Via America’s Lawyer: For more than 30 years, Johnson & Johnson knew that their talcum powder contained asbestos fibers, but they never once warned consumers about the dangers. Mike Papantonio and Farron Cousins discuss.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: You know, for years, more than 30 years actually, Johnson & Johnson knew that their talcum powder contained asbestos fibers, but they never once warned consumers about the dangers. And you know the, as we look at this story, as early as the 1950’s.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: This is where the story begins. The company new Johnson & Johnson knew that their baby powder had a, had tremolite in it. Now you’re talking to somebody who tried a lot of asbestos cases. Tremolite is a very dangerous form of asbestos, causes cancer and Mesothelioma, all types of, all types of illnesses. They were putting it in baby powder because they didn’t want to spend the money to purify the baby powder. What’s your take on this story?

Farron Cousins: You know this, this big report that came out from Reuters, they got their hands on all the court documents that for the longest time the public hadn’t seen. So what they’re telling us here is that one, obviously Johnson & Johnson knew this existed, but what’s really interesting to me is the evolution of Johnson & Johnson’s defensive of this. First it was the outright denial, you know, they said, tremolite, well, it’s a mild form of asbestos. It’s not even really asbestos so don’t worry about that. And then it was, okay, yes, some of our talcum has asbestos, but don’t worry. The only stuff that has the asbestos is what we’re using in the industrial plants. This isn’t stuff we put in the baby powder.

Mike Papantonio: Here’s what makes it worse. Their own documents, Johnson & Johnson’s own documents in the 1970’s said, we know we have the problem, as a matter of fact, we might even be sued for having this problem. The president, CEO, Mr. Johnson himself says, gee whiz, this problem is so bad that I’m concerned about the health of the children that the powders being used. I’m concerned about the mothers who are using this powder on their children and even then no change. Even then they go forward and they do exactly what they want to do. What I thought was interesting also on this, and again the documents tell the story of Johnson & Johnson’s own documents.

Their own scientists said, we have a problem that was in the 1970’s and in the 1950’s we have a problem and here’s the problem. The fiber tremolite not only causes asbestos disease, whether it’s cancer, Mesothelioma, it also migrates through the body. Look, thanks for joining me. These stories again, every week we try to do the stories that are, that corporate media doesn’t cover. Fortunately, they’re kind of looking at this Johnson & Johnson story because for years they ignored it because they’re advertised or Johnson & Johnson wouldn’t let him tell the story.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.