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Johnson & Johnson baby talc controversy: Why the company will stop its production after 125 years

Johnson & Johnson baby talc controversy: The move comes after thousands of lawsuits were filed against the company by several women who claimed that the talcum-based baby powder contained asbestos and many of them developed several health issues including ovarian cancer.

Nivedita Dash Edited By: Nivedita Dash New Delhi Updated on: August 12, 2022 18:44 IST
Johnson & Johnson controversy
Image Source : AP Johnson & Johnson talc

Johnson & Johnson said that it would discontinue its talc-based baby powder globally by next year. The health care products company discontinued its baby powder sales in the United States and Canada two years ago. The move comes after thousands of lawsuits were filed against the company by several women who claimed that the talcum-based baby powder contained asbestos and many of them developed several health issues including ovarian cancer. However, Johnson & Johnson has always claimed that its product is safe to use. 

Baby powder used since the 1970s

According to reports, Uterine cancer could occur due to the use of this powder. In 2019-20, many American women filed a case against the company, saying that they had cancer of the uterus due to the use of this powder. As the matter caught everyone's attention, the company also had to pay the damages. In fact, asbestos-free asbestos (talc) has been used in baby powder since the 1970s. Cancer can occur if an excessive amount of asbestos goes inside the body.

 

What is talc

Talc is a naturally occurring mineral. It contains magnesium, silicon, oxygen and hydrogen. Its chemical name is unhydrated magnesium silicate. Talc has long been used in baby products as this mineral keeps the skin dry and prevents rashes. However, there is always the possibility of getting asbestos in talc and hence scientists associate it with cancer. 

125-year-old baby talc

Johnson baby powder has been on sale since 1894. Being family-friendly and pocket-friendly, Johnson & Johnson's baby powder has been one of the most famous talcum powder products. It has been a part of every house for 128 years. Johnson Company has been in India for seven decades. In 1948, India formally started allowing sale of Johnson & Johnson products. Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives will also have to stop the sale of this famous J&J product. Now the company will replace talc based powder with corn starch based powder.

ALSO READ: Johnson & Johnson will stop manufacturing its talc-based baby powder from 2023. Here's why

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