Memos show that Johnson & Johnson knew about asbestos issues

Johnson & Johnson, the monolithic health and beauty company, has long denied the potential for asbestos contamination in their talcum powder products. Marketed as baby powder, this popular Johnson & Johnson product was sold for years to mothers, as well as to adults who wanted to freshen their genitals and avoid dampness in their underwear.

Talc is a naturally occurring mineral, and its deposits in the earth are often quite close to deposits of asbestos. Companies such as Johnson & Johnson should have strict purity and testing standards to prevent potential contamination that could endanger or even kill consumers. Sadly, many companies cut corners in areas that directly impact consumer safety and try to avoid consequences.

The revelation that Johnson & Johnson has known for decades of asbestos contamination in their baby powders is frightening and upsetting. It shows that the company clearly prioritizes profits over the safety of their customers. It also paves the way for more successful lawsuits against the company, as additional people with both mesothelioma and reproductive cancers come forward to hold the company accountable.

Memos acknowledge contamination as far back as the 70s

Starting in 1971 and going through the early aughts, Johnson & Johnson staff, including executives, management at mineral mines, doctors and even attorneys, knew about contamination in talcum powder products made by Johnson & Johnson. Although it was infrequent, internal testing did occasionally turn up asbestos contamination in their products.

Instead of acting on those test results, the company simply did nothing. They did not label their products as potentially hazardous. They did not close mines where contaminated minerals got extracted. They did not pull products off the shelves after failed tests.

They simply went about business as usual, assuming they would never have to face consequences for the danger they created for the public. Even now, as individuals with cancers likely related to asbestos bring lawsuits against the company, they continue to insist that their products are safe for daily use.

Those sickened by talcum powder have legal rights

Asbestos is a particularly dangerous carcinogen. People who apply it to themselves in a powder form run the risk both of inhaling particulate asbestos and having it absorbed into their body through their genitals and skin. In other words, contaminated baby powder could cause both mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the organ lining, or reproductive cancers in otherwise healthy adults.

Although it can be difficult to prove, it is possible to link certain cancers to asbestos exposure. If neither you nor your spouse had career exposure to asbestos and you use talcum powder regularly, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Exploring your medical circumstances with a knowledgeable attorney who understands these complex cases can be a smart next step.