For decades, many women have used Johnson & Johnson baby powder as a feminine hygiene product, to smell fresh and clean. What they didn’t know was that this product was harmful – and even deadly.
Despite claiming that its product was not dangerous, Johnson & Johnson has actually known for decades that its talc baby powder contained asbestos, yet did not inform the public. Now, many women are suffering from ovarian cancer, mesothelioma and other serious medical conditions due to the company’s actions.
As a result of the allegations, the company’s stock plummeted on December 14. It saw its biggest loss in 16 years as the stock dropped 8 percent, to $136.10. In July, Johnson & Johnson lost a huge lawsuit, with the 22 plaintiffs receiving $4.7 billion – one of the largest jury verdicts ever. The company faces 12,000 more lawsuits as injured women seek justice.
The Revealing Memos
Back in 1971, Johnson & Johnson knew that their products contained asbestos, which can lead to cancer. An executive became aware of this and told staff to upgrade the quality control of the talc used.
Another executive raised an issue two years later. He said that the talc mines were not necessarily asbestos-free and that some materials used could be considered asbestos fiber.
Asbestos occurs underground near talc and has been a concern for the company for many years. There are even hundreds of pages of company memos detailing the concern that Johnson & Johnson had when the government proposed to ban talc.
There were also concerns over safety. Executives tried creating the product without talc. They also recommended new testing procedures.
At one point, Johnson & Johnson went as far as to demand that the government not publicize any negative findings about talc. An official at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agreed.
Johnson & Johnson is denying the information found in these memos and states that any claims that the products contain asbestos are based on “junk science.” The company defends its baby powder, claiming it is safe. The company’s lawyer claims that the talc used by the company has been tested multiple times since the 1970s, and none of these tests detected asbestos.
Meanwhile, thousands of women are suffering. Some have even died due to asbestos exposure. Even trace amounts can penetrate the body and cause cancer years later.