J&J says it's ending talc-based baby powder sales in US, Canada

Johnson & Johnson is ending sales of its talc-based baby powder — which has been the subject of thousands of lawsuits claiming it causes cancer — in the U.S. and Canada, the company said May 19. 

About 16,800 people have sued J&J in state and federal courts alleging the talc-based powders caused either ovarian cancer or mesothelioma and that J&J didn't warn consumers of the risk.

Last October, J&J recalled 33,000 bottles of baby powder after an FDA test found small traces of asbestos, a carcinogen, in the product. The company later said follow-up tests found no sign of asbestos. 

J&J said the decision to end sales in the U.S. and Canada came after it decided in March to stop shipping hundreds of items to the U.S. and Canada so it could prioritize products with higher demand and allow for social distancing in its facilities. 

The company said the baby powder made up half a percent of its total consumer health business in the U.S. and that demand had fallen for it as concerns rose about its safety. 

J&J said it will wind down the commercialization of the baby powder in the coming months and that existing inventory will be sold until it runs out. 

The company said it still stands by the safety of the baby powder and that it "will continue to vigorously defend the product, its safety, and the unfounded allegations against it and the company in the courtroom." 

Cornstarch-based baby powder will still be available in the U.S. and Canada. 

Read the full news release here.

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