Principles for Safe Use of Chemicals in Products
Principles for Safe Use of Chemicals in Products


At Johnson & Johnson we aspire to improve health in everything we do and everywhere we go. For this reason product safety is our legacy and we have given it a lot of careful thought. We are committed to delivering products that are effective and safe for use. Our customers want and deserve products that have low to no toxicity, and that degrade into innocuous substances in the environment.

We adhere to a set of guiding principles that ensures safe use of chemicals in the formulation and manufacturing processes of our products. These principles guide all phases of our product development and they are supported by a continuous improvement product stewardship strategy. At Johnson & Johnson, product stewardship means recognizing and addressing the potential impacts of our products throughout their lifecycles, from design and development to the selection of the materials from which our products are made and the transportation of those materials, through production and packaging, and product use and disposal.

Johnson & Johnson Principles

Safety assessments are conducted on a chemical prior to use in a product by scientific experts, including medical doctors or toxicologists. The chemicals we use in our products are only as safe as the raw materials we use to make them. That is why we work only with suppliers that meet our rigorous standards.

We assess each ingredient in a product formulation alone and when combined with other ingredients used in the product. Our experts examine areas such as human health and environmental effects data, physical and chemical properties, scientifically valid data from external scientific authorities, and information reflecting latest advances in science and technology. In addition, our processes used to discover, research and manufacture a product undergo technical review by industrial hygiene and process safety experts.

Because science is constantly evolving, we monitor the findings of the latest research and update our products to respond to customer needs.

At Johnson & Johnson, we believe that human health is inextricably linked to a healthy environment. You can’t have healthy people without a healthy planet. This means that to create healthier societies, we must have an unwavering commitment to preserving our planet and the vital resources upon which we all rely, today and in the future.

Our Health for Humanity 2020 Goals build on our strong legacy of leadership in this area, beginning with our first goals set nearly 30 years ago. These goals will continue to drive environmental improvements by seeking and selecting more environmentally friendly solvents/chemicals, improving the efficiency of product manufacturing, and the use of less hazardous materials in products, processes and packaging.

Our EARTHWARDS® approach1 contains a suite of tools to enable our businesses to develop greener, more sustainable products. Externally, Johnson & Johnson partners with other businesses and environmental organizations to chart a path to safer chemicals by sharing best practices, addressing technical aspects of safer chemicals substitution, and analyzing and supporting public policies that advance the rapid development and diffusion of greener chemicals in the economy.

Guiding this journey to discover safer and more environmentally friendly products, we employ the following principles:

Principle 1: Understand and Communicate Product Chemistry

We understand the purpose of each chemical used and know its concentration in the finished product. With appropriate respect for confidential business information, we strive to increase the transparency of the chemical constituents in products to our stakeholders and along the value chain.

Principle 2: Thoroughly Assess Hazards and Act on Risks

We determine the risk profile and hazard characteristics of chemicals and materials used in our products. Where feasible, we will use those with inherently lower hazard potential, minimize exposure when hazards cannot be prevented, and redesign products and processes to minimize the use and/or generation of chemicals and materials of potential concern. We communicate potential hazards and risks to our employees and our supply chain customers to ensure the safe handling and use of chemicals and materials along the value chain.

Principle 3: Employ Safety Standards that Are Science-Based

We use the weight of credible scientific evidence as the basis to assess the chemical and material risks, and recognize the need to assess and manage risk to human health and the environment in the face of uncertainty.

Principle 4: Commit to Continuous Improvement

Our established corporate governance structures, policies and sustainability goals create a framework for the regular review of product and process chemistry, and promote the use of chemicals, processes, and products with well-characterized chemical safety profiles. We are also continually monitoring the chemicals used in our products to respond to customer preferences for other relevant information.

Principle 5: Support Public Policies and Industry Initiatives

We support public policies and industry initiatives that advance the implementation of the above principles, and ensure that comprehensive hazard and exposure data are available to assess the risks of chemicals on the market. In addition, we will take action to eliminate or reduce known risks and promote a greener economy, including support for green chemistry education, and research in the design of safer and more sustainable chemicals, processes, and products.

Principle 6: Educate Our Stakeholders and Suppliers About Our Position

We are committed to increasing our stakeholder and supplier awareness of hazard and risk, and the differences between them. We aim to help our stakeholders understand that using these principles in risk-based decision-making is the best way to deliver superior product quality.

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Last Updated: June 2017

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