This is why Johnson & Johnson will stop selling its baby powder

In recent years, the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson has been in the eye of the storm over lawsuits against its popular baby powder.

Last update: August 19, 2022

Pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) announced that will suspend the worldwide sale of its famous baby talcum powder from 2023. The decision was made two years after ending sales of this product in the United States and Canada, after receiving multiple lawsuits over suspicions about its safety.

Through a brief statement, the company reported that it made the “commercial decision” to replace its talcum powder products with corn starch. Still, it withdrew its position on the safety of its cosmetic talc, arguing that scientific analysis has shown that it does not contain asbestos and does not cause cancer.

Why is Johnson & Johnson suspending the sale of its talcum powder?

As reported in a publication of the British newspaper Guardianthe pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has been facing thousands of lawsuits for years women who have developed ovarian cancer after using their talc products on a regular basis.

And while their stance on product safety remains firm, they did say in a brief note that they intend to “transition” their talc-based powders to cornstarch. They point to purely commercial reasons, but the announcement puts them back in the eye of the hurricane, especially among those who point out that the company was aware of the harmful effects of the product.

“We continually evaluate and optimize our portfolio to better position the business for long-term growth.” “This transition will help simplify our product offerings, deliver sustainable innovation, and meet the needs of our consumers, customers, and evolving global trends.”.

— the company noted in the statement.

Johnson & Johnson has been mired in controversy over the possible link between its talcum powder and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

J&J ensures that there is nothing to fear

Despite the multiple lawsuits, and the penalties it has had to face for this issue, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is based on the idea that its talcum powder – including the famous Johnson’s Baby Powder— are safe for consumers.

“Our position on the safety of our cosmetic talc remains unchanged.” “We strongly support decades of independent scientific analysis by medical experts around the world confirming that Johnson’s talc-based baby powder is safe, contains no asbestos, and does not cause cancer.”

— he pointed out.

Johnson & Johnson and the controversial lawsuits against its talcum powder

For several years now, Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder has been in the midst of controversy over its possible relationship with the appearance of ovarian cancer. In 2017, a court in Los Angeles, California (United States), sentenced the company to pay 417 million dollars to a 63-year-old woman who developed ovarian cancer for applying baby powder to her intimate area for several years. years.

According to the jury’s argument, the company did not adequately warn about the potential risks of the product and its relationship with this disease. Furthermore, he noted that J & J had been aware of these dangers for several years.

Following this, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found small amounts of asbestos in J&J talcum powder, forcing the company to recall a batch of more than 33,000 bottles of the product from the market .

In 2020 —and in the midst of thousands and thousands of lawsuits— the company decided to discontinue sales of talcum powder in North America, given the drop in sales that it had as a consequence of what they described as “misinformation”.

To this day they continue to face legal challenges in the quest to defend the safety of their products.

The use of talcum powder in the intimate area is associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

What does the science say about talcum powder and ovarian cancer?

Scientific opinions on the use of talcum powder and its relationship to ovarian cancer are divided. While some doubt the involvement of this product in the development of the disease, others warn that there are potential risks and enough evidence to suspect the link.

A review shared in 2021 at New Solutions points out that there has been a widespread misconception for many years that cosmetic talc has been free of asbestos — the carcinogenic compound — since 1976. But experts warn that “no detectable asbestos” is not the same as “no asbestos.”

They suggest, among other things, that the industry has been responsible for influencing the spread of this false belief. Therefore, they point to investigators must maintain their efforts to prove with evidence the damage they can cause to human and environmental health.

For its part, a publication in National Center for Health Research states that studies involving women who use talcum powder link the use of this product with a 30% increased chance of developing ovarian cancer compared to those who do not use it.

And although he points out that there are still doubts to be resolved, he concludes that scientific evidence has shown a consistent link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Thus, he suggests avoiding the risks.

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