After years of push back from Johnson & Johnson claiming it's baby powder products are completely safe, J&J has recalled over 33,000 bottles. The recall came after the Food and Drug Administration found unsafe levels of asbestos, a carcinogen, in some bottles.
For years, Johnson & Johnson has defended the purity of baby powder products in lawsuits filed by women throughout the country. The women have alleged that J&J's talc baby powder contained asbestos and fibrous talcum which has caused their ovarian and mesothelioma cancer. The individuals perusing the lawsuit are suing on the grounds that Johnson & Johnson did not warn of the increased risk of developing cancer despite being aware of them for decades, and even going as far as to cover up the evidence. Often times, these diagnoses are fatal and despite numerous extremely high jury verdicts in favor of the plaintiffs, J&J has stood by their product. They have appealed every trial decision and there have been no publicly reported settlements, instead they have vigorously fought individuals who have been harmed by their corporate misconduct.
The tests run by the FDA show trace levels of asbestos in the 22-ounce bottles from lot number 22318RB. Johnson & Johnson responded with the recall, saying they are “taking an overabundance of caution” and they also advise any individuals with baby powder from lot number 22318RB to discontinue use immediately. Although Johnson & Johnson has issued this recall after significant pressure from the FDA and public, they continue to defend their product stating that they will “determine the integrity of the tested sample and the validity of the test results”
The FDA spokeswomen, Gloria Sánchez-Contreras, responded to the accusation stating “The F.D.A. stands by the quality of its testing and results.”
Until this point, Johnson & Johnson has never recalled any of its baby powder products. They have remained on the shelves as many individuals unassumingly continue the use of a product that has caused illness in so many others. Baby powder is classified as a cosmetic product. It has no therapeutic or medical benefit whatsoever. Personal care and cosmetic products do not have to be tested by the FDA before they go to market. They are only tested, very occasionally, after public concern has been raised. Previous FDA tests of J&J baby powder from earlier this year and one from ten years ago did not find asbestos. However, there is no safe level of asbestos. Health risk increase with more frequent use but evidence suggests any amount of exposure can be harmful. Many companies that carry baby powder, such as Rite Aid, Walgreens and CVS have taken all baby powder bottles off its shelves. Other carriers like Walmart, have chosen to only remove certain lot number bottles of the 22-ounce powder. Other companies have begun to sell and market cornstarch-based alternatives which are said to have the same feeling as talcum powder without the increased risk for disease.
Although baby powder itself makes up a smaller portion of J&J sales, the threat to the company's reputation is significant. Many consumers are saying enough is enough to the corporation profiting at the expense of their safety. Johnson & Johnson has found themselves in a very unfavorable light as many ongoing litigations have fallen in the plaintiff's favor recently. Time and time again J&J continued corporate misconduct has harmed the consumer. Other litigations Johnson & Johnson are responsible for include; Risperdal, Pelvic Transvaginal Mesh, Pinnacle Acetabular Cup, Xarelto, Marketing for Opioids and many more. Johnson& Johnson has had complete disregard for the wellbeing of the consumer, selling these harmful products where oftentimes, internal documents confirm that they were aware of the risks but ignored it and hid the knowledge from the public. Their goal was and continues to be, only to deepen their pockets, even at the expense of the consumer's health.