Nigeria is the world’s 7th most populous country, with over 200 million residents. A Nigerian-based environmental, economic, social and cultural rights organization called Foundation for the Conservation of the Earth (FOCONE), is calling on the Nigerian federal government to remove all talc products in circulation in the country because they are health-threatening cosmetics, reports SunNewsOnline.com, a Nigerian news outlet.
Johnson & Johnson, the consumer products and pharmaceutical giant, is, arguably, the purveyor of the most famous talc product in history: J & J baby powder. Because of declining sales, and also perhaps because of the negative publicity of thousands of talc lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson in May of last year, announced it would stop selling its iconic J & J talcum baby powder. However, the company’s decision only applied to North America. The product is still available for purchase elsewhere throughout much of the world, raising the ire of dozens of organizations, who are calling for a global ban of the product.
Over 20,000 talcum powder lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson. Plaintiffs allege that long-term use of the powder in the genital area caused them to develop ovarian cancer. A majority of plaintiffs are minority women. Johnson & Johnson is accused of racist marketing practices, heavily advertising talc powder to African-American women.
In Nigeria, FOCONE called on the country’s equivalents of the Food & Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission, “to begin a nationwide campaign on the dangers associated with contaminated talc powder, and other talc products in order to save lives,” SunNewsOnline.com reports.
Talc contamination occurs because talcum is a mineral that is naturally found in the Earth, in close proximity to the mineral, asbestos, which is a known carcinogen. When talc is processed at a quarry, some asbestos particles may migrate into the crushed talcum.
FOCONE regrets that while J & J talc baby powder is banned in the US and Canada, the product is still being shipped into the Nigerian marketplace. The organization has called on the Nigerian federal government to withdraw the product countrywide.