Johnson & Johnson is discontinuing its talc-based baby powder products in the United States and Canada after facing thousands of product liability lawsuits that alleged asbestos contamination in them caused cancer. According to a report in Time.com, J&J said it stopped shipping hundreds of talc-based items after coming to a commercial decision to discontinue them.
Surge in Lawsuits
The company has been hit by numerous lawsuits accusing it of concealing the cancer risks linked to its talc-based version of baby powder since 2014. Juries nationwide have slammed J&J with verdicts that amount to billions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages over this issue. The company’s cornstarch-based baby powder, which has been in the market since 1980, will continue to be sold in North America.
In October, the company recalled a single lot of 33,000 bottles of Baby Powder and took it off the market after a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) test uncovered small amounts of asbestos in one bottle of baby powder. The company then carried out its own lab tests and said it found no sign of the contaminant in the recalled lot. Health regulators, however, stuck to their findings. J&J officials said last month alone they saw a 15% increase in the number of lawsuits over its talc-based baby powder products. Presently, J&J continues to claim that its talcum powder products are safe and don’t cause cancer.
Recent Court Decision
Johnson & Johnson’s decision to stop sales comes just three weeks after a judge released a 141-page opinion refuting J&J’s claims that plaintiffs’ (the victims’) lawyers in a 16,000-lawsuit multidistrict litigation (MDL) intended to present “junk science.” The judge essentially ruled that all five of the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses would be allowed to testify. This decision will allow plaintiffs to argue that J&J negligently (carelessly) sold them the talcum powder contaminated with asbestos, which has been linked to cancer cases.
Talc is a soft mineral and the main ingredient in talcum powder and several other cosmetics. It is a natural mineral that often becomes contaminated with asbestos when it is mined since it is found near asbestos in the earth. This has led to mounting concerns over talcum powder products, which have been tied 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. 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 the manufacturer 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 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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