Intended for healthcare professionals


Johnson & Johnson knew for decades talcum powder contained asbestos, reports allege

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: (Published 28 December 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k5430
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

Executives at Johnson & Johnson repeatedly discussed their worries about the potential health effects of asbestos contamination of their talcum Baby Powder even as they told regulators and the public that all their tests were finding none, investigations by Reuters and the New York Times show.

Reuters reported on 14 December that it had examined thousands of pages of company memos and other internal documents provided to plaintiffs’ lawyers in ongoing talcum powder litigation.1 Many of the documents have not yet been used in court or were designated confidential by court order, it said.

The company’s share price fell by 10% within hours of the investigation being published. Although it earns less than 1% of Johnson & Johnson’s revenue, Baby Powder is an iconic product for …

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