Johnson and Johnson is the world’s highest-paid drug company and largest healthcare company and remains one of the top Big Pharma lists of powerful corporations.
For many years, Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder was a product all new mothers used on their babies. That was until late 2019.
After a press release from the US. Food and Drug Administration last year, Johnson and Johnson recalled 33,000 bottles of their baby powder. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found small amounts of asbestos in a sample bottle. The sample in question is lot #22318rb drawn from a single bottle of Johnson’s baby powder. The company questions the validity of the test results.
After the FDA found a sample of chrysotile fibers, a type of asbestos in Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder, Johnson and Johnson voluntarily recalled its baby powder.
In May 2019, the company then announced it would stop selling talc-based baby powder in Canada and the United States. This move led major retailers such as Walmart, CVS, and online stores also pulling talc-based products from their shelves.
Asbestos Found in Talcum Powder
Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and exposure to asbestos causes cancer and other diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.
Asbestos is the leading ingredient in baby powder, putting babies and their caregivers at risk. Asbestos is known to cause cancer, and although banned in the United States, it’s possible to come in contact with the substance due to the way talcum powder is mined.
Talcum powder, commonly known as talc, is a natural clay mineral mined from the earth. Talc is used in baby powder because of its natural ability to absorb moisture, which helps to prevent diaper rash.
While asbestos in talc is commonly understood, the controversy lies in its use of cosmetic talc as the basis for the production of Johnson’s baby powder.
Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Powder
Johnson and Johnson first released Johnson’s baby powder in 1893 after discovering it could prevent diaper rash. They said talc was great for controlling moisture and odor in the genital area and began marketing it to women. Until recently, Johnson and Johnson was the world’s largest supplier of baby powder, a product many mothers used on their babies.
Reuters reported in October 2019 that Johnson and Johnson have known for years that trace amounts of asbestos lurked in its talc.
Johnson and Johnson were well aware of asbestos in their baby powder going back as far as 1957 when traces of asbestos fibers were found in sample talcs. Asbestos was also found in talc from Vermont Mines in the mid-1960s. Vermont mines was a subsidiary company owned by Johnson and Johnson.
Studies continued to find trace amounts of asbestos in their talcum powder through the 2000s when it began to source talc from China.
Instead of reporting all its own findings, the company went on to only submit select studies to the FDA, emphasizing their talcum powder contained no asbestos.
Food and Drug Administration & Talcum Powder
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the federal agency tasked with protecting public health by ensuring products like Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder is safe for use.
Johnson and Johnson denied the allegation their baby powder contained traces of asbestos and said the FDA’s contracted laboratory deviated from standard practice with its testing protocols. Johnson and Johnson question the integrity of the tested sample; they believe cross-contamination happened during the testing process.
The FDA stands by its findings at the same time, acknowledging that there are no industry-wide standards for the testing of asbestos in talc. They also acknowledged that they use a range of independent laboratories, and testing procedures may vary from lab to lab.
Talc Linked to Ovarian Cancer
Baby powder, also called talcum powder or talc, is commonly used by millions of women globally. What many people don’t know is that Ovarian Cancer can be caused by talc-based products. The leading cause of death from cancer of the female reproductive system is Ovarian Cancer.
Thousands of claims have been filed against Johnson and Johnson for failing to reveal the potential link between their Shower to Shower or Johnson’s Baby Powder to ovarian cancer.
Talcum powder made from the natural mineral talc causes inflammation, and it is difficult for the body to remove these tiny particles. The particles become stuck in the body, and over time they build up with the regular use of products containing talc. These tiny particles find their way through the reproductive system of women and become embedded in their ovaries. Once there, it allows cancer cells to grow and spread.
Talc Linked to Mesothelioma
In 2018 Johnson and Johnson lost two lawsuits that cost them $117 million and $29.4 million, respectively after a man convinced the judge his asbestos-related cancer was linked to Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder. The next day a woman with mesothelioma and her husband won their lawsuit after she claimed her cancer stemmed from using Johnson and Johnson’s talcum powder in the 1960s and 1970s. Naturally, Johnson and Johnson are appealing these verdicts.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer known to be caused by the accidental inhalation of microscopic asbestos fibers. Baby powder is typically applied by shaking talc powder on the body, which allows the particles to become airborne. When asbestos particles become airborne, inhalation occurs simply by unknowingly breathing in these harmful particles.
Talc in Cosmetics
Global health authorities are also concerned about the use of talc in cosmetic products. You will find cosmetic products that contain talc include some brands of dry shampoo, blush, eye shadow, foundation, and face powder carried by major retailers. Although cosmetic talc in makeup has not been linked to cancer, it can cause other major health problems.
This begs the question, are other consumer talc products safe? While exercising an abundance of caution, the final effects of talc-based products are unknown.
Seeking Justice for Talcum Powder
The New York Times reported that Johnson and Johnson spent years insisting that their bottles of baby powder were safe and asbestos-free. The company stated in a press release that it employees a “rigorous testing standard” to ensure the safety of baby powder.
However, the recall was prompted by the FD.A.’s discovery of trace levels of chrysotile asbestos in a bottle of baby powder bought from an online retailer. The regulators then put out a press release containing their findings found trace amounts of asbestos in the sample bottles of baby powder.
As of May 2020, Johnson and Johnson are facing more than 17,000 federal lawsuits and numerous State lawsuits alleging that the company failed to warn the public that Johnston’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower talc-based products can cause ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.
It is hard to imagine that a well-known product like Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder can affect your health and cause asbestosis and other forms of cancer. The reality is that asbestos is contained in the talc mining process.
The families of those working in the talc mines were most at risk as they may have accidentally been exposed to asbestos from particles getting trapped in the worker’s clothes or on the tools they worked with.
Babies, their mothers, siblings, and caregivers were also at risk of asbestos exposure from using contaminated baby powder.