Toxic Beauty is a documentary feature film by Director Phyllis Ellis which follows the class action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, and the personal stories of women fighting for justice. Website

The world’s biggest maker of health care products enters $1B deal in Covid-19 vaccinations 

Mildred German

Unceded Territory (BC) – Johnson & Johnson (J&J) announced Monday, May 18 it is pulling off talc-based products off shelves in Canada and the U.S. 

“Demand for talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in North America has been declining due in large part to changes in consumer habits and fueled by misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising,” the world’s biggest maker of health care products said. 

The decision is taken amidst thousands of lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) claiming the world iconic popular brand, talc-based Johnson’s baby powder has caused ovarian cancer and infertility. 

The irony brought by the Talc-Powder

Due to its talc-based products, J&J’s has faced about 19, 400 cases alleging its talcum powder caused users to develop ovarian cancer, and for allegedly failing to inform consumers its talcum powder contains asbestos. Asbestos is linked to mesothelioma, a  form of cancer.

Thus, it is indeed ironic that an iconic talc-based product is called “baby powder”. 

Although there is numerous research on how the use of talc is linked to women getting infertile and developing cancer in the ovaries, most of J&J’s advertisements promote “baby powder” but not any warning or label informing the scientific research-based ovarian cancer and infertility that are linked to their talc-based products. 

However, J&J spokeswoman Kimberly Montagnino said the company doesn’t plan to settle any of the lawsuits and “will continue to vigorously defend” the product. 

Toxic Beauty. The People Vs Johnson & Johnson 

Toronto-based award-winning film maker Phyllis Ellis’ latest film entitled Toxic Beauty, powerfully narrates the stories of people’s fight against the world’s largest manufacturer.

In this documentary, a U.S.-based medical doctor, researcher, and world-renowned professor and epidemiologist, Dr. Daniel Cramer, MD, Sc.D blew the lid on the risk of talc in beauty products such as Johnson’s Baby Powder. It was in 1982 – that was 38 years ago. Shockingly, J&J allegedly knew the risks since the 1960s and did nothing. 

As this breaking news came Monday, May 18, the news came so late for those previously affected and have died raising awareness and fighting the giant American multinational corporation. Toxic Beauty is a powerful documentary of the long fight against the giant J&J corporation to toss the talc. 

Produced by White Pine Pictures, Toxic Beauty is an expository about how fruitful it can be to question, to expose and to oppose and fight against toxic and carcinogenic corporations of any size. J&J dates back to 1893 and is the world’s largest manufacturer of health care products including medical devices, pharmaceutical, and consumer packaged goods. 

Johnson’s & Johnson’s Talc-based powder will still be sold outside the U.S. and Canada despite the Cornstarch Alternative 

Despite the less-popular cornstarch powder product alternative, Johnson & Johnson  will still sell talc-based powder outside Canada & the U.S. Scientific based studies on J&J products and public research and conversations on the risk of talc use are available, yet remain barely accessible, if not lacking in many countries outside Canada and the U.S. 


Growing up in the Philippines, a rich tropical country where the sun is blazing hot, the use of “baby powder” is marketed heavily as a necessity. However,  it is a privilege for those who can afford it. 

The use of baby powder is commonly believed to absorb sweats to avoid developing rashes. It is also used to absorb sweat after a run or a game, thus to avoid getting soaked in moisture that is commonly believed may affect the lungs. 

The “baby fever” advertisements and marketing schemes also made baby powder gained popularity and a necessity in changing diapers, embedded in the common belief baby powder absorbs moisture to avoid rashes, and to keep skin smooth, feeling fresh, and smelling good. 

Without parfum, will it be just the regular kitchen counter cornstarch? Why not just sell plain and simple cornstarch? 

With a $1-B investment deal, why continue a controversial baby powder product amidst a global crisis and a pandemic? 

To date, mass testing has not been fully implemented in Canada and the U.S. With no cure or successful vaccine yet developed for COVID-19, J&J anticipates the first batches of vaccine early 2021 to be available for emergency use. 

As of Monday, May 18, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recorded 4.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 315,000 deaths worldwide. 

In March 2020, a $1-B deal to co-invest into vaccine research, development, and clinical testing was made between the U.S. government under President Donald Trump, and the J&J company, Forbes reported. 

For J&J to continue the controversial talc-based baby powder product is to continue dealing with the  class action lawsuits.  Johnson & Johnson (J&J) stated the coronavirus pandemic has forced them to prioritize “high-demand products” in order to make social distancing easier at manufacturing and distribution facilities.

Can J&J be the  trusted name in developing the most-sought COVID-19 vaccines?