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What to know about asbestos and Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson is a leader in baby products. Millions of families have used the company's baby powder over the years, believing it to be safe. However, a recent report from Reuters showed the company has hidden asbestos in its products for years without the general public knowing. 

This information initially came to light over the summer of 2018 when 22 women filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson. They claimed the company's products resulted in them developing ovarian cancer over the years. As a result of these lawsuits, old documents came to light, causing the brand's stock to plummet and raising fears as to whether people should use Johnson & Johnson products that may contain asbestos

Why is asbestos in baby powder?

Many people may wonder why asbestos needs to be in baby powder in the first place. This is due to the inclusion of talc, which is a natural mineral. Studies have revealed that talc, even in its safest form, can contain trace amounts of asbestos. Many times, asbestos exists in the same mines where companies retrieve talc, causing it to end up in the final product. Health organizations around the globe recognize asbestos as a dangerous carcinogen, which can cause numerous types of cancer, including mesothelioma. Johnson & Johnson has claimed for years its products are free of asbestos despite this information, but now it appears as though the company knew all along. 

What does this mean for consumers now?

The problem with mesothelioma is it can develop decades after initial exposure to asbestos. This means parents who used baby powder in the 1980s and 90s may not notice the effect until today. For years, the American Cancer Society has stated all talcum products have been free of asbestos since the 1970s, which has recently changed. More evidence is necessary to prove whether Johnson & Johnson knew conclusively its products contained asbestos, and if the company were to remove baby powder from its offerings, it could be an admission of guilt. For now, consumers need to be careful of what they use. 

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