Johnson & Johnson Hid Findings Of Asbestos In Baby Powder For Decades

U.S. pharmaceutical and cosmetics group Johnson & Johnson saw its shares plunge on Friday after a media report alleged the group had deliberately concealed for decades that its baby powder sometimes contained asbestos.

Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that their baby powder had occasionally tested positive for small amounts of asbestos over the years, according to a new report.

Reuters states that the number includes thousands of women with ovarian cancer. But the Reuters report cites documents and other evidence that indicate company executives, mine managers, scientists, doctors and lawyers knew about the problem and failed to disclose it to regulators or the public.

J&J did not immediately return a request for comment, but the company has publicly maintained there is no science to back alleged links between its powder and cancer.

In July 2018, a St. Louis jury awarded almost $4.7 billion in damages to 22 women and their families after they claimed asbestos in J&J talcum powder caused their ovarian cancer.

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The company said Friday there were rigorous tests showing the talc did not contain the cancer-causing mineral.

It is being claimed that Johnson & Johnson have known for decades that there was asbestos present in their baby powder products.

"The Reuters article is one-sided, false and inflammatory", Johnson & Johnson said in a lengthy statement about the report.

The report stated that Johnson & Johnson had been sued by thousands of people, including many women, who claimed the powder was risky to their health and that the company didn't notify consumers.

Johnson & Johnson has denied the claims in the Reuters report, branding it "an absurd conspiracy theory".

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J&J were sued in 1999 by Darlene Coker, who believed that her terminal mesothelioma, a form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, was caused by using baby powder.

The documents revealed that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s the firm's internal tests sometimes found small amounts of asbestos in its raw talc and finished powders. "Thousands of independent tests by regulators and the world's leading labs prove our baby powder has never contained asbestos", the statement continued.

The documents also depict successful efforts to influence US regulators' plans to limit asbestos in cosmetic talc products and scientific research on the health effects of talc.

The Reuters report noted that most internal J&J asbestos tests did not find asbestos, but said that while the company's testing methods had improved over time, they "have always had limitations that allow trace contaminants to go undetected" and that only a "tiny fraction" of the company's talc is ever tested.

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