On Tuesday, Johnson & Johnson announced that it would stop selling its talc-based Baby Powder in the United States and Canada, making the decision after a consumer products “portfolio reassessment related to COVID-19.”
J&J faces more than 16,000 lawsuits from consumers claiming its talc products, including Johnson’s Baby Powder, caused their cancer. The majority are pending before a U.S. district judge in New Jersey.
The U.S. healthcare conglomerate said it would wind down sales of the product, which makes up about 0.5% of its U.S. consumer health business, in the coming months, but that retailers will continue to sell existing inventory.
The lawsuits allege that the company’s talc products have been contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen. J&J said it ”remains steadfastly confident in the safety of talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder,” citing “decades of scientific studies.”
“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 said in a statement.
For those unaware, J&J said it will continue to sell the cornstarch-based baby powder in North America, and that it will sell both its talc- and cornstarch-based products in other markets around the world.