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One of America’s oldest companies will stop selling one of its most iconic products.

WHY?

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WHAT TO KNOW

  • Johnson & Johnson (J&J) will stop selling its talc-based baby powder in the US and Canada.
  • Thousands of lawsuits challenging its safety have led to mixed outcomes. J&J currently faces approx. 19,400 lawsuits over the product.
  • J&J has lost more lawsuits than it won, but the appealed losses have been reduced, overturned or are working their way through the system.
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Talc-Based Baby Powder

  • Talc is a naturally-occurring mineral.
  • Asbestos, also a naturally-occurring mineral, is often found near & can contaminate talc mining sites.
  • Crushed talc is in many personal care products, like makeup, deodorant, and one formula of Johnson’s Baby Powder.
  • Concerns about talc & asbestos cross-contamination began in the 1930s.
  • Questions about links between talc and ovarian cancer date back to the 1960s.
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Is Talc Dangerous?

  • A World Health Org. agency: talc containing asbestos is “carcinogenic” (potential to cause cancer) when inhaled.
  • American Cancer Society: studies have been mixed, but notes “some suggestion of a possible increase in ovarian cancer risk.”
  • FDA: no studies have proven a conclusive link between talc and ovarian cancer.
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“Demand for talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in North America has been declining due in large part to changes in consumer habits and fueled by misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising.”

J&J in a statement, noting it remains "remains steadfastly confident" in the safety of its product, citing "decades of scientific studies by medical experts around the world."
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“Today’s victory means that children and families no longer will be endangered by this baby powder.”

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), the Chair of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, led a 14-month investigation into the health risks of asbestos in talc-containing products & said J&J "knew for decades that its product contains asbestos, and the company fought to keep using a testing method that never would have allowed it to be detected."
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Not Just The Powder: Johnson & Johnson says it decided to cut 100 products, including talc-based baby powder, after assessing its product line in light of COVID-19. J&J will continue to sell its cornstarch-based powder, but will keep the talc-based product on market shelves until it is sold out. Will you continue using it?

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