Johnson & Johnson Mesothelioma Trial Likely to Expose Company Documents

As a new mesothelioma lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson proceeds in a New Jersey courtroom, experts are anticipating the release of numerous damaging internal company documents.

These memos and reports show that as long ago as the early 1970s, company executives were questioning each other about the impact of asbestos, and specifically about how much asbestos an infant could inhale if the company’s baby powder contained a 1% concentration of the carcinogen.

These documents are likely to weigh heavily against the consumer products giant as they say in court that their product has always been completely asbestos free.

We know that asbestos causes mesothelioma, the rare and deadly form of cancer that often claims its victims’ lives within a year of diagnosis. What is in question and is being determined in court rooms around the country is whether Johnson & Johnson and other talc companies were aware of the presence of asbestos in their product and chose not to do anything about it.

The company’s internal documents seem to indicate that.

The record shows that while Johnson & Johnson insists that their company could not have caused mesothelioma (or ovarian cancer, which is also a question being raised), there are documents showing that they worked to have federal regulators allow up to 1 percent asbestos in their talc product, as well as to use a test protocol that is not sensitive enough to detect trace amounts of asbestos.

In 1973 a Johnson & Johnson executive wrote, “Our very preliminary calculation indicates that substantial asbestos can be allowed safely in a baby powder,” an idea that was apparently not well accepted by an FDA official. But the agency never introduced higher scientific testing standards.

The company’s efforts were so successful that the limited testing protocol is still in use today, despite evidence that talc deposits’ similarity to asbestos deposits make cross contamination highly likely.

Though most mesothelioma diagnoses occur in people who have known asbestos exposure from their workplace, there are many who have been diagnosed who were not exposed through their occupations.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with this rare disease and you need more information about where your exposure may have come from, the Patient Advocates at can help. Call us today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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