Johnson & Johnson has decided to cease worldwide sales of its talc-based baby powder – the subject of numerous lawsuits – and instead use cornstarch-based powder.
“In a worldwide portfolio assessment, we have converted our baby powder products to cornstarch ones,” the company said on Thursday. due to the change in standards, Johnson’s Baby Powder made with talc will be discontinued in 2023.
This news is important because, in 2020, J&J stopped selling baby powder, which contains talc, in the United States following lawsuits.
Over 40,000 lawsuits had been filed against the company over the baby powder, according to The New York Times. Many of the plaintiffs claimed that the talc was contaminated with asbestos and caused ovarian cancer and other conditions. In many cases, the company was forced to pay millions of dollars in damages.
Johnson & Johnson’s statement about its talc-based baby powder reads that it is safe.
“In terms of cosmetic talc safety, our position remains unchanged. We stand firmly behind the decades of scientific analysis by medical experts around the world that confirms the safety of our cosmetic talc,” the statement said.
The company noted that cornstarch-based powder is already available elsewhere in the world. J&J said the switch will allow the company to make things easier for themselves and their customers.
J&J’s decision was hailed by Janette Robinson Flint, executive director of Black Women for Wellness, one of the groups urging the company to stop selling the talc-based powder. According to Robinson Flint, J&J didn’t really take the product off the market when they said they did so in North America – they just changed the market. High-end stores sold it but bargain stores sold it for 99 cents.
“A giant corporation was faced by us, and we fought and won,” she said.