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Johnson Johnson Asbestos
FILE - This Oct. 10, 2008, file photo illustration shows Johnson &amp; Johnson products, in Philadelphia. Johnson &amp; Johnson is forcefully denying a media report that it knew for decades of the existence of trace amounts of asbestos in its baby powder. The report Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, by the Reuters news service sent company shares into a tailspin, suffering their worst sell-off in 16 years. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Johnson & Johnson shares tank after report alleges company knew of asbestos in baby powder

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NEW YORK (AP) — Johnson & Johnson is forcefully denying a media report that it knew for decades about the existence of trace amounts of asbestos in its baby powder.

The report Friday by the Reuters news service sent company shares into a tailspin, suffering their worst sell-off in 16 years.

Reuters is citing documents released as part of a lawsuit by plaintiffs claiming that the product can be linked to ovarian cancer. The New Jersey company has battled in court against such claims and on Friday called the Reuters report, "one-sided, false and inflammatory."

Shares are down more than 9 percent, the most severe decline since 2002.

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