For over 30 years, Johnson & Johnson failed to disclose that some of its popular baby powder was tainted with asbestos, a deadly carcinogen, according to a Reuters report. Talc—the main ingredient in the company’s baby powder—and asbestos often occur together in the earth, so mined talc can be contaminated with the carcinogen. Exposure to asbestos can cause many types of cancer, including mesothelioma, a rare and painful cancer that usually only afflicts people who were exposed to asbestos while working in mines. Johnson & Johnson has denied accusations that its trusted product was ever tainted. But thousands of pages of company memos, internal reports, and other confidential documents Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to share reveal that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s, the company’s powder sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos, Reuters reports. Executives failed to disclose that information to regulators or the public. Johnson & Johnson now faces 11,700 lawsuits from victims claiming that use of the company’s talc caused them to develop cancer.
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