Johnson & Johnson quits talc-based baby powder in the U.S., Canada amid litigation lawsuits.


The company said the decision was made after falling sales and insisted that it maintain the safety of the product in light of claims that it causes cancer.

Johnson & Johnson will discontinue the use of talc in baby powder in the US and Canada after years of legal battle over allegations that the product may have caused cancer, the company announced Tuesday.

The company insisted that while pulling the product, it will “continue to vigorously defend its safety” based on decades of scientific research. Johnson & Johnson said the decision was based instead on declining interest rates, in part due to “misinformation.”

“Demand for talc-based Johnson’s baby powder in North America has declined, due in large part to changes in consumer habits and fueled by misinformation about product safety and a constant barrage of process advertising,” said the release.

Talcum powder health problems have filed thousands of U.S. lawsuits by women alleging that asbestos in the powder caused their cancers. Talc is a mineral similar in structure to asbestos, which is known to cause cancer, and they are sometimes obtained from the same mines.

In January, U.S. government-led research found no strong evidence linking baby powder to ovarian cancer. Smaller studies of a possible link between talcum powder and cancer have produced conflicting results, although most found no link.

In its statement, Johnson & Johnson pointed out that all court rulings that made such claims were overturned by appeal.

Talc-based powder will continue to be sold alongside the company’s cornflour-based product in global markets, where there is “significantly higher consumer demand”. The baby powder accounts for only about 0.5 percent of the company’s total U.S. consumer health business, according to the brand.

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