Johnson & Johnson has announced that it will immediately discontinue the sale of its flagship baby powder product in North America.

The decision to withdraw sale of the product comes in the wake of a recent $117 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson, in which a jury found that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder was laced with asbestos and caused a New Jersey man’s mesothelioma.

The primary component of baby powder is talc, which is commonly known as ‘talcum powder’. While Johnson & Johnson continues to insist that its product is pure talc, plaintiffs have been able to produce evidence at trial that Johnson & Johnson knew that its baby powder product also contained asbestos powder.

In October 2019, Johnson & Johnson was forced to recall 33,000 bottles of baby powder after the American Food and Drug Administration found chrysotile asbestos in a bottle purchased from an online retailer.

As of late March 2020, Johnson & Johnson faces nearly 20,000 lawsuits related to talc body powders. Johnson & Johnson’s talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, has now filed for bankruptcy protection.

A landmark investigation by the Reuters news agency has now revealed documents from the Johnson & Johnson’s test lab which confirms that asbestos fibres were found in samples taken from its talc mines in 1984, 1985 and 1986. Johnson & Johnson had previously refused to disclose the test results.

Many of the cases against Johnson & Johnson are brought by women who have developed ovarian cancer after use of the product.

It is important to know that it has not been proven that any Johnson & Johnson product sold in Australia contained asbestos.

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