Over the past couple of years, safety concerns about Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder has led to thousands of lawsuits from women claiming the company knew about the potential cancer risks associated with its product. Johnson & Johnson has been forced to pay millions to cancer victims after reports from the 1970s surfaced describing a series of studies that linked talcum powder to ovarian cancer.
Despite the fact some studies show that women who use talcum powder daily have a 20 percent higher chance of developing ovarian cancer, Johnson & Johnson has managed to win a number of these trials, all while maintaining that science supports their contention that baby powder is perfectly safe. Now Johnson & Johnson is faced with another lawsuit regarding their talc-based products being linked to mesothelioma – a rare and deadly cancer who’s only known cause is asbestos exposure.
Talc is a naturally occurring mineral typically found in metamorphic rocks and convergent plate boundaries. To mine talc, the mineral is blasted, drilled, and crushed from an open pit mine, and then taken to a particle mill to have impurities and other contaminates removed. Talc and asbestos are often found near one another, and if not cared for properly, asbestos particles could make their way into the talcum powder. A man from New Brunswick, New Jersey is claiming that the Johnson & Johnson baby powder he used frequently over the course of his life time has caused him to contract mesothelioma. A recent handwritten memo from 1973 shows that Johnson & Johnson may have suspected that their product contained asbestos and even posed the question that if their product contained even just one percent asbestos, how much of that would be inhaled by an individual when used?
The memo goes on to conclude that the amount of potential exposure would be less than what an asbestos miner would be exposed to, which was the current legal limit at the time. Johnson & Johnson has always maintained that their products have been asbestos free, but if that was truly the case, research would not have had to be been done to determine amounts of potential asbestos exposure unless the company privately thought they had an asbestos problem. Opening arguments in the New Jersey trial began this week.
Mesothelioma is often associated with steelworkers, construction workers, shipyard workers, and military personnel who were exposed to asbestos through the equipment they used or the products they produced in the mid-20th century. Asbestos companies and manufacturers knew about the dangers of asbestos but failed to inform and ultimately protect their workers. It wasn’t until the dangers of asbestos became known that companies began to admit their negligence and responsibility; many being forced to file for bankruptcy.
If you are suffering from ovarian cancer or mesothelioma you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Contact the attorneys at Goldberg, Persky & White, P.C. for a free case review and find more information about the compensation you deserve.
Myron Levin, “Baby Powder Battles: Johnson & Johnson Documents Reflect Internal Asbestos Concerns,” McClatchy DC Bureau (January 17, 2017). [Link]