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Was Johnson & Johnson aware of asbestos exposure dangers?

A protracted debate continues in Minnesota and beyond regarding possible health hazards associated with baby talcum powders manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. The pharmaceutical giant has been called to the mat in question of whether it was aware ahead of time that its products may post asbestos exposure health dangers to consumers. Investigative reporters have been scrutinizing thousands of documents from the company's records in an attempt to formulate a conclusion.

One particular document reportedly references a personal memo a Johnson & Johnson executive allegedly wrote in the early 1970s. The note was supposedly an answer to an inquiry another company official had submitted regarding how much asbestos a baby might inhale if Johnson & Johnson talcum powders contained 1 percent asbestos. The executive's alleged response states that the exposure would likely be less dangerous than that of the average miner. 

That memo has captured the attention of many who have since filed asbestos litigation claims against the company. Many believe it is evidence that Johnson & Johnson already knew its talcum products contained asbestos at the time. It has been logically assumed that if the company knew its products were asbestos-free, there would be no need to estimate possible dangers associated with consumer use of the products.

Johnson & Johnson is not the only company with pending litigation against it concerning possible asbestos-related illnesses that may have been contracted through use of its products. Colgate-Palmolive and Cashmere Bouquet have also had lawsuits filed against them. As is often the case with asbestos exposure injuries, symptoms of illness may not be immediately apparent. Regardless of how much time has passed since a possible initial exposure, anyone in Minnesota concerned about a particular incident and its possible adverse health consequences may request a meeting with an experienced asbestos litigation attorney.

Source:, "Baby powder battles: Johnson & Johnson internal documents reveal asbestos worries", Myron Levin, Feb. 4, 2018

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