April 11, 2019 4:57:50 am
THE NATIONAL Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has summoned senior state government officials from five states on April 15 to depose on the safety issues regarding use of Johnson & Johnson baby care products.
The apex child rights body has called for officials from the departments of Women and Child Development and Health in these states to testify on their findings on the composition of the samples, including the presence of asbestos and formaldehyde and any other such carcinogenic substances in Johnson & Johnson talcum powder, shampoo, and other products.
In May 2016, the NCPCR had written to chief secretaries of five representative states in five zones of the country — East (Jharkhand), West (Rajasthan), Central (Madhya Pradesh), South (Andhra Pradesh), and Northeast (Assam). These states were asked to collect samples of the products manufactured by Johnson & Johnson in presence of an official from the state child rights commission. They were then required to forward it to a National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories-accredited government laboratory for testing.
NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said even after three years, there has been no compliance from any of the states. “We chose one state from each zone so as to include as many samples as possible since manufacturing units usually supply region-wise. We have summoned them before the Commission as there has been no action taken by any of the governments despite repeated reminders from us. When these sub-standard products have been banned by the US court, why is it been palmed off to the Indian market. All children have equal rights and the international standards should apply to Indian children too,” he said.
Of the five states, only MP has replied so far stating that it has sent Johnson & Johnson baby powder and shampoo samples along with samples of other two products to a NABTCL accredited drug inspection laboratory but there has been no follow-up report on the findings.
On April 2, 2019, the NCPCR received a private complaint stating that objectionable contents have been found in the shampoo samples tested by the Rajasthan government. The NCPCR has said that summons have been issued “in view of new complaint and non-communication of States on this serious issue”.
Last month, Johnson & Johnson, had come under the scanner after the Rajasthan drugs control organisation red flagged two batches of the company’s baby shampoo for failing quality tests.
According to the Rajasthan drug regulator’s alert, the samples tested “contain harmful ingredients”.
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