Economy

J&J to stop selling talc-based baby powder in US, Canada

J&J to stop selling talc-based baby powder in US, Canada”

The existing inventory of the talc-based baby power will continue to be sold until it runs out in the US and Canada but its cornstarch-based baby power will still be available in North America, officials said.

In a news release issued Tuesday, Johnson & Johnson said its consumer health department began prioritizing high-demand items during the COVID-19 pandemic and is now choosing to permanently discontinue several of the items it stopped manufacturing, including the talc-based baby powder.

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday said it would stop selling its talcum-based Johnson's baby powder in the United States and Canada as part of a broad reassessment of its consumer product portfolio.

"Whether or not the powder actually causes cancer, people became hesitant to use the product", Erik Gordon, a professor at University of Michigan's business school, said in an email.

'Decades of scientific studies by medical experts around the world support the safety of our product, ' the statement read. When asbestos fibers are breathed in, they travel to the ends of small air passages and reach the membranes of the thorax and lungs.

J&J spokeswoman Kimberly Montagnino said the company doesn't plan to settle any of the lawsuits and "will continue to vigorously defend" the product.

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If swallowed, these fibers can reach the abdominal lining, where they can cause mesothelioma.

J&J has faced lawsuits accusing it of hiding the cancer risks tied to its talc-based version of baby powder since 2014. In some cases they have won and received million-dollar payouts from the company. The product is made from pure talc, a mineral which often appears in veins alongside asbestos in the earth.

J&J in December said its testing found no asbestos in its baby powder after tests conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration discovered trace amounts.

"From at least 1971 to the early 2000s, the company's raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos, and that company executives, mine managers, scientists, doctors and lawyers fretted over the problem and how to address it while failing to disclose it to regulators or the public", Reuters reported. The FDA's test prompted J&J to recall of one lot of Johnson's baby powder in October.

The New Jersey-based consumer giant said demand for its talc-based baby powder has been slipping of late, pinning the declines on "changing consumer habits" and "misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising".

In 2018, a St. Louis jury ordered J&J to pay $4.7 billion to 22 women and their families who say asbestos the powder contributed to their ovarian cancer.



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