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Johnson & Johnson to stop sale of talcum baby powder globally

Talc-based Johnson's Baby Powder will be discontinued globally in 2023, as Johnson & Johnson transitions its baby powder portfolio to cornstarch.
Source: , Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Source: Austin Kirk, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The company said the "commercial decision" to transition to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio is part of a "worldwide portfolio assessment" by its consumer health division.

Legal battles

The move follows continued legal battles for the health conglomerate, with thousands of consumer safety lawsuits alleging that the company's talc-based products have caused certain cancers in users and accusing J&J of not disclosing cancer risks.

According to a Reuters report, J&J faces around 38,000 lawsuits from consumers and their survivors claiming its talc products caused cancer due to contamination with asbestos, a known carcinogen.

J&J has always maintained that the product is safe. Johnson's talc-based powders were discontinued in the US and Canada in May 2020 already, a move that J&J described at the time as another "commercial decision".

According to CNN Business, a handful of talcum powder companies have put warning labels on their products, but J&J has argued that such a label would be confusing, because it stood by its product.

"Our position on the safety of our cosmetic talc remains unchanged. We stand firmly behind the decades of independent scientific analysis by medical experts around the world that confirms talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder is safe, does not contain asbestos, and does not cause cancer," J&J reiterated in the Johnson's Baby Powder announcement late last week.

Flagship global brand

The company added, "We continuously evaluate and optimise our portfolio to best position the business for long-term growth. This transition will help simplify our product offerings, deliver sustainable innovation, and meet the needs of our consumers, customers and evolving global trends.

"Cornstarch-based Johnson’s Baby Powder is already sold in countries around the world. Johnson’s is a flagship global brand of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health and we remain fully committed to ensuring Johnson’s products are loved by parents and families for years to come."

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