A new report by Reuters says that Johnson & Johnson – one of the world’s most trusted manufacturers of baby-related products – has hidden asbestos in its baby powder at least since the 1970s. Internal documents revealed that the company hid the fact that its powder contained cancer-causing asbestos from regulators and the public in order to continue selling the product.
It all started to implode on the company when Darlene Coker discovered she had mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that asbestos exposure leaves behind. When she hired a personal injury lawyer, he discovered that talc (the main component in baby powder) is naturally found with asbestos.
And internal documents tell the whole story.
At least three different labs tested the powder between 1972 and 1975 and found what they called “rather high” levels of asbestos in the talc. But Johnson & Johnson hid that from regulators and the public, and still to this day claims its baby powder is completely safe.
Unfortunately, at the time Coker filed her lawsuit (it was 1999), the company legally avoided handing over those internal documents. Her lawyer couldn’t prove that the baby powder was the culprit, and they had to drop the case. Corker died without ever finding justice from Johnson & Johnson.
But now, upwards of 11,700 other women are claiming that the company caused their cancers, ranging from mesothelioma to ovarian cancer. This, piled on the fact that a few years ago consumers discovered that its “no more tears” baby shampoo contained formaldehyde-releasing ingredients, spells bad news for the company.
Johnson & Johnson retaliated by posting a statement on its website, which says in part, “The Reuters article is one-sided, false and inflammatory. Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder is safe and asbestos-free. Studies of more than 100,000 men and women show that talc does not cause cancer or asbestos-related disease. Thousands of independent tests by regulators and the world’s leading labs prove our baby powder has never contained asbestos.”
What Do You Think?
Do you believe Johnson & Johnson, or do you think you (or your children) might have been adversely affected by its baby powder? I’d love to see what you think about this, so please share your thoughts on my Facebook page or on Twitter.