The Republic of Congo has suspended, the import of carcinogenic asbestos laden Johnson & Johnson talc powder. Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) welcomes this interim ban on killer asbestos mineral fiber laden talc powder. Its continued sale in India and other developing countries constitutes environmental racism because human biology is the same everwhere.
Cosmetics - Congo suspends import of Johnson baby powder
By Fiacre Kombo
Sold on shelves in the Republic of Congo, the product of the American brand Johnson & Johnson would contain potentially carcinogenic substances. After several weeks of consultation with civil society, the Ministry of Commerce has decided to suspend the importation and marketing of this powder in the country.
Authorities have suspended Johnson's baby powder pending the results of commissioned laboratory analyzes. “Johnson's baby powder brand talcum powder, J&J acronym, is said to be contaminated with asbestos. The importation and marketing of this product are suspended until further notice. Protective seizures of the said product will be made from all distribution establishments, in depots and stores,” specifies a circular note dated 3 November.
The decision of the public authorities is a first victory for the Action for the Environment and Development (AED), at the initiative of an information meeting for civil society on 13 November in Brazzaville. For the president of the AED, Dr. Eugène Loubaki, the toxicity of this product is beyond doubt due to the proven presence of talc contaminated with asbestos, a kind of highly toxic magnesia or calcium with refractory properties.
It should be noted that the AED platform is a member of the International Network for the Elimination of Pollutants (IPEN), which campaigns for the elimination of pollutants such as lead in paints, mercury in the environment, endocrine disruptors, etc. Following the ban on the same powder in the USA and Canada, IPEN asked the AED to lead the battle for the withdrawal of the cosmetic product in Congo. "It is not the brand that is targeted by our actions, but rather talc-based baby powder which is potentially carcinogenic since the company has a variety of other products on the market", assured Eugène Loubaki.
According to this chemist, the withdrawal of baby powder solves a public health problem. Much like other civil society organizations, ACN calls on governments to toughen up, for example destroying existing stocks in order to protect consumers from serious health risks. The association intends to conduct awareness-raising and advocacy to further challenge the Congolese authorities, traders and consumer associations.
Since March of this year, the American brand has been the subject of more than 20,000 lawsuits related to its talc-based baby powder. In the USA, approximately 22,000 new cases of ovarian cancer and 14,000 cancer deaths are recorded each year. A recent study indicates that African American women, who use it because of its affordability, are the most affected.