Johnson & Johnson has announced it will stop selling talc-based baby powder globally in 2023, more than two years after it ended US sales due to thousands of consumer safety lawsuits.
“As part of a worldwide portfolio assessment, we have made the commercial decision to transition to an all corn starch-based baby powder portfolio,” it said, adding that corn starch-based baby powder is already sold in countries around the world.
In 2020, J&J announced that it would stop selling its talc Baby Powder in the United States and Canada because demand had fallen in the wake of what it called “misinformation” about the product’s safety amid a barrage of legal challenges.
The company faces about 38,000 lawsuits from consumers and their survivors claiming its talc products caused cancer due to contamination with asbestos, a known carcinogen.
J&J denies the allegations, saying decades of scientific testing and regulatory approvals have shown its talc to be safeand asbestos-free.
On Thursday, it reiterated the statement as it announced the discontinuation of the product.
Sold since 1894, Johnson’s Baby Powder became a symbol of the company’s family-friendly image.
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But talcum powder has fallen out of favour with parents who are now choosing products which contain other natural ingredients to use on their babies’ skin.
In October, J&J spun off subsidiary LTL Management, assigned its talc claims to it and immediately placed it into bankruptcy, pausing the pending lawsuits.
Before the bankruptcy filing, the company faced costs from $3.5bn (£2.87bn) in verdicts and settlements, including one in which 22 women were awarded a judgment of more than $2bn (£1.64bn), according to bankruptcy court records.
A shareholder proposal calling for an end to global sales of the talc baby powder failed in April.
A 2018 Reuters investigation found that J&J knew for decades that asbestos, a carcinogen, was present in its talc products.
Internal company records, trial testimony and other evidence showed that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s, J&J’s raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos.
In response to evidence of asbestos contamination presented in media reports, in the court room and on Capitol Hill, J&J has repeatedly said its talc products are safe, and do not cause cancer.
Source : Sky News