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Lobby Group Sues Johnson & Johnson, Claims Baby Powder Can Cause Cancer

The African Centre for Corrective & Preventive Action has filed a lawsuit against the American multinational corporation, Johnson & Johnson, regarding the sale of talc-based baby powder to Kenyans.

The rights group claims that while the product has been banned in certain countries such as the European Union and India, it is still being sold in Kenya.

In the petition focused on safeguarding consumer rights, the group alleges that Johnson & Johnson Services Inc utilizes “benzene and talc” in their baby powder products.

The group claims that benzene and talc cause cancer in humans and that “talc is contaminated by asbestos, a carcinogenic substance, causing exceedingly harm to its users”.

“There is scientific proof that benzene should not be used in the manufacture of drug substances, excipients, and drug products because of its unacceptable toxicity and deleterious environmental effect; In the context, the usage and sale of the Johnson & Johnson baby powder has been banned in the European Union, India and a number of African Countries including Tanzania, Zimbabwe and the Republic of Congo,” the group says.

The African Centre for Corrective & Preventive Action filed the suit at the High Court in Milimani Nairobi on Monday.

The group is seeking temporary orders to prevent J&J from further manufacturing, selling, importing, and distributing the Johnson & Johnson Baby powder in the Kenyan market.

It also wants permission to file a class-action lawsuit by inviting other individuals to join the court proceedings.

“There is sufficient evidence that Johnson & Johnson Services Inc and Johnson & Johnson (K) Ltd are aware of the severe and fatal results of their products. But they have ignored the fact and still continue manufacturing and selling these products to the masses including Kenyan citizens despite having compensated claimants in the United States of America by the Johnson & Johnson Services Inc,” reads the lawsuit.

The rights group has also sued the Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Health, the Kenya Bureau of Standards, and the Kenya Pharmacy & Poisons Board.

The case is currently awaiting hearing directions.