Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has confirmed it will withdraw its talc-based baby powders worldwide by 2023. The products will be replaced by formulations based on cornstarch, which are already sold in many countries worldwide.

Johnson's baby powder

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Thousands of lawsuits claim that asbestos in talc-based powders caused claimants’ cancers

The firm is facing thousands of lawsuits in the US, from consumers who claim that asbestos in the talc-based powders caused their cancers. While the company vigorously defends the safety of its products, and categorically denies that they contain asbestos, J&J had sought to resolve the mounting litigation by hiving off its liabilities to a new subsidiary, which would then be declared bankrupt.

While a US judge initially allowed the manoeuvre to proceed, its validity has since been challenged in the court of appeal and will be revisited.