(CNN) – Johnson & Johnson will abandon a product it may be most identified with and which it has sold for over 100 years: baby powder.
The company said on its website Tuesday that it had reevaluated its products in light of the new coronavirus in March and stopped marketing hundreds of items in the United States and Canada. The objective was to prioritize their high-demand products and leave room for social distancing in their manufacturing and distribution facilities.
The company said it would permanently discontinue some 100 products, including Johnson’s Baby Powder baby powder. The decision will only affect US sales. USA and Canada. The company will continue to sell its products in other markets and said there has been a decrease in demand for the powder.
The company has a corn flour-based baby powder that will remain on the market.
Johnson & Johnson said they remain confident in the safety of the product, but there have been tens of thousands of lawsuits filed by women who have developed ovarian cancer after regular use of talc.
Cases are in various stages in courts across the country. A handful of talc companies have put warning labels on their products, but Johnson & Johnson argued that such a label would be confusing, as it continues to defend their product.
Some scientific studies have shown that women have an increased risk of ovarian cancer with the use of talc in the genital area, but others do not.
Most studies suggest that more research is needed.
A separate set of claims links the product to mesothelioma. Scientists in those trials stated that they found asbestos in samples of the product. The company argued that its product was asbestos free. Talc is often mined near asbestos, but since the 1970s, the talc used in all consumer products has been required to be free of asbestos.
The company said stores can continue to sell their existing inventory until it runs out.