Friday, March 20, 2009

BEIJING (AP) - The State Food and Drug Administration said Saturday it found no evidence that Johnson & Johnson baby products made in China contain potential carcinogens as alleged by an activist group.

The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration found no contamination by formaldehyde, or 1,4-dioxane, in 33 products _ including 14 bath or sanitary-related items _ sold by the company’s Shanghai branch, the watchdog said on its Web site.

“The State Food and Drug Administration will continue to closely monitor the situation and do testing in a timely manner,” it said.

Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo and other products were among dozens from different manufacturers listed in a March 12 report by U.S.-based health and environmental activist group Campaign for Safe Cosmetics as containing formaldehyde, or 1,4-dioxane.

The allegations struck a nerve in China, where a slew of product safety and quality scandals has left consumers jittery over potential risks.

A Shanghai-based supermarket chain, Nong Gong Shang, pulled Johnson Baby Shampoo from its shelves last week in reaction to the report.

A supermarket in the central city of Chongqing also pulled three kinds of baby products from their shelves over safety fears, the Chongqing Times said Wednesday.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 1,4-dioxane can form as a byproduct during manufacturing of some cosmetics. The suspected carcinogen is used as a solvent for paints, varnishes, cleaning and detergent preparations and as a solvent stabilizer and corrosion inhibitor.

The FDA said levels of the chemical that it has found in cosmetics it has monitored do not present a hazard to consumers.

Formaldehyde, a preservative commonly found in construction materials, can cause breathing problems and is classified as a carcinogen.

Johnson & Johnson issued a statement reassuring customers and accusing the activists’ report of unnecessarily alarming parents.

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