J&J to stop global sales of baby powder with talc next year


FILE – In this April 15, 2011 file photo, a bottle of Johnson’s baby powder is displayed in San Francisco. Johnson & Johnson is pulling its iconic, talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder from shelves worldwide next year in favor of a product based on cornstarch. The health care giant’s announcement Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, comes two years after it ended talc-based powder sales in the U.S. and Canada, where demand has dwindled amid thousands of lawsuits claiming it had caused cancer (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

(NewsNation) — Johnson & Johnson will end sales of baby powder containing talc worldwide next year, after doing the same in the U.S. and Canada amid thousands of lawsuits claiming it caused cancer.

The company, which maintains that the talc-based powder did not cause cancer, said the change will simplify its product selection and meet evolving global trends.

“Our position on the safety of our cosmetic talc remains unchanged,” Johnson & Johnson said, according to a statement in The Guardian. “We stand firmly behind decades of independent scientific analysis by medical experts around the world that confirm that talc-based Johnson’s baby powder is safe, does not contain asbestos, and does not cause cancer.”

J&J pulled the talc-based product in most of North America in 2020, as demand for it fell off after the company faced litigation alleging its talcum powder caused users to develop ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. This came after Johnson & Johnson recalled 33,000 bottles of baby powder when the Food and Drug Administration found traces of asbestos in the product, The Guardian reported.

Now, the New York Times reports, the talc used previously will be replaced by cornstarch.

“It’s kind of the no-brainer solution,” Alex Scranton, director of science and research at the environmental advocacy group Women’s Voices for the Earth, told the newspaper, adding that cornstarch is inexpensive, easy to obtain, and free from talc’s “toxic profile” and concerns about asbestos contamination.

Last October, Johnson & Johnson said a separate subsidiary it created to manage talc litigation claims, called LTL management, had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

At the time, the company said LTL Management established a $2 billion trust to pay claims the bankruptcy court determines that it owes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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