issue 134

From Issue 134, January/February 2012


Boycott success over formaldehyde in baby shampoo

In November, Johnson & Johnson released a statement saying it will reformulate all of its baby products worldwide to remove a formaldehyde-releasing preservative. This move occurred in response to a report and boycott call from the US Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC) over the company’s use of harmful chemicals in its baby shampoo. The CSC research discovered that, two years after health and parents’ groups asked Johnson & Johnson to reformulate its flagship baby shampoo to remove quaternium-15 (a chemical that releases formaldehyde, a Known carcinogen), the company was still using the ingredient in the United States, Canada and China, while making formaldehyde-free versions of the shampoo in several other countries.

The commitment to remove chemicals of concern does not apply to Johnson & Johnson’s adult products such as those in the Aveeno or Neutrogena lines.“We applaud the leadership of Johnson & Johnson for publicly committing to globally reformulate their baby products to remove formaldehyde,” said Janet Nudelman, program director of the Breast Cancer Fund. “Other major baby brands must now follow the lead of Johnson & Johnson and remove carcinogens from their products too.”

“We look forward to the day when all Johnson & Johnson products are free of carcinogens and other chemicals of concern.” Parents can also use the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database to find baby products that do not contain chemicals of concern:  

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a coalition of 150 non-profit organisations campaigning to remove toxic chemicals from cosmetics. It is asking supporters to send a letter to Johnson & Johnson to thank them for this big step and to ask them to extend the safety commitment to all of their personal care products – including those for adults.

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They weren’t banking on Molly Katchpole

In October, Molly Katchpole took on and defeated Bank of America over a proposed new $5 debit card fee.  The campaigner took out all her money ($400) and cut up her cards in an defiance and set up a number of online forums to spread the word. On October 6th, just days after launching her campaign, there were 150,000 signatures on her e.petition. A month on and Katchpole had gathered 300,000 signatures. These were duly delivered to her local branch and the bank agreed to stop the charge for all its customers.

Katchpole told the guardian “If my experience this past month tells us anything, it’s this: David can still conquer Goliath. Regular people can take on the most powerful of institutions. With enough determination, we can, against all odds, make a difference.”

“We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern with our proposed debit usage fee,” David Darnell, BofA’s co-chief operating officer, said in a statement. “As a result, we are not currently charging the fee and will not be moving forward with any additional plans to do so.”

Four other banks Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, SunTrust and Regions Financial said they too will follow suit and abandon plans to charge customers for using their debit cards. But Katchpole hasn’t gone back to Bank of America. She wrote in the Guardian “Despite this huge victory, there’s no
way I’m ever going back to Bank of America, or any of the other big banks. The debit card fees were a tipping point for me, though I know that these fees aren’t the worst of the banks’ transgressions. Big banks are still behind the merciless wave of foreclosures rocking the country and providing virtually no help to struggling home-owners... I’m not giving my money to support those companies, and I encourage everyone who’s tired of big banks taking advantage of their consumers to move their money to a credit union or community bank.”


US reality show boycott

Kim Kardashian’s US TV shows have been the target of a mass online boycott campaign. She is an American socialite, television personality, model, actress and businesswoman who is known for the reality series that she shares with her family – Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

A petition, which gained 125,000 signatures on-line in just 5 days, called for people and advertisers to boycott the show and for the network to take it off air. Cyndy Snyder organized the ‘No More Kardashian’ petition via the website She told the New York Post “ “We feel these shows are mostly staged and place an emphasis on vanity, greed, promiscuity, vulgarity and over-the-top conspicuous consumption. While some may have begun watching the spectacle as mindless entertainment or as a sort of ‘reality satire,’ it is a sad truth that many young people are looking up to this family.”

A Boycott Kim website – – was spun off from the petition, asking people to boycott all Kardashian’s endorsed products and commercial ventures.








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