Whether you’ve had a child or not, you’re probably familiar with the ever-popular Johnson & Johnson baby powder. What house doesn't have the classic white bottle tucked away in a medicine cabinet? However, recent reports have raised concern about whether or not the famous product is as safe to use as we thought. The pharmaceutical giant has faced a shockingly high number of lawsuits claiming that their talcum powder has caused cancer due to asbestos — a known human carcinogen.
Back in February, the Justice Department and Security Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an investigation of Johnson & Johnson due to a Reuters report which suggested that the company was aware and concerned for decades about the presence of asbestos in their talcum powder. Over 15,000 plaintiffs have filed charges against the company, claiming that J&J products caused their cancer.
Just last year, the company paid a $4.69 billion settlement to 22 women who claimed that the asbestos in Johnson & Johnson baby powder caused their ovarian cancer. Currently, Johnson & Johnson denies that there was or is any asbestos in their talc, and claims that plaintiffs' tests are flawed and display inaccurate results. The company is in the middle of appealing a number of the cases they’ve already lost.
The tricky thing is that there isn’t much government regulation when it comes to the safety of the talc-based products on the market. Therefore, companies are able to determine the safety of their products themselves. In recent years, other talc-based beauty products have been found to be contaminated with asbestos, leading to product recalls. Another interesting thing to note is that talc and asbestos are often mined at sites closeby to one another, which may explain the possible contamination. However, Johnson & Johnson has still not revealed any internal information regarding asbestos testing of their talcum powder, so it’s impossible to say for sure whether or not the powder was or is indeed contaminated.
Whatever the case may be, it’s always a good idea to be cautious and protect ourselves when it comes to the products we use on our bodies. These lawsuits and findings certainly raise concern about the composition and safety of talc-based products made by Johnson & Johnson. We hope to find out more definitive answers as the SEC investigation unfolds.