Johnson & Johnson to discontinue talc-based baby powder in Canada and U.S.

TORONTO — Johnson & Johnson has decided to permanently discontinue its talc-based baby powder in Canada and the U.S. and is blaming “misinformation” about the product for the decision.

In a news release issued Tuesday, Johnson & Johnson said its consumer health department began prioritizing high-demand items during the COVID-19 pandemic and is now choosing to permanently discontinue several of the items it stopped manufacturing, including the talc-based baby powder.

The company said the baby powder represents 0.5 per cent of its consumer health division in the U.S. and sales had 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 wrote in the release.

“Johnson & Johnson remains steadfastly confident in the safety of talc-based Johnson’s baby powder,” the news release continues. “Decades of scientific studies by medical experts around the world support the safety of our product. We will continue to vigorously defend the product, its safety, and the unfounded allegations against it and the company in the courtroom.”

Johnson & Johnson has faced thousands of lawsuits surrounding its talcum powders from women who claim asbestos in the powder gave them cancer. Talc is a mineral similar to asbestos and the two can sometimes be found in the same mines.

In January, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association did not find a strong link between the powder and women’s cancer.

The company said its cornstarch-based baby powder will be its only offering in North America, while other countries will still have access to the talc-based product.

With files from The Associated Press

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