Johnson and Johnson baby powder containing taic has been banned with immediate effect by the Ministry of Health and Child Care due to the ingredient’s propensity to cause cancer.
Health inspectors were instructed to destroy or return any Johnson & Johnson baby powder goods they found in local markets by Air Commodore Dr. Jasper Chimedza, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
This development follows news that Johnson and Johnson, an American multinational corporation, had assumed the responsibility of paying US$8.9 billion to the medical industry in compensation for claims that the company’s baby powder was contributing to cancer on April 18, 2023, according to Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC).
It also comes at a time when the company was facing over 40 000 lawsuits in the US alleging that baby powder contaminated with asbestos caused ovarian cancer or mesothelioma. But Johnson & Johnson did not attribute the switch to that controversy, calling it a “commercial decision” that “will help simplify our product offerings, deliver sustainable innovation, and meet the needs of our consumers, customers, and evolving global trends.”
“Corn starch based Johnson’s Baby Powder is already sold in countries around the world,” the company said in a statement announcing the change. “Our position on the safety of our cosmetic talc remains unchanged,” the statement continued.
“Research by the American Academy of Paediatrics unearthed that the taic used in the production of the baby powder was highly toxic due to contamination with carcinogen asbestos,” said Dr Chimedza in a directive published on May 24, 2023.
Dr Chimedza also said countries such as Tanzania, through its Tanzania Bureau of Standards had on April 19, 2023, also moved to ban the importation, distribution and sale of Johnson and Johnson baby powder containing the taic ingredient.
Permanent secretary noted that Johnson and Johnson baby powder is still popular in South Africa and given the “significant importation of health products by Zimbabwe” from the neighbouring country there was a possibility the product could find its way into the country.
“There is a high risk that contaminated baby powder could still be finding its way into the Zimbabwe market,” said Dr Chimedza