Cancer-causing asbestos in Johnson and Johnson Co's Baby Talcum powder - revelations in the USA

Misleading ad by J&J Co. Sydney Morning Herald
Naturally occurring talk or soapstone.
Talc is a common silicate mineral and is known for its extreme softness (it has the lowest rating  on the Mohs' scale of hardness). Soapstone is yet another name because of its  greasy feel. It refers to aggregates of talc and other rock-forming minerals. Dense aggregates of high-purity talc are called steatite.

Talc is associated with metamorphic rocks, in foliated masses, and in certain rocks. It occurs along with with serpentine, tremolite, forsterite, and almost always with carbonates (calcite, dolomite, or magnesite) in the lower metamorphic facies. It also occurs as an alteration product, as from tremolite or forsterite. Talc is magnesium silicate  and has a simple constant chemical composition - Mg3Si4O10(OH)2.
Hence it is often found in the ground in close proximity to asbestos minerals - Serpentine group or Amphibole group.

Unlike talcum face and body powder for men, baby talcum powder needs special care and attention as the baby is sensitive to certain unknown chemicals. In the past several months incriminating media reports are appearing in the US about Baby Talcum powder  made by the world famous Johnson and Johnson Company about the safety of their talcum  powder products that are tested positive for  small amounts of cancer-causing asbestos. The expose was made by Reuters which claim that from 1971 to the early 2000s
the company’s executives, mine managers, doctors and lawyers were aware that raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos and failed to disclose the information for various obvious reasons. However, J&J refused to comment on the media reports. What surprised the US public was a responsible company like J&J, for more than two months,  turned down repeated requests for an interview with its executives.

A large section of the American public panicked and some went to court to sue the company for lack of transparency on the product and utter disregard for talcum powder user's safety. Responding to public outcry, a jury in St Louis, Missouri initially awarded £418 million in compensation and added £ 3.1billion in punitive damages in the latest court case against pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson. Mind you,  the payout amount is just  6.17 per cent of the firm's £58.35billion annual revenue; just imagine the mark-up on J&J's products. Since Reuters story on J&J's Talcum Powder products,  some 9,000 legal cases have been in the court involving its signature baby powder. In July J&J was ordered by the court to shell out £3.6 billion to 22 women after asbestos in its products gave them ovarian cancer. During the six-week trial, the women and their families  claimed  that they developed ovarian cancer only after using baby powder and other talc products for a long period. Their lawyers impressed on the jury that  the company had been aware of asbestos contamination in the powder  since the 1970s but failed to warn buyers about the risks. At health risk were its innocent regular customers who were hoodwinked by the company.
The firm maintains that several studies have concluded its talc is safe and insisted the verdict was a “fundamentally unfair process”.
A study commissioned by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), after testing  a variety of talc samples, including J&J, from 2009 to 2010, found no asbestos in any of them. However, the prosecution lawyer told the court that FDA  and Johnson & Johnson, had used flawed testing methods.
Naturally occuring asbestos Wikipedia
 Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals in the earth.   In 1899, Montague Murray first noted the negative health effects of asbestos. The first documented death related to asbestos was in 1906. In the later years, it was found out that asbestos related products were dangerous to human health and might case cancer when tiny particles make their way into the body.  The most commonly found  type of  cancer with asbestos  is called mesothelioma. This type of cancer  mainly affects the lining of the lungs, although it can also affect the lining of the tummy, heart or testicles. Though the use of asbestos was completely banned in 1999, in countries like India awareness about dangers of asbestos is poor. 

 As for the J&J Co's Talcum Powder products in India we have to wait and see what the Indian government is going to do with them. The Indian Government must ask for a through analysis of this company's products, in particular, Baby Talcum  Powder as millions of
J&J CO Headquarters, USA
households in India use them blindly for the babies without ever knowing the chemical contents of their products and the risk factors. Doctors also recommend Baby Johnson oil, Johnson soap and talcum powder!! For any Pharma company operating in India, transparency with respect to their products is a must  as it involves public health.

In the wake of this revelation by Reuters months ago,  in the middle of December this year J&J's shares plunged considerably. Reuters made their investigation public after scrutinizing thousands of company documents related to talcum powder. Reuters claimed that the executives and others were aware of a small amount of asbestos in Talcum powder and they failed to alert the authorities  about the possible risk. The company accused Reuters of publishing a false,  and biased report to sully its name. Reuters also reported that the company failed to block the federal regulation further to reduce the asbestos level in the talc-based consumer products.