A container of Johnson's baby powder made by Johnson & Johnson. (Getty)

  • Johnson & Johnson sank 8% on Friday after Reuters reported the company knew for decades that its baby powder contained asbestos.
  • Reuters reviewed documents from at least 1971 to the early 2000s that they say showed powders sometimes tested positively for small traces of asbestos.
  • Watch Johnson & Johnson trade live.

Johnson & Johnson shares sank 8% Friday after Reuters reported the pharmaceutical giant knew for decades that its baby powder contained asbestos.

Reuters reviewed documents, deposition, and trial testimony from at least 1971 to the early 2000s that they say showed powders and raw talc sometimes tested positively for small traces of asbestos.

Furthermore, "company executives, mine managers, scientists, doctors and lawyers fretted over the problem and how to address it while failing to disclose it to regulators or the public," Reuters reporter Lisa Girion wrote.

Johnson & Johnson's outside litigation counsel, Peter Bicks, told Reuters its findings were false and dismissed tests cited in the report as "outlier" results.

This is not the first time the company, which also manufactures medical devices, has come under fire for issues related to its baby powder.

In July, a St. Louis jury awarded $4.69 billion (R65 bllion) to 22 women who said its talcum baby powder gave them ovarian cancer. At the time it was the sixth-largest product-defect award in US history.

Johnson & Johnson was down a little over 2% this year.

Johnson & Johnson shares.

Receive a single WhatsApp every morning with all our latest news: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa: