Johnson & Johnson is no stranger to lawsuits. Currently they are fighting battles on multiple fronts; Risperdal, breast implants and baby powder. On the talc baby powder front, J&J has lost several key battles after jurors believed that the popular baby powder product caused cancer in women.
The likely reason? Asbestos in the talc. A single strand of asbestos is believed capable of causing ovarian cancer or cancer of the fallopian tube. (Considerable attention has also been focused on baby powder that gets inhaled. Once again, any asbestos in the powder can cause lung cancer or mesothelioma.)
What does Johnson & Johnson say about its talc based baby powder? They deny the existence of asbestos. With that as a background, we are sure that J&J wasn’t too pleased when it announced a recall of some of its baby powder products.
The reason? Testing by the FDA found a small trace of asbestos.
Despite the FDA’s findings, J&J continues to claim its baby powder is safe. In response to the FDA findings, the company issued a statement saying,
“Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc has a rigorous testing standard in place to ensure its cosmetic talc is safe and years of testing including the FDA’s own testing on prior occasions and as recently as last month found no asbestos. Thousands of tests over the past 40 years repeatedly confirm that our consumer talc products do not contain asbestos. Our talc comes from ore sources confirmed to meet our stringent specifications that exceed industry standards. Not only do we test and our suppliers routinely test to ensure our talc does not contain asbestos, our talc has also been tested and confirmed to be asbestos free by a range of independent laboratories, universities and global health authorities.”
While Johnson & Johnson continues to claim its talc based baby powder is asbestos free, the noose continues to tighten.
Already in 2019, we discovered that J&J is being investigated by a criminal grand jury in Washington. Prosecutors are trying to determine if the company lied to the public about the cancer risks of its baby powder.
The investigations are tied to internal company documents that allegedly show that as far back as the 1970’s, J&J scientists were saying that asbestos in their talcum powder created a “severe health hazard.”
According to Bloomberg News, FBI agents and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are “almost surely” looking at whether J&J officials’ public denials that their talc-based products ever contained asbestos were truthful. A former federal prosecutor, Henry Klingeman, said, “Since J&J is a public company, they are probably looking at whether their statements amounted to fraudulent statements to consumers and regulators. I’d also think they’d be looking at whether they violated securities-fraud laws.”
In recent years, talcum baby powder lawsuits have cost J&J approximately $5 billion. But with 14,000 lawsuits pending, the costs could well enter 11 figures. Despite a string of wins by cancer patients, J&J has had moderate success in pushing back on appeal.
The findings by the FDA certainly won’t help things.
Cancer and Baby Powder
Talcum powder is not dangerous. Nor is baby powder made from cornstarch. Talc, however, is often mined where asbestos is found. Johnson & Johnson says it goes to great length to mine in asbestos free areas although there is evidence that suggests that as early as 1969 the company knew its baby powder may have contained trace amounts of asbestos.
Women who use baby powder in the genital region have a higher chance of ovarian and fallopian tube cancer. And that certainly isn’t caused by chemically inert talc. Experts believe that the cancer is caused by tiny strands of asbestos, a known carcinogen.
Because baby powder is easily inhaled, experts also believed it is linked to mesothelioma. All of these cancers are deadly killers.
Are You a Regular User of Talcum Powder and Now Suffering from Cancer?
The best link thus far is that between ovarian cancer and talcum powder. Most of the cases filed to date are for patients suffering from ovarian cancer. If that describes you – or a loved one who recently passed away – contact us immediately.
Most pathology labs save tissue samples for 10 years. That means we can often hire an expert to see if there is evidence of asbestos fibers in the samples.
Fallopian tube cancer is very rare. To our knowledge none of the cases involving fallopian tube cancer and talc have gone ton trial. We do believe, however, that the pathology is quite similar.
Finally, we are also investigating talcum powder users who developed mesothelioma. Once again, there is not much data on how juries deal with inhaled baby powder cases. We are aware of one successful mesothelioma baby powder lawsuit and two where the jury couldn’t reach a verdict.
To learn more, visit our Johnson & Johnson baby powder cancer investigation page. There you will find our criteria for screening cases; the things we look for in deciding to take on a new client.
Throughout this post we referred to talcum powder made by Johnson & Johnson. They are by far the largest company selling talcum baby powder but they aren’t the only company. The other two big players are Shower to Shower by Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Baby Magic Baby Powder (presently owned by Naterra but previously made by Colgate-Palmolive, Playtex and Mennen).
Think you may have a case? To speak to a lawyer and find out if you may qualify for compensation from Johnson & Johnson and others for ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer or mesothelioma, contact us online, by email or by phone at 202-800-9791.
Do you or did you work for J&J? We would also love to speak with you. Off the record of course. Help us to stop the needless suffering by women around the world. All inquiries are protected by the attorney – client privilege and kept strictly confidential.