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NCPCR summons five states over safety of Johnson & Johnson baby care products

NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has summoned officials from five states – Rajashtan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam and Andhra Pradesh over no response to repeated letters on status of sample tests sought to settle the safety concerns raised regarding use of Johnson & Johnson baby care products – talcum powder and shampoo.

The NCPCR in its notice points that a new complaint has been received on April 2 stating that the shampoo samples tested by the Rajasthan Government have found objectionable contents.

The complainant has quoted a media report. “In view of new complaint and non communication of states on this serious issue (to previous letters to states), NCPCR has decided to summon the concerned authorities to appear before the Commission on April 15.

The Commission earlier took suo motu cognizance of newspaper reports regarding safety issues in using baby care products manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. These cases highlighted the safety issues related to the presence of asbestos and carcinogen formaldehyde-carcinogenic substance in the talcum powder and shampoo, respectively.

NCPCR then wrote to the chief secretaries of the selected five states from each zone to collect samples and forward the same to a NABL accredited government laboratory to give the composition of the sample including the presence of asbestos /formaldehyde.

NCPCR chief Priyank Kanoongo shared that a letter was sent on May 17, 2016 and then a follow-up letters have been written. Now they have been summoned to explain the delay and give a status report.

TOI had

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on April 1 that Johnson & Johnson’s baby shampoo has come under the regulatory lens with samples of the product collected in Rajasthan showing presence of “harmful ingredients” that may cause cancer. The Centre has put the product under scrutiny based on the Rajasthan state drug controller’s report, official sources said. The company maintained that the shampoo was safe and in compliance with regulatory standards.

Rejecting the findings of the Rajasthan state drug regulator about presence of harmful ingredients in baby shampoo, J&J then said that it had confirmed to the authorities that it did not “add formaldehyde as an ingredient in our shampoo nor does Johnson’s baby shampoo contain any ingredient that can release formaldehyde over time”.

Rajasthan had ordered withdrawal of two batches of ‘No More Tears’ baby shampoo which were found to be “not of standard quality” and contaminated with formaldehyde.

TOI had reviewed the letter, which was sent to drug regulators in other states as well, asking them to take shampoo bottles from the contaminated batches off the shelves immediately.