Johnson & Johnson faces criminal investigation by U.S. over its knowledge of the dangers of talcum powder

Johnson & Johnson is facing a U.S. Justice Department criminal investigation into whether it lied about potential cancer risks of its talcum powder and has convened a grand jury in Washington, Reuters has reported. Bloomberg has also reported an investigation into documents related to what company officials knew about any carcinogens in their products.

J&J disclosed in its annual report in February that it had received subpoenas from the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission related to the ongoing baby powder litigation but did not give more details. Johnson faces lawsuits involving over 14,000 plaintiffs who allege use of its talc products, including Baby Powder, caused cancer.

A Reuters report revealed that Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that small amounts of asbestos, a known carcinogen, had been occasionally found in its talc and powder products, according to tests from the 1970s to the early 2000s – information it did not disclose to regulators or the public.