Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has announced that it will stop selling talc powder (baby powder) in the global market in 2023.
The US pharmaceutical manufacturer made the announcement on Thursday. The company stopped selling the product in the US two years ago in the face of thousands of consumer lawsuits over unsafe use. News from Reuters.
The company said it has decided to phase out all baby powders containing cornstarch (an ingredient derived from corn) as part of a global demand assessment. They also said baby powder containing cornstarch has already been sold in various countries around the world.
Earlier in 2020, J&J announced that they would stop selling talcum baby powder in the US and Canada. According to the company, the decision was taken due to a drop in demand in the context of the spread of ‘misinformation’ due to a series of legal challenges regarding the safe use of the product.
The company is facing nearly 38,000 lawsuits from consumers and their relatives alleging that baby talcum powder made by Johnson & Johnson contains asbestos, which poses a cancer risk.
Substances known as carcinogens can cause cancer in living cells.
But J&J denies these allegations, saying decades of scientific testing and regulatory agency approvals have shown the company’s talc is safe and asbestos-free. The company reiterated the same statement on Thursday when it announced that it would no longer manufacture the product.
In October, subsidiary LTL Management was closed by J&J. talc-related claims attached to the company and immediately declared it bankrupt. As a result, the proceedings of the pending cases are stopped.
The company had to pay $3.5 billion in damages in lawsuits and settlements before filing for bankruptcy. According to related court documents, only 22 women had to pay more than $200 million in damages.
A 2018 Reuters investigation found that J&J knew its baby talc products contained asbestos, a known carcinogen that poses a cancer risk.
Internal company documents, court testimony and other evidence show that tests of J&J’s talc raw materials and ready-to-market powders from at least the 1970s to the early 2000s sometimes found trace amounts of asbestos.
Despite the media, courtrooms, and US Congress’ evidence of asbestos contamination, J&J has always maintained that its products are safe and non-carcinogenic.
Since 1894, Johnson’s Baby Powder has become a symbol of the company’s family-friendly image. Baby products were the company’s ‘number one’ asset, at the core of which was this baby powder. But when J&J announced it was pulling the product from the market, the company’s US consumer health business accounted for just 0.5 percent.