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Johnson & Johnson Decades Long Cover-up of Asbestos in Talc Powder

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on December 30, 2018

A longform investigative report emerged from Reuters in mid-December that offered some valuable – and disturbing – information into the long-standing efforts by Johnson & Johnson to hide the information emerging about the asbestos inside of its line of talcum powder products.

One of the chief findings of the report is the way J&J failed to inform the FDA after numerous studies and lab tests confirmed the presence of asbestos inside of the talcum powder. In one example, three different labs, all working independently from one another, discovered asbestos contained within the talcum powder. In fact, one of the labs also added that the amount was “rather high,” indicating that this was more than just trace elements (and even trace elements of asbestos are potentially lethal, a fact recognized by the World Health Organization). That these tests were done between 1972 and 1975 only adds to the shock of this report.

During a case that went to court in the late 1990’s, J&J steadfastly denied the presence of the asbestos in the talcum powder. Somehow, during the lengthy litigation processes that occurred, they managed to both make this claim and prevent the clinical results from ever reaching the plaintiff. Without the results of these trials, the plaintiff had no choice but to drop the case.

Now, almost twenty years later, those hidden scientific conclusions as well as many thousands of pages of documents held by J&J that relate to the talcum powder and asbestos concerns are becoming public. With the number of plaintiffs reaching upwards of 11,700, it has become impossible for Johnson & Johnson to keep secret the information around their products and the fatal effects it can easily create in the bodies of the people who use them.

One of the original pieces of information uncovered after a Reuters examination of the documents shows that between 1971 and the early 2000’s numerous tests of both unrefined talc and the product stamped as ready for the sale to the public came back as showing positive for asbestos. Furthermore, memos show that individuals within the company – including executives, mine managers, lawyers, and doctors – tried to figure out how to approach the situation. At no time were the findings ever released to regulatory bodies, and they certainly weren’t released to the public.


James O. Cunningham

James O. CunninghamSince 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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