Johnson & Johnson is discontinuing North American sales of its talc-based baby powder. In late May 2020, the company announced that it would allow existing bottles to be sold by retailers until they ran out. Baby powder made with cornstarch will remain available, and the company will continue to sell talc-based baby powder in other parts of the world. The talc-based baby powder was sold for more than 100 years and is one of its most recognized products.
As of late March 2020, Johnson & Johnson faced approximately 19,400 lawsuits related to talc body powders. Previous news reports indicate that J&J knew for decades that its talc products contained small amounts of asbestos, a cancer-causing material. Many of the lawsuits currently being filed allege that J&J withheld information about the dangers posed by its talc products.
Asbestos can occur naturally underground near talc and has been proven to cause cancer. Since the 1970s, all talc-based products were required to undergo testing to make sure they were asbestos-free.
Johnson and Johnson continues to deny that their product is harmful but claims that decreasing demand of the talc-based product and increasing public scrutiny led to the decision to stop selling it in the United States and Canada.
In 2018, a St. Louis jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.7 billion to 22 women and their families who say the powder contributed to their ovarian cancer. Last year, a woman in California who says Johnson & Johnson baby powder caused her to develop mesothelioma was awarded $29 million.
Clark Perdue continues to investigate and pursue ovarian cancer risk cases on behalf of women who have regularly used asbestos-free talcum powder products.