A new 33-patient case study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine provides some of the strongest evidence yet that exposure to talcum powder contaminated with asbestos may cause malignant mesothelioma, a rare and lethal cancer that affects the tissue that lines internal organs. According to a report in Time.com, this is not just an important scientific discovery, but it also empowers tens of thousands of plaintiffs. Many victims have brought talcum powder lawsuits against companies such as Johnson & Johnson whose popular brand of Baby Powder has been named in these cases.
In this study, researchers presented the case studies of 33 people, mostly women, who were confirmed to have had malignant mesothelioma. Their only substantial exposure to asbestos was through talcum powder use. So, that ruled out other causes of the disease since exposure to asbestos is the primary risk factor for developing malignant mesothelioma. Six individuals whom the authors discussed in detail underwent tissue testing that showed fibers consistent with the type of asbestos that is found in cosmetic talc, but not in products such as building supplies and insulation. Some of these people had used talcum powder for decades.
Asbestos, Talc and Mesothelioma
Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals that has been labeled as a human carcinogen by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other public health groups. Asbestos has been linked not just to mesothelioma, but also ovarian and lung cancers. Talc is mined in areas where asbestos is also found, which is how such contamination can occur.
Talc is commonly used in cosmetics such as blush and facial makeup. While we’ve known since the 1970s that asbestos contamination can be dangerous to consumers’ health, manufacturers of cosmetic products have pledged to use talc that is free from detectable levels of asbestos.
However, the cosmetic industry is not very well regulated and there are still concerns over talcum powder tainted with asbestos. In 2018, a Reuters investigation found that Johnson & Johnson (J&J) knew for decades that some of its Baby Powder was contaminated with asbestos. But, the corporation did not inform the public or federal regulators about it.
In March, a California jury awarded more than $29 million to a woman who claimed talcum powder products manufactured by J&J contributed to her mesothelioma. Last year, a jury ordered J&J to pay more than $4 billion in damages to a group of women who said J&J’s talcum powder products caused their ovarian cancer after they had used it for decades. On Oct. 18, J&J recalled a single lot of its Baby Powder after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found sub-trace levels of asbestos contamination in one bottle of powder purchased online.
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 dangerous and defective products may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against a 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 has not independently confirmed that Johnson & Johnson is liable, but some juries have so found.
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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