Nonprofits Call for a Global Ban on Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder

Call for Global Ban on Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder

Many organizations are calling for a global ban of Johnson & Johnson baby powder. In May 2020, the company announced it would stop selling its talc product in the United States and Canada. However, sales continue in other areas of the world. The talc powder has previously tested positive for the carcinogen asbestos.

More Than 170 Organizations Want Johnson & Johnson off Shelves

More than 170 organizations came together to remove Johnson & Johnson baby powder everywhere. These organizations came from 51 different countries, representing the following fields:

  • Environmental health and justice
  • Women’s health
  • Conservation
  • Human rights and consumer rights
  • Public health
  • Educational and municipal institutions
  • Health providers
  • Labor unions

These groups are unified in their desire to protect environmental and public health.

Why Are They Speaking Out Against Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder Sales?

Talc-based baby powder from Johnson & Johnson tested positive for asbestos. The company decided to stop selling new product in the United States and North America. Its plan was to let the remaining stock sell out. Johnson & Johnson planned to continue selling its talc-based baby powder in other countries.

What Are the Dangers of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder?

Talcum powder is commonly contaminated with asbestos. This is because the two minerals occur naturally near one another.

Asbestos can cause mesothelioma, ovarian cancer and other illnesses. Many women have filed claims against Johnson & Johnson after developing cancer. They attribute their diagnoses to talc powder use. 

Asbestos in cosmetics is problematic as many women use cosmetics on a daily basis. No amount of asbestos exposure is safe. However, studies note long-term exposure is more likely to cause cancer.

Ami Zota, ScD, MS also spoke out. Zota is the associate professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at the George Washington University Milken School of Public Health. Zota shared the following points:

  • Talc-based products should be removed globally.
  • It is near impossible to ensure talc products don’t contain asbestos.
  • Women of color are “disproportionately” dying from ovarian cancer.

Asbestos Disease and Awareness Organization Calls for Action

The Asbestos Disease and Awareness Organization (ADAO) was part of the group calling for a stop in Johnson & Johnson talc baby powder sales. The ADAO is dedicated to protecting individuals from the dangers of asbestos exposure.

The ADAO noted more than 200,000 people die every year from asbestos illnesses. Even so, the mineral is not fully banned in the United States.

Linda Reinstein said Johnson & Johnson should stop talcum powder sales in other countries. She also feels they should immediately recall and dispose of all product in North America.

-Linda Reinstein is the President, CEO and Co-Founder of ADAO. She is also a mesothelioma widow.

Black Women for Wellness Speaking Out

The nonprofit group Black Women for Wellness (BWW) spoke about the dangers of asbestos to international women. According to Executive Director Janette Robinson, BWW has seen many Black women and their families suffer from reproductive and breast cancers.

Johnson & Johnson’s CEO recently spoke out about the company’s support for racial justice and equity. Robinson stated their marketing to African American and Latinx women contradicts this support.

“Marketing of African American and Latinx women with continued sales of those same products containing toxic chemicals in international markets with majority Black & Brown women contradicts what they have said and calls into question the sincerity of their statements.”

–Janette Robinson Flint, Executive Director of Black Women for Wellness

Johnson & Johnson’s Response

Johnson & Johnson continues to deny claims that its products contain asbestos. When it announced product sales would stop in the U.S. and Canada, the company said it was because of a drop in sales.

Johnson & Johnson said the decline in sales is due to “misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising.”

In the same statement, Johnson & Johnson stated their plans to:

  • Sell the remaining talc-based product in the U.S. and Canada, until the supply runs out
  • Continue selling cornstarch-based baby powder in North America
  • Sell both talc-based and cornstarch-based baby powder in other countries

Johnson & Johnson has not immediately responded to recent calls for action.