Zimbabwe bans imports of J&J baby powder on health concerns

HARARE: Zimbabwe has banned the import of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) baby powder with immediate effect, saying the talc used in the product is highly toxic.

Environmental health officers were advised to remove all J&J baby powder containing talc from the market.

Health Secretary Jasper Chimedza said this in a circular to the country’s medical directors seen by Bloomberg.

Chimedza said the products must be destroyed or “recalled” to the manufacturers.

The Health Ministry confirmed the details in the circular on Saturday.

Chimedza cited research published by the American Academy of Pediatrics indicating that talc used in the production of the baby powder could be “highly toxic.”

J&J has faced thousands of lawsuits over possible links between its baby powder and ailments in children.

J&J has repeatedly denied that its products caused cancer.

It has challenged claims that the talc it used was contaminated with asbestos, a toxic industrial substance.

The company has offered to pay US$8.9bil (RM40.7bil) as in order to resolve all current and future claims.

As Zimbabwe imports most its health products from South Africa, there is a risk that the contaminated baby powder could still find its way into the country, Chimedza said.Since its founding in 1886, J&J has grown to become the world’s largest, most diversified healthcare products company, with more than 150,000 employees across the globe working every day to help change the trajectory of health for humanity, the firm said in its website.

It reported another quarter of strong results across its business in the first quarter of 2023. — Bloomberg

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