Author Bio ▼

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, who has also contributed to numerous national business titles including Utility Week, the Municipal Journal, Environment Journal and consumer titles such as Classic Rock.
December 18, 2018

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Johnson & Johnson hits back at asbestos reports

Johnson & Johnson has insisted its talcum powder is safe and does not contain asbestos, following media reports to the contrary.

Johnson & Johnson talcum powder on child
‘Aware for decades’

The international news agency Reuters published a story last week, which claimed the health product company had been aware that its talcum powder contains asbestos for decades.

Shares in Johnson & Johnson plunged by more than 10% at one point following the publication of the Reuters report.

Hitting back – first statement

In a strongly-worded statement, rebutting the Reuters story, the company insisted its baby powder is safe and asbestos free and that the story is “one-sided, false and inflammatory”.

“Studies of more than 100,000 men and woman show that talc does not cause cancer or asbestos-related disease,” the statement adds.

“Thousands of independent tests by regulators and the world’s leading labs prove our baby powder has never contained asbestos.”

Second statement

In a second statement, it accused Reuters of misleading its readers by printing “inaccurate statements” and “withholding crucial information that otherwise undermines its thesis”.

The statement also quotes a report by the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) and the Harvard School of Public Health into Johnson & Johnson’s mines in Vermont.

The report concluded that “geological studies dating from the early 1900s have shown that the Vermont talc deposits contain no asbestos”.

Video statement

CNBC appearance

The Chairman and Chief Executive of Johnson & Johnson, Alex Gorsky, appeared on the US news channel CNBC last night to defend his company.

“We unequivocally believe that our talc, our baby powder, does not contain asbestos,” said Mr Gorksy in an interview with CNBC presenter Jim Cramer. “And that’s demonstrated in thousands of studies, studies not only conducted by Johnson and Johnson, but studies conducted by independent authorities, well-respected authorities, where we work closely with regulators who are overlooking the methodology.”

New York times ad

The company took out a full-page advertisement yesterday in the New York Times titled “Science. Not Sensationalism”.

“If we had any reasons to believe our talc was unsafe, it would be off our shelves,” the ad stated

“Talc is a common mineral that’s part of all of our lives. It’s in our foods. Our cosmetics. Our gyms. And yes, it’s in Johnson’s Baby Powder,” the ad read. The company asserted that it “only uses pure, pharmaceutical-grade talc”.

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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