Oversight Subcommittee’s Year-Long Investigation Leads to Johnson & Johnson Discontinuing Talc-based Baby Powder
Washington, D.C. (May 19, 2020)—Today, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, issued the following statement after Johnson & Johnson announced the discontinuation of talc-based baby powder in the United States and Canada:
“Today, in a major victory for public health, Johnson & Johnson’s asbestos-containing baby powder finally will be taken off store shelves. My Subcommittee’s 14-month investigation revealed that Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that its product contains asbestos, and the company fought to keep using a testing method that never would have allowed it to be detected. Today’s victory means that children and families no longer will be endangered by this baby powder.”
Timeline of Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Investigation:
- On March 12, 2019, the Subcommittee held its first hearing on the health risks of asbestos in talc-containing consumer products, focusing on Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder.
- On December 10, 2019, the Subcommittee held a hearing addressing the best methods for detecting asbestos in talc. The hearing remained focused on the significant presence of asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and the company’s insufficient testing methods to detect asbestos. The Subcommittee put forth recommended testing improvements for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to adopt.
- Within one month of the hearing, FDA announced that it would hold an open meeting on that topic, after having left it unaddressed for years. Through its Interagency Working Group, FDA included preliminary recommendations that mirrored all but one of the Subcommittee’s recommendations raised at the December hearing.
- On March 3, 2020, Chairman Krishnamoorthi sent a letter to FDA encouraging it to adopt the most stringent testing methods to detect carcinogenic asbestos in consumer talc-based products. FDA is still weighing that decision.