J&J to end global sales of talc-based baby powder

STORY: Johnson & Johnson is discontinuing its controversial talc-based baby powder globally in 2023, after years of battling consumer lawsuits over alleged carcinogens in the product.

In a statement, J&J said Thursday it would transition to a cornstarch-based baby powder which is already sold in several countries around the world.

J&J already stopped selling its talc baby powder in the U.S. and Canada back in 2020, saying demand had fallen in the wake of what it called "misinformation" about the product's safety amid a string of legal challenges.

The company faces some 38,000 lawsuits from consumers claiming its talc products were contaminated with asbestos and caused cancer.

J&J denies the allegations and reiterated that on Thursday, saying decades of scientific testing and regulatory approvals have shown its talc to be safe and asbestos-free.

Evidence of asbestos contamination was confirmed in a 2018 Reuters investigation which found that J&J knew for decades that the carcinogen was present in its products, according to internal company records, trial testimony and other evidence.

In response to media reports of contamination evidence, J&J has repeatedly said in court and Congress that its talc products are safe and do not cause cancer.

The company has attempted to alleviate legal troubles by creating a subsidiary unit and immediately seeking bankruptcy protection, putting a hold on pending lawsuits.

Those suing have said Johnson & Johnson should have to defend itself against the lawsuits, while defendants of J&J and the bankrupt subsidiary process say it is an equitable way to compensate claimants.