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Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

Consumers Should Not Be in Dark on Dangers

If you haven't been following the news about Johnson & Johnson, you're missing out. A brief summary: Since 1971 J&J has known their baby powder contained cancer-causing asbestos. Executives knew. Mine managers knew. Lawyers knew. Literally everyone knew. Except consumers.

This past summer, 22 women with ovarian cancer won a $4.69 billion lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, exposing this fact. Just before the new year, another report emerged, revealing an intricate and in-depth conspiracy to cover up who knew what and when.

Many consumers think, how could this happen? The answer: It's the law. A quirk in federal law actually allows companies to knowingly sell products with carcinogens. Manufacturers of personal care products are required to list ingredients on labels, but if something wasn't intentionally added, like asbestos, it does not have to be disclosed to consumers on the label. This is an open secret, a labeling loophole.

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