Well known consumer goods company, Johnson & Johnson announced on Tuesday, May 19th, 2020 that they are officially discontinuing their talc based baby powder products from the United States and Canada markets. For several years Johnson & Johnson has been through many legal battles concerning their baby powder products. These come from many people claiming the talc-based product has caused them to develop cancer.
J&J Voluntarily Recalls Talc Baby Powder
Johnson & Johnson issued their official statement announcing the voluntary recall of their baby powder on their website. They state they are discontinuing the product because their sales have been declining since there have been many lawsuits filed against them for their use of talc in their product. In their statement, they continue to “vigorously defend” that their product is safe and does not cause cancer or illness. They label it as “misinformation” and “a constant barrage of litigation advertising”.
Why is Talc Allegedly Dangerous?
Talcum powder is a natural mineral that many companies use for products like cosmetics, deodorants, and baby powders. Talcum is popular with these types of products because it absorbs moisture and prevents chaffing. But over the years, many organizations have studied talc to test if it is harmful to humans and possibly carcinogenic. Furthermore, in one study scientists have found traces of asbestos in talc samples. Then on October 18th, 2019 Johnson & Johnson issued a voluntary recall of their baby powder product after the FDA sampled it and tested it sample positive for asbestos.
The J&J Talc Lawsuit
There have been many claims that talc has caused the development of ovarian cancer, mesothelioma, and other cancers and injuries. There are thousands of people who have filed against Johnson & Johnson (J&J). J&J has have appealed over $4 billion in talcum powder verdicts. On April 27, 2020, New Jersey District Court Judge Freda L. Wolfson ruled that a majority of the plaintiffs’ experts in the Talc MDL met the stringent scientific requirements of the Daubert standard. Johnson & Johnson continues to defend their talc based products and continues to claim that it is “safe and asbestos free”.
What happens now?
The product is not recalled by the FDA, it is a voluntary recall by J&J, allegedly due to a decline in sales. With a voluntary recall, the manufacturer does not have to accept the returns of the product. In this case J&J does not have to accept any returns of unsold baby powder. J&J states that their existing inventory will be sold until it is gone in the United States and Canada. However, their talc-based baby powder will continue to be sold in markets around the world in other countries.