Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has launched a new baby care brand, two years after the healthcare giant halted all sales of its iconic Baby Powder in North America over claims it contained asbestos.
The personal care goliath is, at present, facing more than 34,000 lawsuits based on the allegation that its cosmetic talc causes ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.
J&J has vigorously denied that any of the talc-related claims against it have any merit.
In what appears to be an effort to quell consumer worries surrounding its products, J&J said the new Vivvi & Bloom brand has been certified by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
EWG is an American activist group that launched in 1993 that assesses the chemicals found within consumer products in the cosmetics and agricultural sectors.
The group’s seal of approval means products contain natural and safe ingredients, according to the EWG.
"The Environmental Working Group is widely recognised as a trusted and rigorous evaluator of personal care products," said Emily Spilman, EWG's Healthy Living Science Analyst.
"We're pleased to verify all five Vivvi & Bloom products.
“Parents who see the EWG Verified mark can trust Vivvi & Bloom meets our strictest standards for health and transparency."
Vivvi & Bloom is being marketed towards Gen-Z and millennial parents in America and debuts with a line-up of five products.
This includes a 2-in-1 body wash and shampoo, body lotion and a massage oil, with prices starting from RRP US$9.98.
"We believe that no one is more in tune with what they need to help their little ones grow and thrive than the parents and caregivers who nurture them each day," said Duda Kertész, President, US Skin Health at J&J Consumer Health.
"Consistent with our consumer-first focus, we worked with our 'village' of diverse caregivers to understand their unique needs which inspired all areas of Vivvi & Bloom from the brands' name, mission and charitable collaboration to the brands' introductory product range and benefits."
End of an era
J&J stopped selling its talc-based Baby Powder in the US and Canada in May 2020, after the company received thousands of lawsuits claiming its talc products contained asbestos.
The company’s baby powder had been an iconic symbol for the brand since its introduction in the US in 1894.
In 2018, however, a St Louis court ordered J&J to pay out more than US$4bn to 22 women who accused the brand’s Baby Powder of causing their ovarian cancer.
In June 2021, the company lost a bid to overturn the Missouri jury verdict regarding the case.
However, J&J’s legal fortunes fared better in 2021, with a Philadelphia state jury ruling in September that J&J’s talc products had not contributed to the ovarian cancer diagnosis of Ellen Kleiner.
In February 2022, J&J faced an attempt to force a shareholder vote to withdraw its talc from store shelves globally.
Tulipshare, a UK investment platform which allows customers to pool shares in order to meet the threshold to submit resolutions for shareholder votes, submitted a proposal to J&J demanding the termination of global sales of the company’s talc-based powder.