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Johnson & Johnson will stop selling its talc-based baby powder, a one time household staple that in recent years become a source of controversy as numerous users alleged the product caused cancer. 

The company said Tuesday that it would discontinue sales of its talc based Johnson’s Baby Powder in the U.S. and Canada, along with roughly 100 other items that it stopped shipping in March to focus on products with a higher priority during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Demand for talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in North America has been declining due in large part to changes in consumer habits and fueled by misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising,” the company said in a statement.

Corn-based baby powder however will still be available in North America, and it, along with its talc-based counterpart will continue to be sold globally, Johnson & Johnson said.

Thousands of lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. by women who said that asbestos in talcum powders led to their being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson was a particular focus of such claims, and several juries granted multimillion-dollar verdicts on behalf of plaintiffs. However, those decisions were later overturned or appealed.

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“Johnson & Johnson remains steadfastly confident in the safety of talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder,” the company said. “Decades of scientific studies by medical experts around the world support the safety of our product.”

The largest study of the issue to date, released in January, said no strong connection was found between baby powder and the disease. But the American Cancer Society countered in a statement at the time that the study’s results were not definitive, and  previous inquiries had come up with more mixed findings.

Follow Charisse Jones on Twitter @charissejones

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