‘Discontinued globally’: Johnson & Johnson announces major changes to popular product

Aug 15, 2022
Johnson & Johnson to change major ingredient in popular product. Source: getty

Popular consumer goods company Johnson & Johnson has announced a major change to one of their most favoured but controversial products, baby powder.

By 2023, the company will have “discontinued” their talc-based baby powder range, making a global transition to cornstarch-based baby powder.

The change is due to a “worldwide portfolio assessment” and came after damaging reports the talc-based product allegedly contained traces of asbestos with fears rising that its use allegedly caused cancer.

“As part of a worldwide portfolio assessment, we have made the commercial decision to transition to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement.

“As a result of this transition, talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder will be discontinued globally in 2023.

“We continuously evaluate and optimize our portfolio to best position the business for long-term growth. This transition will help simplify our product offerings, deliver sustainable innovation, and meet the needs of our consumers, customers and evolving global trends.

“Cornstarch-based Johnson’s Baby Powder is already sold in countries around the world. Johnson’s is a flagship global brand of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health and we remain fully committed to ensuring Johnson’s products are loved by parents and families for years to come.”

The company reiterated the safety of talc in their baby powder, claiming their decision to use the substance was backed by “independent scientific analysis”.

“Our position on the safety of our cosmetic talc remains unchanged,” the statement continued.

“We stand firmly behind the decades of independent scientific analysis by medical experts around the world that confirms talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder is safe, does not contain asbestos, and does not cause cancer.”

The change comes as the brand saw a decline in sales following 38,000 lawsuits from consumers who have accused Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder of causing cancer due to contamination of the harmful carcinogenic.

The damaging claims saw the company pull out of sales in the US and Canada two years ago.

“Demand for talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in North America has been declining due in large part to changes in consumer habits and fuelled by misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising,” the company said in a statement.

Johnson & Johnson recalled tens of thousands of bottles in 2019 after “low traces” of asbestos were found by federal regulators.

Despite remaining steadfast that their talc-based product is safe, a 2018 investigation by Reuters found that the company had known for decades that some of their talc-based products were being occasionally contaminated by the harmful substance.

The brand has been the face of family-friendly products since 1894, with many families opting to use the baby powder product on their children.


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