Johnson & Johnson Hid Findings Of Asbestos In Johnson’s Baby Powder For Decades: Report

Johnson & Johnson reportedly knew there was asbestos in their popular baby powder, but hid the ingredient for decades.

Reuters reports that company memos, internal reports and other confidential documents show “that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s, the company’s raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos, and that company executives, mine managers, scientists, doctors and lawyers fretted over the problem and how to address it while failing to disclose it to regulators or the public.”

Johnson & Johnson was reportedly forced to disclose the documents “for some of the 11,700 plaintiffs now claiming that the company’s talc caused their cancers — including thousands of women with ovarian cancer.”

According to Reuters, asbestos traces were found as early as 1957 by a consulting lab:

In 1976, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was weighing limits on asbestos in cosmetic talc products, J&J assured the regulator that no asbestos was “detected in any sample” of talc produced between December 1972 and October 1973.

It didn’t tell the agency that at least three tests by three different labs from 1972 to 1975 had found asbestos in its talc – in one case at levels reported as “rather high.” Most internal J&J asbestos test reports Reuters reviewed do not find asbestos. However, while J&J’s testing methods improved over time, they have always had limitations that allow trace contaminants to go undetected – and only a tiny fraction of the company’s talc is tested.

(Source: Reuters, Photo Credit: Mike Mozart/Flickr)

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