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May 19, 2020

Reps. Pressley & Schakowsky Statement on Johnson & Johnson Decision to Discontinue Talc-Based Johnson’s Baby Powder in U.S. And Canada

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Vice Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, released a statement after Johnson & Johnson announced they would permanently discontinue talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in the U.S. and Canada after facing thousands of lawsuits from patients who developed cancer after use. 

“During a global pandemic, we are glad that consumers now have at least one less health threat to worry about. Johnson & Johnson should have made this decision long ago, and we are concerned that it has only come after plummeting sales of their carcinogenic, talc-based baby powder amid thousands of lawsuits,” said Representatives Schakowsky and Pressley. “However, we applaud this long-awaited first step and will continue working to pass legislation that will ban the sale of any talc-based product in the United States.” 

In December 2019, Schakowsky and Pressley sent a letter to Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky seeking information on the targeted marketing and sale of the company’s talc-based baby powder and its potential to cause harm, particularly to women, teenage girls, and people of color, due to asbestos contamination. Mr. Gorsky has refused all invitations to testify before Congress as Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers about the inhalation hazard and risk of cancer posed by their talc-based products.

On September 12, 2019, Congresswoman Schakowsky introduced the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2019 (H.R. 4296) with Congresswoman Pressley as one of several original cosponsors. Though it establishes a robust regulatory framework to ensure the safety of cosmetics and personal care products, this bill and other proposed federal cosmetic safety legislation is currently under consideration by Congress.

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