Johnson & Johnson ‘KNEW their baby powder contained cancer-causing asbestos’ says report

Andrew Cummings
December 15, 2018

"The scientific consensus is that the talc used in talc-based body powders does not cause cancer, regardless of what is in that talc".

The Reuters report and the documents it refers to are available online here.

Mr Bicks said the tests cited by Reuters article were "outlier" results.

Reuters states that the number includes thousands of women with ovarian cancer.


The awareness could go back to 1957, as a lab report discusses a finding that's in line with asbestos.

A few years later, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considered putting limits on asbestos in cosmetic talc products, according to the publication J&J assured them that no asbestos had been "detected in any" talc sample produced between December 1972 and October 1973, although at least three tests had produced contrary findings.

The report also states that J&J denied the claim. But to be clear, the World Health Organization says there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. Juries in those cases awarded big sums to plaintiffs who blamed the talc products for causing their mesothelioma, a type of cancer. "Studies of more than 100,000 men and women show that talc does not cause cancer or asbestos-related disease", it said.

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.


Reuters published an emailed statement from J&J Vice President of Global Media Relations Ernie Knewitz said: "This is all a calculated attempt to distract from the fact that thousands of independent tests prove our talc does not contain asbestos or cause cancer".

'Johnson & Johnson is deeply disappointed in the verdict, which was the product of a fundamentally unfair process, ' they said in a statement.

After the verdict, J&J CEO Alex Gorsky addressed the issue, telling analysts on a conference call that the company remains "confident that our products do not contain asbestos and do not cause ovarian cancer".

The New Brunswick, New Jersey, company has dominated the talc powder market for more than a century, with its talc products adding $420 million to the company's $76.5 billion in sales in 2017.


Reuters reviewed Johnson & Johnson documents produced as part of the trials, many of which had been shielded from view by court orders.

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