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J&J Doing Damage Control Following Reuters Report On Asbestos ‘Lurking’ In Johnson’s Powder

Executive Summary

J&J shares are down nearly 12% since Reuters reported Dec. 14 that the firm has known for decades about toxic asbestos in its Johnson’s Baby Powder talc. The news outlet’s probe turned up nothing that hasn’t been raised by plaintiff attorneys, but throws the central issues of contention into high relief for its global audience.

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NGOs To J&J: End Johnson’s Baby Powder Globally, Or Is Your Black Lives Support A PR Stunt?

J&J’s targeted marketing of talcum powder products to women of color verges on “corporate brutality,” Black Women for Wellness and more than 200 allied organizations suggest in recent letters to J&J leadership. The firm affirmed its commitment to equality and racial justice in June, but BWW wants J&J to “walk the talk.”

FDA To Hold Public Meeting In February on Cosmetic Talc-Asbestos Test Methods

Recommendations from an FDA-led interagency work group regarding methods for detecting and measuring asbestos in talc and talc-containing cosmetics will be presented at the agency’s planned public meeting in Silver Spring, MD, on 4 February. The recommendations are summarized in the FDA's meeting notice, which follows contentious cosmetic product recalls based on asbestos findings.

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The agency issued a safety alert March 5 advising consumers to avoid three makeup products sold – at least previously – in Claire’s stores, which cater to girls and young women. The situation throws into relief the limitations of the current regulatory framework for cosmetics, which FDA is committed to modernizing while exploring steps to improve oversight using existing tools.

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