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J&J Says Will Stop Selling Its Talc-Based Baby Powder In US And Canada

J&J Says Will Stop Selling Its Talc-Based Baby Powder In US And Canada
Following orders from courts in the United States to pay up billions of dollars in lost legal battles over charges that the talcum-based baby powder contains ingredients that cause cancer, Johnson & Johnson said that it will stop selling the baby powder in the US and Canada.
This was announced by the company on Tuesday even while it alleged that any form of cancer is caused by the use of the powder.
"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.
However in separate investigations conducted in December 2018 by Reuters and The New York Times had revealed that the company had been worried for decades about the presence of small amounts of asbestos in the baby powder that it sells and markets.
"From at least 1971 to the early 2000s, the company's raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos, and that company executives, mine managers, scientists, doctors and lawyers fretted over the problem and how to address it while failing to disclose it to regulators or the public," Reuters reported.
Asbestos can occur naturally underground near talc. This metal turns dangerous when it breaks down and gets attached to the lodges in the lung tissue in the human body with the possibility of causing lung cancer – known as asbestosis and mesothelioma.
Over the last two years, such reports have been termed as being "false and inflammatory" by the company’s executives and corporate leaders and in Tuesday’s announcement, the company once again emphasized its denials of the allegations made against it b=in the reports about the presence of cancer causing asbestos in its baby powder.
"Decades of scientific studies by medical experts around the world support the safety of our product. We will continue to vigorously defend the product, its safety, and the unfounded allegations against it and the Company in the courtroom. All verdicts against the Company that have been through the appeals process have been overturned," the company said. 
A jury of a St. Louis court ordered J&J to pay a fine of $4.7 billion to 22 women and their families in 2018. The plaintiffs had alleged that prolonged use of the powder had resulted in them developing ovarian cancer. The company as again ordered to pay $29 million to a woman in California last year who claimed that the baby powder from J&J resulted in her becoming infected with mesothelioma.
Those decisions are being contested by the company. 
More than 16,000 talc-related lawsuits across the US is being faced by the company. 
The range of J&J’s household medicine cabinet brands is no longer the company’s primary money makers. "Fully half of its revenue now comes from pharmaceuticals, used to treat everything from depression to blood clots," NPR's Scott Horsley reported.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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