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Johnson & Johnson Plans to Stop Selling Talc-Based Baby Powder

By Brian Orelli, PhD – May 20, 2020 at 2:07PM

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Sales have dropped due to cancer concerns.

On Tuesday, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ 0.33%) announced plans to discontinue sales of talc-based Johnson's Baby Powder as part of a larger reorganization of products sold by the healthcare conglomerate.

The discontinuation of talc-based Johnson's Baby Powder in North America was due to declining sales of the talc-based products as customers worried about the potential to get cancer from the products.

Johnson & Johnson is facing multiple lawsuits over the potential for talcum powder to cause cancer, potentially due to contamination with asbestos. But the company claims that the discontinuation of sales of the product is solely due to declining sales and it "remains steadfastly confident in the safety of talc-based Johnson's Baby Powder." The company has lost quite a few lawsuits, although it's had many of the verdicts reduced or nullified on appeal.

Hands changing a baby's diaper

Image source: Getty Images.

Adding fuel to the fire, in October, Johnson & Johnson recalled a single lot of Johnson's Baby Powder because the Food and Drug Administration had found "sub-trace levels" (no more than 0.00002%) of asbestos contamination in a bottle of the product. Later the company said its test found no sign of asbestos, contrary to what the FDA had found.

Johnson & Johnson plans to sell the current inventory until supplies run out. The company will continue to sell cornstarch-based Johnson's Baby Powder in North America and plans to sell both talc-based and cornstarch-based products in other parts of the world where it claims "there is significantly higher consumer demand for the product."

Brian Orelli has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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