The more I hear about the Johnson & Johnson talcum powder cover-up, the angrier I get. I’m a child of the 70’s and my mother, like so many women before her (and after) used baby powder on herself, on my sister and me. We all thought it was safe. It was the way we could all feel fresh and clean, or so we thought…But TODAY Johnson & Johnson announced it is discontinuing the sale of baby powder made with talc in the United States and Canada!
As both a consumer and a mass tort attorney, I am not surprised, but I can’t help but wonder what took so long since Johnson & Johnson KNEW since the 1950’s that their Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Powder contained asbestos and KNEW that this asbestos caused cancer. However, they PURPOSEFULLY covered it up and kept it on the market, until now…
In the 1970’s when my mother was covering our family in their powders, she had no way of knowing that it contained asbestos which causes cancer, but Johnson & Johnson knew and didn’t tell anyone.
In fact, Johnson & Johnson did studies that found asbestos in their powders, yet they didn’t let anyone know. They even LIED to the FDA and said their studies didn’t find talc; they LIED to consumers and kept it on the market. They even went so far as to redact damaging information from their studies to make it look like they didn’t find any asbestos fibers. Johnson & Johnson created a major corporate cover-up for profits and greed to the detriment of women and children.
According to a 2018 Reuters investigative report, this cover-up spanned decades.
- In 1957, trace amounts of asbestos fibers were found in samples of talc from Johnson & Johnson’s Italian supplier.
- In the mid-1960s, asbestos was found in talc from Vermont mines owned by a subsidiary company of Johnson & Johnson.
- Other tests continued to find small amounts of talc through the 1970s.
- Johnson & Johnson only submitted certain studies to the FDA in the mid-1970s in order to cover-up the asbestos findings.
- The company made its own studies in the mid-1970s—directing researchers to show favorable results for them.
- The company also got people from its subsidiary companies to act as advisers to government studies in order to exert their influence over the results.
- Through the early 2000s, studies continued to find trace amounts of asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder. At the time, they began sourcing talc from China.
- Johnson & Johnson is currently facing approximately 17,000 lawsuits by plaintiffs who are claiming that their products caused them to develop cancer.
- In October 2018, Johnson & Johnson recalled 33,000 bottles of its baby powder.
- On May 19, 2020, Johnson & Johnson announced it would no longer sell baby powder that contains talc in North America and Canada.
I have worked on many tort cases involving dangerous products before, and I’ve seen corporate cover-ups, but recently, when I listened to a webinar on the talcum powder cases, I was struck by the enormity of the lengths this company went to in order to keep its profitable powder on the market. You would think as soon as they found out that their talcum powder contained asbestos that could cause cancer, they would have warned people, but they did just the opposite. They chose profit over health. Their lack of care is something I just can’t begin to wrap my head around.
As I grappled with what Johnson & Johnson did, I couldn’t stand to just sit and do nothing, so I’m so grateful I have a way to help women who have been hurt by this company. If you or a loved one used Johnson & Johnson baby powder and got ovarian cancer, please contact A Case for Women for more information on the talcum powder lawsuits. We want to help you.