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Report: Johnson & Johnson was aware baby powder contained asbestos

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Report: Johnson & Johnson was aware baby powder contained asbestos

An investigation by Reuters has found that Johnson & Johnson was aware of the presence of asbestos, a known carcinogen, in its baby powder as early as the 1950s.

About 11,700 legal complaints have been filed against the New Jersey company alleging that its talc products caused ovarian cancer or mesothelioma.

Reports from the last several decades, uncovered by Reuters, have shown that Johnson & Johnson knew about tests indicating that the material was present in its talc powder, a claim that consumers have made against the world's largest healthcare company.

Johnson & Johnson has disputed such claims unceasingly.

Most of the internal tests of the product show no signs of the contaminant, but limitations to those tests left trace amounts unreported, the news outlet reported Dec. 14.

Documents revealed during the many trials still show that individuals at the company, including executives, managers, scientists, doctors and lawyers, were aware that it was possible the baby powder held asbestos and made an effort to either conceal the information or influence regulation.

Shares of Johnson & Johnson were down 9.73% as of 12:22 p.m. ET on Dec. 14 following the news.

The company did not respond immediately to comment on the matter.