A December 2018 investigative report from Reuters News Service revealed Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that its iconic baby powder could be contaminated with asbestos. Separate investigations by Reuters and The New York Times in December 2018 revealed documents showing Johnson & Johnson fretted for decades that small amounts of asbestos lurked in its baby powder.
“From at least 1971 to the early 2000s, the company’s raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos, and that company executives, mine managers, scientists, doctors and lawyers fretted over the problem and how to address it while failing to disclose it to regulators or the public,” Reuters reported.
Further, A New York Times documentary exposes Johnson & Johnson’s extensive internal records about the link between talcum powder and cancer-causing asbestos. The documentary explores how personnel within Johnson & Johnson – maker of iconic Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower – were aware of asbestos contamination in the powder for decades but failed to disclose that to consumers. Among other things, the documentary crew traveled to Israel to interview a scientist hired by Johnson & Johnson in the 1970s to analyze talc samples. Aviam Elkies said that after his tests revealed traces of asbestos, funding for his work stopped, and his findings were not reported.