One of America’s oldest companies will stop selling one of its most iconic products.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
“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.”
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?
by Jenna Lee,