India’s drugs control agency has revealed that samples of Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) baby shampoo taken from two batches had failed the quality test as they contained “harmful ingredients.”
The watchdog’s findings come just a few months after Indian authorities launched an investigation into the company’s baby powder to see if it contains cancer-causing asbestos. Samples of J&J’s baby shampoo and soap products have been also collected as a matter of routine.
The American pharmaceutical company rejected the findings. J&J stated that the results it received from the regulator indicated that formaldehyde had been discovered in the samples. Formaldehyde is known as a carcinogen (a substance capable of causing cancer) and is used to make building materials. Research studies have established a link between formaldehyde and a higher risk of leukemia.
“We do not accept the interim results given to us, which mentioned samples to ‘contain harmful ingredients – identification positive for formaldehyde,’” a J&J spokeswoman told Reuters.
We unequivocally maintain that our products are safe and our assurance process is amongst the most rigorous in the world,” she added. The company has contested the interim test results of the government analysis that were based on “unknown and unspecified methods,” according to the spokesperson.
The two batches of the tested baby shampoo were manufactured at J&J’s plant in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh and are due to expire in September 2021. Rajasthan has reportedly ordered the withdrawal of the contaminated batches and asked the regulators in other states to follow suit.
“We have confirmed to the Indian authorities that we do not add formaldehyde as an ingredient in our shampoo nor does Johnson’s baby shampoo contain any ingredient that can release formaldehyde over time,” said J&J.
Inspections at J&J Indian facilities followed a Reuters’ report that the firm knew for decades that cancer-causing asbestos could be found in its product. The US company has described the report as “one-sided, false and inflammatory.”