A bombshell report by Reuters news agency in late 2018 revealed that Johnson & Johnson has known for decades that its baby powder products were contaminated by asbestos, a mineral known to cause cancer. The company failed to disclose that information publicly. According to the story, the company’s raw talc and talcum powder tested positive for trace amounts of asbestos on several occasions between 1971 and 2003. Internal company memos, reports, and other documents revealed during subsequent lawsuits show that the company knew of the danger.
Talc is a mineral consisting mainly of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen, and sometimes contains asbestos in its natural form. Asbestos has been linked to mesothelioma, as well as ovarian and other cancers. After insisting that its baby powder is safe to use and dismissing the Reuters story as an “absurd conspiracy theory,” Johnson & Johnson issued a voluntary recall on October 18, 2019, for one lot of its baby powder after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found trace levels of chrysotile asbestos contamination.
Since then, juries have returned billions of dollars in verdicts for plaintiffs, and lawsuits continue to pour into courts all over the country. Johnson & Johnson currently faces more than 16,000 lawsuits, the majority of which are consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Hundreds more are pending in state courts. It also faces a federal criminal investigation into how forthright it has been about the products’ safety.
People who have used a cosmetic or commercial talcum powder product and developed ovarian cancer or mesothelioma may be eligible to file a talcum powder lawsuit. For individuals who developed ovarian cancer, they must show that they used talc-containing products around the genital area daily or almost daily before developing ovarian cancer. Notably, those who used baby powders made from cornstarch are not eligible for these lawsuits, because cornstarch-based powders do not contain talc. The following products are implicated in cancer lawsuits:
- Johnson’s Baby Powder
- Shower to Shower
- Gold Bond No Mess Powder Spray
- Gold Bond Body Powder
- Gold Bond Extra Strength Body Powder.
Recently, a New Jersey state jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay punitive damages of $750 million to four plaintiffs. During an earlier phase of the trial, a different jury held the company liable for the plaintiffs’ cancers and awarded them $37.2 million in compensation.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or a form of cancer mentioned above and used any of the talc-containing Johnson & Johnson products associated with these lawsuits, you may have a legal claim for compensation. The attorneys at Allen & Allen are experienced in product liability claims like this one. Please call us at (866) 388- 1307. We are here to help.