FILE PHOTO: Bottles of Johnson’s baby powder are displayed in a store in New York City, U.S., January 22, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
(Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday announced that it would stop selling 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 faces more than 16,000 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 said it remains confident in their safety.
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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.
Reporting by Carl O’Donnell; Editing by Dan Grebler and Bill Berkrot