Johnson & Johnson, an American multinational corporation known worldwide for its personal and child-specific cosmetic products, he says farewell to the use of talc in powdered products for children. The decision for the moment will only concern the North American market and comes after the company has suffered over the years numerous processes because of the supposed presence of asbestos (commonly known as asbestos) in the “Baby Powder” talc, one of the most used J&J cosmetics in the world. Of course, asbestos, a known carcinogenic substance, is not included in the cosmetic ingredients under accusation; According to experts, asbestos contamination can occur when the talc is extracted, making it impossible to remove the carcinogenic substance later.
This choice comes after more than a century during which the multinational has promoted the “Baby Powder” as your flagship product, pure and delicate powder especially for children. The company has declared in recent days that the stop to talc-containing products will only concern new productions, while retailers will be allowed to dispose of talc-based stocks; in the new formulation, the talc will be replaced with corn starch.
The multinational website explains how the company re-evaluated the request and the consequent distribution of its products in the light of the new Coronavirus last March, stopping producing and shipping hundreds of items whose demand was decreasing destined for the United States market and of Canada. The aim would have been to give priority to the most requested products, while promoting social distancing in its production and distribution structures. Following this action, the company has now decided to permanently stop the distribution of around 100 products in these areas, including talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder. On this point, the company says:
“The demand for Johnson’s baby powder based on talc in North America is decreasing mainly due to the changes in consumer habits, fueled by misinformation about product safety and a constant barrage of contentious advertisingto. Johnson & Johnson remains firmly confident in the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder based on talc. Decades of scientific studies conducted by medical experts around the world support the safety of our product. We will continue to strongly defend the product, its safety and the unfounded accusations against him and against the Company in the courtroom “.
Johnson & Johson accused: hidden information?
Over the decades, the multinational has been the subject of numerous accusations precisely because of the alleged danger of the contaminated talc contained within its cosmetics; among these, the one brought in 2018 by 22 women with ovarian cancer, whose onset was attributed precisely to the asbestos contained in the J&J talc. The society was sentenced to a maximum compensation of 4.7 billion dollars, but even more serious allegations emerged during the trial, if possible. The lawyer of the plaintiffs, on the basis of the known relationship between talc and asbestos in nature, could in fact state that the company knew that its talc products have contained asbestos since the 1970s and that has hidden the information to the public, defending the image of their product. The multinational, of course, denied any responsibility, but this was not enough to lift her from the charges: she was sentenced to pay $ 25 million for each of the women as moral compensation as well as $ 4.14 billion for “punitive damages”.
Over the years J&J has been the subject of dozens of processes always because of talc, and among the most striking are:
- Case Joanne Anderson, 66 years old: the woman claimed to have developed mesothelioma after using talc for years. He got $ 25.7 million in compensation.
- Jacqueline Fox case, 62 years old: in 2016 she started the legal battle claiming that she had used those products for her intimate hygiene for 35 years before she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. She got $ 72 million in compensation.
- India 2013: the Food and Drug Administration of Maharashtra has withdrawn the license to the multinational for the production of potentially carcinogenic ethylene oxide for children inside the Mulund plant. Of this specific case, read the study: Forum Biodiction: Jhonson & Johnson: license withdrawn in India for carcinogenic talc
Is talc really carcinogenic?
It is therefore legitimate to ask whether the use of talcum powder can increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer; AIRC, (Italian Association for Cancer Research), declares the following:
- Most of scientific evidence does not correlate the use of talc and increased risk. A small increase in risk emerged in retrospective studies, in which the collected data were based on the memories of the people interviewed and therefore less reliable than in experimental studies.
- Overall, experts point out that even a possible one one third increase in risk – the maximum value observed by some studies – remains modest in absolute terms, because ovarian cancer is already infrequent in itself.
- However, for precautionary reasons experts advise avoid the use of talcum at the inguinal or genital level, but do not reveal risks related to skin contact for other parts of the body.
We invite readers to investigate this and other cosmetic topics on the BioDiction Forum, the most authoritative information tool in Italy on cosmetic and food labels.