New evidence has revealed baby powder manufacturer Johnson and Johnson has known for decades that the product contains traces of asbestos.
Internal reports and other confidential documents uncovered by Reuters found the company had recorded small amounts of the harmful mineral in the baby powder from at least 1971.
According to the news agency Johnson and Johnson executives and other personnel including scientists, doctors and lawyers were all aware of the problem and had tried to handle it, keeping information from regulators and the public.
The publication claimed it found reports by a consulting lab from 1957 and 1958 mentioning signs of tainted powder. Various reports from then into the early 200s indicated asbestos was present.
The new evidence comes after multiple reports from people who believed the product had led to cancer.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, national head of Maurice Blackburn’s asbestos practice Theodora Ahilas said this new revelation could lead to further investigations into potential asbestos exposure through the powder in Australia.
Just last year the company was ordered by a U.S. jury to pay $55 million to a woman who said that using the company’s talc-powder products caused her to develop ovarian cancer.
Prior to this in February, Johnson and Johnson were ordered to pay $72 million to the family of a woman who also claimed she developed ovarian cancer from using the powder.
Later in the year, a class action against Johnson and Johnson kicked off in Sydney with more than 700 women claiming the pharmaceutical giant’s vaginal mesh implant ruined their lives.
The women sued for damages after suffering long-term pain as a result of the implant, which is meant to help with incontinence and prolapse caused by childbirth.
Johnson and Johnson said the mesh is supported by research, but thousands of women came forward claiming they had been left with “painful and life-altering complications”, the ABC reported at the time.
Shine Lawyers, the firm behind the class action, claimed at the time as many as 8,000 Australian women may have been impacted by mesh and tape implants.