JOHNSON & Johnson is to stop making and selling talc-based baby powder around the world from next year.

The announcement comes two years after the pharmaceutical giant stopped selling the baby product in the US. 

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has found itself facing a raft of lawsuits in recent years by mothers claiming their talcum powder causes cancer.

British ovarian cancer charity Ovacome has previously voiced concerns surrounding the use of talcum powder around the genital area.

It said the powder could increase the risk of ovarian cancer, although there is no consistent evidence.

Despite this, J&J have continue to insist their talc is safe, and there is no risk of asbestos or cancer.

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In a statement J&J said: "We stand firmly behind the decades of independent scientific analysis by medical experts around the world that confirms talc-based JOHNSON’S® Baby Powder is safe.

"It does not contain asbestos, and does not cause cancer," it said.

J&J said it had  "made the commercial decision to transition to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio".

It added that cornstarch-based baby powder was already sold in countries worldwide.

A 2018 Reuters investigation claimed that J&J knew for decades that asbestos — a carcinogen — was present in its talc products.

Internal company records, trial testimony and other evidence tended to show that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s, J&J's raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos.

What is talcum powder made of?

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Talcum powder is made from talc, which is a clay mineral composed of silicon, magnesium, and oxygen.

People have taken advantage of its soft and absorbent properties since the time of the ancient Egyptians.

In talc’s most natural form, it contains asbestos, which is known to cause cancer in the lungs when inhaled, but all talcum products in the US have been asbestos-free since the 1970s.

Now talc is used for a variety of reasons: as a baby powder, in chewing gum and candy, and even in olive oil.

What is baby powder used for?

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Baby powder is used to help absorb moisture on the skin and to prevent odors when it's used as deodorant, and can be used to prevent friction and to protect against rashes.

It can also be used as a cleaning agent and as shampoo.

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