Johnson & Johnson continues to face fallout from accusations the company used talcum powder in their products, with the latest consequence coming in the form of an investigation by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
Talcum powder has been known to contain asbestos, and has been linked to ovarian cancer and other cancers. The SEC opened their inquiry into J&J amid mounting concerns the company used talc in baby powder and other products. This federal investigation comes in the wake of a string of lawsuits several decades in the making. In July of 2018, J&J suffered a major blow, when a Missouri jury ordered the company to pay up to $4.7 billion to 22 who have claimed that using J&J’s baby powder gave them ovarian cancer.
Johnson & Johnson has continued to claim innocence, insisting its products do not contain asbestos and do not cause cancer. However, a Reuters investigation published this past December turned up evidence suggesting that not only has J&J’s baby powder contained asbestos in the past, but that the company knew this and even made attempts to cover evidence up.
Examining internal documents distributed between 1971 and the early 2000s, Reuters found that the company’s raw talc and finished powders tested positive for minor levels of asbestos on multiple occasions. Even going back to 1957, lab analysis warned that “fiberform,” “rods,” and other asbestos-like powders had been detected in the company’s talc. While scientific evidence linking asbestos to cancer has lagged for decades, asbestos miners have been suffering from cancer for hundreds of years, while the use of asbestos in insulation has more recently been linked to mesothelioma.
J&J's stock dropped 10% in one day last December, losing $39.8 billion in market value following the Reuters investigation. In addition to the probe by the SEC, the Department of Justice has also suborned Johnson & Johnson over its use of talcum powder. As the DOJ and SEC continue their investigations, thousands of lawsuits have been filed against the company, seeking close to $3.3 billion in damages.
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At Bertram & Graf, L.L.C., our Kansas City product liability lawyers represent a range of clients. From dangerous drugs to defective medical devices, our experienced attorneys have the knowledge and resources you need to hold big companies liable for their actions. When corporations like Johnson & Johnson prey on innocent Americans, our skilled legal team is here to fight for justice. From toxic talcum powder and beyond, Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. is the firm you can trust to stand up for you.
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