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Johnson & Johnson To Split Into Two Publicly Traded Companies

Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty

After being sued by cancer patients who claimed that its baby powder contained asbestos—Johnson & Johnson stopped using talc in 2020. Now, the company will switch to cornstarch in its baby powder by 2023. 

More than 40,000 lawsuits were filed against the company over the past few years with plaintiffs alleging they were sickened with ovarian cancer or mesothelioma. Further, they allege that the company continued to use talc even knowing the health risks. 

“It’s kind of the no-brainer solution,” Alex Scranton, director of science and research at the environmental advocacy group Women’s Voices for the Earth told The New York Times of the discontinuation. 

Nearly 200 organizations participated in a campaign led by Black Women for Wellness to pressure the company to remove talc-based products from shelves globally. 

“We took on a giant corporation, and we fought and we won,” Janette Robinson Flint of Black Women Wellness, said. “When they said they took it off the market in North America, they didn’t really take it off the market — they just changed the market. They took it out of high-end stores but kept it at 99-cent stores.”

Johnson & Johnson shareholders had voted against removing the products. However, the company had been faced with billions in litigation related expenses as well as damage to their reputation. 

The company has attempted to limit its legal exposure by partitioning assets—a court will decide if the company can move forward with the maneuver next month. 

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