Johnson & Johnson shares fell 4 percent on a Reuters report that the company knew its talcum baby powder contained asbestos.
Reuters reviewed documents and deposition and trial testimony that it said showed from 1971 to the early 2000s, company executives, mine managers, doctors and lawyers were aware J&J’s raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos.
J&J referred Reuters to its outside litigation counsel, who in emailed responses, rejected Reuters’ findings as “false and misleading.” “The scientific consensus is that the talc used in talc-based body powders does not cause cancer, regardless of what is in that talc,” Bicks wrote. “This is true even if – and it does not – Johnson & Johnson’s cosmetic talc had ever contained minute, undetectable amounts of asbestos.” He dismissed the tests cited in Reuter’s article as “outlier” results, Reuters said.
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