>> Shares of Johnson & Johnson plunging 10%, Friday, the stock's biggest one-day nosedive in 16 and a half years. The massive sell-off coming after a Reuters report claims, the healthcare giant knew its baby powder was contaminated with cancer causing asbestos for decades. Reuters investigative reporter, Lisa Girion broke the story after digging through court documents tied through thousands of lawsuits.
>> The company, because of this litigation has been compelled to produce hundreds of thousands of pages of document. Some of them, test reports and memos that talk about asbestos or concerns about asbestos, or how do we get rid of asbestos. How do we identify asbestos, these documents span from 1957 through 2013.
>> J&J called the report quote, false and inflammatory.>> So just to be clear, Johnson & Johnson's position is that it's talc and baby powder is asbestos free. They point to hundreds of tests conducted since the 70s that have failed to find asbestos in their powders.>> The company has been battling legal claims its baby powder and shower to shower products cause ovarian cancer.
The products have also been linked with a rare and deadly form of cancer, known as mesothelioma. It's been ordered by the courts to pay millions of dollars to customers. But some of those verdicts were later overturned. Investors however, fear J&J could face new punitive and reputational damage. The bombshell report, wiping out as much as $47 billion in market value from the blue chip stock.
Making it Friday's biggest loser in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.