Johnson & Johnson Denies Report Claiming Baby Powder Contains Asbestos

The damning report has the company on the defense.

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| December 17 2018,

8:11 pm

Johnson & Johnson has pushed back against a new Reuters report claiming the company knew its baby powder contained asbestos.

The report, released Friday, caused the company's market value to crash 10 percent in one day. CNN reports the company reportedly lost $40 billion in market value. It was the company's worst day since 2002.

For decades, Johnson & Johnson knew there were small traces of cancer-causing asbestos in the baby powder and raw talc, the report alleges, based on a collection of court testimonies and depositions from 1971 to the early 2000s.

"The Reuters article is one-sided, false and inflammatory," Johnson & Johnson said in a statement regarding the report. "Johnson & Johnson's baby powder is safe and asbestos-free."

Allegations were made about the company attempting to curb U.S. regulations limiting asbestos in cosmetic talc products. Johnson & Johnson also tried to stop scientific research on the effects of talc on the human body, according to the report.

"Plaintiffs’ attorneys out for personal financial gain are distorting historical documents and intentionally creating confusion in the courtroom and in the media,” Ernie Knewitz, Johnson & Johnson's vice president of global media relations, wrote in an emailed response to Reuters.

“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. Any suggestion that Johnson & Johnson knew or hid information about the safety of talc is false,” he added.

Johnson & Johnson has refuted the claims by providing insight into its dealings with the Food and Drug Administration. Representatives said the company had performed thousands of independent tests — some of the "most advanced testing methods available" — on its products. Those tests showed no traces of the cancer-causing substance.

Despite this, the company was ordered to pay a record $4.69 billion to a group of 22 women who developed ovarian cancer at some point while using the products, they claim. According to Vogue, 11,700 plaintiffs are claiming the talc is harmful.


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