Johnson & Johnson to stop selling talc-based baby powder in US, Canada

Daniel Fowler
May 20, 2020

The talc is then crushed into a white powder and purified for use in personal care products to absorb moisture.

"Demand for talc-based Johnson's Baby Powder in North America has been declining due in large part to changes in consumer habits and fueled by misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising", the company said.

Stores around the country and in Canada will continue to sell whatever remaining inventory of baby powder remains on their shelves, the company said.

"Johnson & Johnson remains steadfastly confident in the safety of talc-based Johnson's baby powder", the news release continues. The world's biggest maker of health care products said Tuesday, May 19, 2020 that the discontinuation only affects the US and Canada, where demand has been declining.

Johnson & Johnson continues to deny the allegations.

Talcum powder is made of finely ground talc, a mineral which forms underground as a clay-like rock.

Talc, the softest of minerals, is mined from deposits around the world, which can be contaminated with asbestos.

Asbestos can occur naturally underground near talc.

Concerns have also been raised about the health impacts of talc itself.

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About eight out of 10 people with mesothelioma - a type of lung cancer -have been exposed to asbestos.

"Americans should be able to trust they are safe from asbestos".

If swallowed, these fibers can reach the abdominal lining, where they can cause mesothelioma.

Numerous lawsuits allege Baby Powder caused plaintiffs' mesothelioma, an incurable cancer of the lining of the lungs and other organs commonly caused by asbestos. Several juries have decided against Johnson & Johnson, in one case awarding $4.7 billion to 22 women including Kim in 2018. Asbestos was first linked to ovarian cancer in 1958.

However, some smaller studies have found a small link and the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies genital use of talc as "possibly carcinogenic".

In October, Johnson & Johnson recalled 33,000 bottles of baby powder after the Food and Drug Administration said it discovered evidence of chrysotile asbestos in a bottle purchased from an online retailer.

US Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, who led the Congressional inquiry, described J&J's decision to stop selling talc baby powder as "a major victory for public health", adding: "My Subcommittee's 14-month investigation revealed that Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that its product contains asbestos".

In April, a New Jersey judge ruled that thousands of plaintiffs who allege that J&J's talc products caused cancer can go forward with their claims, but face limits on what expert testimony will be allowed in trials.

Johnson & Johnson will halt all sales of its talc-based baby powder in North America, after years of lawsuits claiming the product causes cancer - but, undeterred, the firm says it won't stop selling it to the rest of the world.

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