Johnson & Johnson (J&J) conducted tests on its popular baby powder products last month after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had found asbestos in a bottle, triggering a recall of 33,000 bottles. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, just 11 days after the recall, the company announced that it conducted independent tests and found no trace of asbestos. But, based on its review of laboratory reports released by the company, the Journal states that J&J’s push for a rapid turnaround contributed to results “that were more complicated.”
Talcum Powder Lawsuits
The Pennsylvania laboratory hired by J&J here had strayed from its own procedures in order to meet a rushed timetable by adding a testing room that was being used to analyze gunshot residue in crime scene investigations, based on the news article. According to letters J&J got from the testing company, the lab initially found trace amounts of asbestos in some samples of Johnson’s Baby Powder, but later determined that the second room was contaminated by an air-conditioning unit.
Repeat tests in the lab’s regular testing room reportedly found no asbestos. A second lab J&J hired in Georgia told the company its preliminary testing found no asbestos. But, it had not completed its tests when J&J publicly announced on Oct. 29 that its products did not contain asbestos at all. The company has said it is continuing its investigation with ongoing sample testing and will provide an update when it’s available.
J&J is defending lawsuits from nearly 100,000 plaintiffs nationwide, including 16,000 lawsuits that claim its powder caused ovarian cancer in women who used it for feminine hygiene. Many of those lawsuits also allege that the powder caused mesothelioma, a rare cancer, in people who inhaled it. J&J has routinely maintained that its talcum powder is safe, doesn’t contain asbestos and doesn’t cause ovarian cancer. A federal judge is looking at the FDA’s findings to determine whether there is sufficient evidence for the majority of the talcum powder lawsuits to proceed.
Talc, Asbestos and Cancer
Talc, which is the main ingredient in talcum powder, is a natural mineral that is used for a variety of consumer products including baby powder and cosmetics. Talc can often easily become contaminated with asbestos when it is mined because it is found near asbestos in the earth. This has led to mounting concerns over talcum powder products, which have been linked to cases of mesothelioma, lung cancer and ovarian cancer.
The FDA has said talc can be contaminated by asbestos if mines are not carefully selected and if the talc doesn’t go through proper purification processes. Asbestos is widely used in construction and is a known carcinogen. Mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive form of cancer that develops in the linings of vital organs such as the heart, lungs and abdomen. Exposure to asbestos is the only known cause of malignant mesothelioma. The average life expectancy of mesothelioma patients is 12 to 21 months after diagnosis. Common symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath and general fatigue.
Compensation for Affected Victims
A victim who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, ovarian cancer or lung cancer as a result of using these contaminated products may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against J&J seeking compensation for damages including medical expenses, permanent injuries, lost income and benefits, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc. A family that has lost a loved one as a result of these products may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturer seeking compensation.
If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma, ovarian cancer and other adverse health effects as a result of using Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder or other talcum powder products, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
Our firm recovered $1,162,500 for a child who suffered lead poisoning from paint in her apartment. The child’s injuries were subtle and difficult to recognize. We recovered $162,500 above the $1 million dollar total insurance policy in this case. Despite the judge’s efforts to settle the case for $950,000, we fought hard and recovered $162,500 more than the insurance policy of one million dollars. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
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