Johnson & Johnson announced that they would stop selling its talc-based baby powder. This comes after years of controversy as numerous users alleged the product caused cancer.
The company said that it would discontinue sales of its talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in the U.S. and Canada, along with roughly 100 other items that it stopped shipping in March to focus on products with a higher priority during the coronavirus pandemic. Johnson & Johnson are facing around 19,400 cases alleging its talcum powder caused users to develop ovarian cancer, through use for feminine hygiene, and/or mesothelioma, cancer that strikes the lungs and other organs.
Of the cases that have been tried already, the company has had 12 wins, 15 losses, and seven mistrials. All of the losses have either been overturned on appeal or are still being appealed.
“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,” the company said in a statement.
Although they are now suspending the sale of the product in North America, the company will still sell its talc-based counterpart globally.
“Johnson & Johnson remains steadfastly confident in the safety of talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder,” the company said. “Decades of scientific studies by medical experts around the world support the safety of our product.”
The most extensive study of the issue to date, released in January, said no secure connection was found between baby powder and the disease. But the American Cancer Society countered in a statement at the time that the study’s results were not definitive, and previous inquiries had come up with more mixed findings.
Spokeswoman Kimberly Montagnino said the company doesn’t plan to settle any of the lawsuits and “will continue to vigorously defend” the product.
Johnson & Johnson added that the baby powder decision came as it moved to discontinue about 100 consumer health products. They said they aim to prioritize products in high demand during the coronavirus outbreak and allow for social distancing in its manufacturing and distribution facilities.