Johnson & Johnson (J&J) on Tuesday announced that it is ending sales of its iconic its talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in the United States and Canada, saying it was part of a broad reassessment of its consumer product portfolio prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.
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. J&J will still sell its less popular cornstarch-based baby power in North America.
J&J faces about 19,400 lawsuits from consumers claiming its talc products, including Johnson’s Baby Powder, caused their cancer. J&J has consistently defended the safety of its talc products and spokeswoman Kimberly Montagnino said the company doesn’t plan to settle any of the lawsuits and “will continue to vigorously defend” the product.
The lawsuits allege that the company’s talc products have been contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen.
J&J in October said its testing found no asbestos in its Baby Powder after tests conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration discovered trace amounts.
“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.