Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder is pure white, silky soft and smells like clean babies and springtime, but it could be tainted with carcinogenic asbestos. The problem is, the company has known that its product has been and could be tainted with asbestos, but they have kept this information from consumers. Even as women who had used the product daily for decades as a feminine hygiene product, and inhaled traces of it as they sprinkled baby powder on their babies, began dying of the rare lung disease mesothelioma, J&J insisted that their product was asbestos-free.
But an investigative report published by Reuters on December 14, 2018 exposed the truth: about how J&J knew that at least three tests from three different labs, between 1972 to 1975, found asbestos in the talc. In one case the lab report said that the levels were,”rather high,” but this was never reported to the FDA. The Reuters report reveals that in 1976, J&J assured the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that asbestos has not detected in any sample of the talc they produced between December 1970 and October 1973.
Women with lung and ovarian cancer pursue justice against J&J
Darlene Coker’s case was highlighted in the Reuters story. She was a mom of two daughters, and she was dying of mesothelioma when she started to suspect that Johnson’s Baby Powder might be the culprit. Baby powder is made from talc, a soft mineral mined from the earth often close to places where asbestos is also mined from the earth, which can contaminate the talc with asbestos fibers. Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and the World Health Organization (WHO) does not recognize any safe level of exposure to asbestos. Most people who have been exposed to the microscopic amounts of asbestos in talc never get cancer while some who are exposed to trace amounts of asbestos may be diagnosed with cancer decades after exposure.
Mrs. Coker may have been the first woman to file a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson for cancer from exposure to asbestos in their talcum powder. Her lawsuit was unsuccessful because she was unable to get her hands on the documents which show that there has been asbestos found in the talk J&J uses for its cosmetic powders, and that they knowingly concealed this information from the FDA and consumers of their products.
Those are the very documents that the Reuters investigation uncovered.
There were two cases in 2018 where juries awarded huge damages to plaintiffs who claimed that J&J’s talcum powder caused their cancers. A St. Louis jury awarded 22 plaintiffs who complained that Johnson’s baby powder and Shower to Shower caused ovarian cancer, $4.69 billion. In other cases, there have been mistrials, and plaintiffs have failed to convince the jury that their cancers were caused by asbestos tainted talc. J&J is appealing all the verdicts in the cases where they have lost.
In a story on CNBC.com, Johnson & Johnson Chairman & CEO Alex Gorsky defended his company saying, “We unequivocally believe that our talc, our baby powder, does not contain asbestos.” Shares of the company’s stock took a 10% dive when the Reuter’s report was released, resulting in billions in market losses for the Big Pharma company.
What to do if you have ovarian or lung cancer, and you are a longtime user of Johnson & Johnson talc products
If you believe that your use of J&J talc products has caused your ovarian or lung cancer, you can schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable New Jersey product liability attorney from Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP. We have built a reputation for taking on hard cases against giant conglomerates. This is complex litigation; you deserve a lawyer who will do what it takes to get you the best possible results.
If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and used talcum powder consistently, there may be an unfortunate link. Please call the New Jersey injury lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP at 732-384-1331, or contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case. Our offices are conveniently located in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, and we serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.