Johnson & Johnson will begin using cornstarch in all of its baby powder it sells around the world, moving away from the talcum powder that has put the popular product at the center of tens of thousands of customer lawsuits.
company North American sales halted Baby powder containing talc in 2020 next I remember some bottles in 2019, but it will halt product sales globally in 2023, it said Thursday. Johnson & Johnson said it already sells baby powder with cornstarch in countries around the world.
More than 40,000 lawsuits, many of women with ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, have accused Johnson & Johnson of selling talcum powder to children while recognizing its association with health risks, such as potential asbestos contamination.
The company said the decision to switch to cornstarch was part of an ongoing evaluation of its portfolio and would help streamline its product offerings and meet “evolving global trends.” She also emphasized her position on the safety of baby powder: “We stand firmly behind decades of independent scientific analysis by medical experts around the world that confirm Johnson’s talc-based baby powder is safe, contains no asbestos and does not cause cancer.”
Johnson & Johnson has sold baby powder from cornstarch for decades, and developed a version of the product in 1980 after consumer advocates raised concerns that talc contained traces of asbestos, a carcinogen. The company did not immediately respond to questions about how much talcum powder is left on the market.
“It’s kind of a nonsensical solution,” said Alex Scranton, director of science and research for the environmental advocacy group Women’s Voices for Earth. She noted that cornstarch is inexpensive, easy to obtain, and free of the “toxic features” of talc and concerns about asbestos contamination.
Women Voices for the Earth was one of about 200 organizations that took part in a campaign, led by Black Women for Wellness, to pressure Johnson & Johnson to remove talc-based products from shelves around the world.
Janet Robinson Flint, executive director of Black Women for Wellness, said she’s celebrating the news.
“We took a giant company, we fought and we won,” she said. “When they said they took it off the market in North America, they didn’t really take it off the market — they just changed the market. They took it off the high end stores but they kept it in the 99 cent stores.”
In April, Johnson & Johnson shareholders voted against suggestion To stop selling baby talcum powder in global markets such as Asia and South America – a demand fueled by concern about the company’s legal and reputational problems. Last year, the company faced $1.6 billion in talc-related litigation expenses and appropriated $3.9 billion the year before. Reputation trackers said the once-pure Johnson & Johnson name had been tarnished among consumers due to accusations about talc.
Talc-based products account for a small portion of Johnson & Johnson’s sales of consumer products, which also include first aid pads and Listerine mouthwash, but are responsible for a significant portion of the legal problems. In one case of talc, Johnson & Johnson was asked to pay 4.69 billion dollars to 22 plaintiffs in one of the largest personal injury rulings ever.
The company has attempted to limit its legal exposure with a sophisticated turnover of companies known as Texas Two-Step. In February, a New Jersey bankruptcy judge cleared the company to move forward with the gambit, which gets its name from a Foxtrot-inspired dance style and derives its complex structure from a whim in Texas business law.
The process of reorganization, which involves separating assets and locking them away from creditors, has only been tried a few times since it was conceived in 1989, mostly by companies facing asbestos exposure claims. If successful, it could protect Johnson & Johnson from billions of dollars in legal claims while showing an escape route for other companies mired in personal injury lawsuits.
The maneuver put Johnson & Johnson’s talc lawsuits in the doldrums It could leave claimants, some of whom are seriously ill, with less money to pay. Lawyers for the plaintiffs filed an appeal to try to stop the maneuver and said the next hearing was scheduled for September.
“After decades of selling talc-based products, the company realized that it could cause fatal cancers to unsuspecting women and men, J. & J. He finally did the right thing,” one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys told me O’Dell.
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