampoo collected in Rajasthan contained ingredients which were on the "negative list of BIS standards" and were considered harmful for public health.
"Please ensure the quality of other batches and drugs of said manufacturers available in the market from time to time," quotes the letter written by the Drugs Controller of Rajasthan to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).
Based on the report submitted by the Rajasthan state drug controller, the Centre has put the product on scrutiny. The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), India's apex drug regulatory body, also plans to "examine" the matter closely. "We will monitor the movement of such type of products in the market," Drug Controller General of India Eswara Reddy told The Indian Express.
However, JnJ maintained that the shampoo was safe and in compliance with regulatory standards. Responding to the findings, the company contested, "We have contested the interim test results of the government analysis that were based on unknown and unspecified methods. 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," the JnJ spokesperson told Live Mint.
The samples have been sent for re-testing, the spokesperson added.
Meghna A Singhania is the founder and Editor-in-Chief at Medical Dialogues. An Economics graduate from Delhi University and a post graduate from London School of Economics and Political Science, her key research interest lies in health economics, and policy making in health and medical sector in the country. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact no. 011-43720751