End of an era: Johnson & Johnson to stop selling Baby Powder in US

By Becky Bargh | Published: 20-May-2020

The personal care giant has faced thousands of lawsuits in recent years claiming its Baby Powder contains cancer-causing asbestos

Personal care giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has said it will stop selling its talc-based Baby Powder in the US and Canada.

J&J’s Baby Powder has been an iconic symbol for the brand since its introduction in the US in 1894.

However, in recent years the company has faced thousands of lawsuits from consumers claiming its talc products contained cancer-causing asbestos.

In 2018, a St Louis court ordered J&J to pay out more than US$4bn to 22 women who accused the brand’s Baby Powder of causing their ovarian cancer, which the company is now appealing.

Earlier this year, a New Jersey jury found toxic chemicals in J&J’s Baby Powder were substantial in causing four complainants to develop mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer, and was fined $750m.

J&J has always vehemently denied its talc-based products contained asbestos, and pushed back at the FDA US regulator for the validity of its tests on the firm’s talc products.

In a statement to Cosmetics Business the firm said demand for its Baby Powder product had been declining in the region due to "changes in consumer habits and fueled by misinformation around the safety of the product".

J&J also said and it has faced a “constant barrage of litigation advertising”.

“We remain steadfastly confident in the safety of talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder. Decades of independent scientific studies by medical experts around the world support the safety of our product,” it added.

J&J has not said if any other markets will be affected.

The announcement comes days after J&J’s key talc supplier Imerys put its North American mines up for sale in order to pay the influx of lawsuits relating to cancer-causing asbestos in its talc.

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