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(Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson announced plans to eliminate several harmful chemicals like formaldehyde from its line of consumer products meant for adults by the end of 2015, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
The latest move comes after the company said in November it was phasing out formaldehyde-releasing preservatives from its baby products. The diversified healthcare company is extending the program to include well-known drugstore brands like Neutrogena, Aveeno and Clean & Clear, the paper said.
"We've never really seen a major personal care product company take the kind of move that they're taking with this," said Kenneth Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, one of the organizations that has been negotiating with company officials to change their practices, the paper said.
J&J previously said it had been reducing the use of formaldehyde-releasing preservatives from its baby products since 2009 when the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics first raised concerns with the company about its baby shampoo.
Formaldehyde is considered to be a possible trigger for some cancers and skin allergies.
Susan Nettesheim, vice president for product stewardship and toxicology for the company's consumer health brands, said the project was a major undertaking and would require extensive spending on research and development to find alternatives, the Times said.
The cost of the project was not revealed by the company, the paper said.
J&J officials could not be reached by Reuters for comment.
Reporting by Juhi Arora in Bangalore; Editing by Matt Driskill