In 2019, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) announced that company will no longer produce or sell its baby powder containing talc in any market.
More than two years after the healthcare giant stopped selling the product in the US, the announcement has finally been made.
Tens of thousands of women have filed lawsuits against J&J, claiming that their talcum powder contained asbestos and was the direct cause of their ovarian cancer.
However, the manufacturer insisted once again that decades of outside studies prove the product is risk-free.
“As part of a global portfolio assessment, we have made the commercial decision to transition to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio,” the company said.
The company noted that baby powder made with cornstarch is already available in many countries.
J&J also stated, “Our position on the safety of our cosmetic talc remains unchanged,” emphasizing that the company stands by the safety of its baby powder.
According to Johnson’s, “We fully support 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 has announced that it will stop selling its talc baby powder in the United States and Canada in 2020 due to declining demand caused by what it calls “misinformation” about the product’s safety in the wake of several lawsuits.
The company had previously stated that it would maintain global distribution of its talc-based baby powder.
Consumers and their families are suing J&J over allegations that the company’s talc products contain asbestos and caused cancer.
Talc is extracted from the ground and can be found in seams adjacent to asbestos, a carcinogenic material.
In 2018, Reuters published an investigation claiming that J&J had known for decades that asbestos was present in its talc products.
Internal company records, trial testimony, and other evidence, according to Reuters, show that J&J’s raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos from at least 1971 to the early 2000s.
The company has denied the allegations of asbestos contamination in numerous court cases, media reports, and meetings with US lawmakers.
During the month of October, J&J established LTL Management as a wholly-owned subsidiary and transferred all talc claims to that company. At a later date, it filed for bankruptcy protection, putting an end to the litigation.
Costs from $3.5bn (£2.87bn) in verdicts and settlements, including one in which 22 women were awarded a judgement of more than $2bn, contributed to the company’s decision to file for bankruptcy.
An April shareholder proposal to halt the international distribution of talc baby powder was rejected.
Johnson’s Baby Powder has been on the market for nearly 130 years, and in that time it has come to represent the company’s commitment to family values.
Baby powder has multiple purposes: it can be used as a dry shampoo and to prevent nappy rash.