In a Friday report, Reuters exposed Johnson & Johnson for hiding the fact that trace amounts of asbestos had been detected in their talc for decades. The New York Times published a similar story, and in the aftermath of the exposure, Johnson & Johnson stock dropped by over 10 percent, the most significant market plunge for the company in a decade.

The trouble occurred when J&J was compelled to share company memos, internal reports, and confidential documents numbering in the thousands. All of the papers discussed, in some capacity, the fact that from 1971 into the early 2000s, the company’s raw and processed talc tested positive for trace amounts of asbestos and the subsequent reactions of company executives, mine manager, lawyers, doctors, and scientists.

The earliest mentions of tainted talc go back to 1957 reports from a consulting lab that detailed the presence of needle-like tremolite, one of the six minerals that are classified as asbestos in its natural form.

Johnson & Johnson has maintained since the 1970s that their products have never contained asbestos, and they have vehemently denied all press related to the documents. In a statement from Johnson & Johnson, the company attacked the Reuters article as “false and inflammatory,” and cited their own sources as proof that talc does not cause cancer despite the fact that some of their research admits to “moderately increase the risk” of certain cancers.

Despite their affirmations, J&J has paid out over $4 billion in settlements with women claiming that J&J is responsible for mesothelioma caused by asbestos.

MedTruth first reported on asbestos in talcum powder in Oct. 2017. 

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