Pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson, has this week been accused of continuing to sell its talc powder products despite being aware for decades that it contained traces of asbestos. 

The claims come as a result of an investigation by news agency Reuters, which examined recently-available internal company reports and other confidential documents. These revealed that the multinational was aware as early as 1971 that its products contained microscopic amounts of Tremolite, a type of asbestos, but failed to tell consumers and regulators.

Commenting on the allegations, Helen Tomlin, specialist asbestos solicitor at Thompsons, said: “These reports have understandably caused much concern with members of the public who, for many years, have used Johnson & Johnson talc powder.

"However, evidence of a link between asbestos found in talc and the development of cancers related to such exposure has not yet been proven and investigations are ongoing."

Helen Tomlin of Thompsons Solicitors

“The link between asbestos exposure and asbestos-related cancer, most notably mesothelioma, has been established for decades. However, evidence of a link between asbestos found in talc and the development of cancers related to such exposure has not yet been proven and investigations are ongoing.”

She continues: “The question for now, in our opinion, is how a multinational company with huge budgets allocated to research, development, marketing and consumer safety testing, has seemingly allowed evidence of possible contamination of one of its most popular products to be buried within internal documentation, and how even now the documents have come to light they are still trying to evade responsibility for past failings.

“How can people have confidence in the products of a company that appears to have ignored or brushed over issues that are of legitimate consumer concern? Johnson & Johnson executives have serious questions to answer over the coming weeks.”