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Johnson & Johnson to Discontinue its Talc Baby Powder Across North America

May 22nd, 2020

Amid a multitude of legal challenges, Johnson & Johnson will no longer be selling its talc Baby Powder in the United States or Canada. The corporate giant attributes its decision to a large decrease in demand for the product due to what it calls “misinformation” about its safety.

With more than 19,000 lawsuits filed, consumers and their survivors argue that the company’s talc products caused cancer due to being contaminated by the carcinogen, asbestos.

Asbestos Contamination

Asbestos is known to cause cancer after decades of exposure. Although it’s been a part of the company’s product line since 1984, today it makes up only 0.5 percent of its total U.S. consumer health business.

The allegations were further fueled by a 2018 investigative report conducted by Reuters, which found evidence that the company was aware of the asbestos-contamination for decades.

A combination of evidence, including that from trial testimony and internal company records, confirms that from at least 1971 until the early 2000s, J&J’s raw talc and talc powders tested positive for traces of asbestos.

As a result of the Reuters article, stockholders rushed to sell their stock, consequentially diminishing J&J’s market value by approximately $40 billion within a single day.

Investigations into Safety

The multinational company has also faced an investigation by 41 states as to its sales numbers, and yet another investigation by a Congressional subcommittee, of the health risks of asbestos as it’s associated with these products.

Despite this scrutiny, J&J remains adamant that its products are in fact safe and do not cause cancer. It holds that its decision to stop the sale of talc baby powder across North America has nothing to do with any of these investigations or allegations. Instead, the company says it decided that the manufacturing limits that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic made it a good time to wind the product down.

Other Legal Troubles

Unfortunately for the company, lawsuits surrounding its talc baby powder are not the only headache J&J faces. It has been named as a co-defendant in more than 2,900 lawsuits relating to claims that the company inappropriately promoted addictive opioids. (In August the corporation was ordered to pay $572.1 million to the state of Oklahoma for its part in the deceptive marketing of painkillers. J&J is appealing the ruling.)

The company will continue to sell its cornstarch-based baby powder in North America and will also continue to sell its talc baby powder in other markets.

Henson Fuerst is Here for You

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer after regularly using J&J’s talc baby powder, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Henson Fuerst today to speak with a leading North Carolina talcum powder lawsuit attorney. At Henson Fuerst, we fight for what serves you best. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call us at 919-781-1107 today!