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Consumer healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) recently recalled 33,000 bottles of its popular baby powder after tests by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found traces of asbestos (Johnson & Johnson Recalls Baby Powder Over Asbestos Worry). The recall represents the first time J&J has removed any of its baby powder products from the marketplace despite decades of concerns that talc causes cancer.
The FDA’s findings could have an enormous impact on the more than 15,000 lawsuits that have been filed against J&J alleging the development of cancer, including mesothelioma and ovarian cancer, from the use of baby powder and other talc-based products. “I can’t imagine an attorney for Johnson & Johnson standing up in front of a jury now and saying with a straight face that the product is safe,” said Rutgers University law professor David Noll.
Plaintiffs in talc lawsuits have contended for years that J&J failed to warn its baby powder customers of possible asbestos contamination, despite longtime knowledge of the risks. Last year the New York Times uncovered internal memos and reports proving that J&J executives have suspected asbestos contamination in talc for over 50 years.
Nevertheless, J&J continued its longstanding denial of any dangers presented by its products, releasing a statement that “thousands of tests over the past 40 years repeatedly confirm that our consumer talc products do not contain asbestos.” Spokeswoman Gloria Sánchez-Contreras responded that “the F.D.A. stands by the quality of its testing and results” and recommended that consumers stop using baby powder from the tainted lot immediately.
J&J attempted to calm fears about the dangers posed by its talc products by stressing that the asbestos detected was a small percentage of the sample, but United States health agencies have found no known safe level of exposure to asbestos. As one would expect, health risks are indeed greater with increased exposure to asbestos, but the National Cancer Institute has discovered diseases in people with only extremely brief exposures.
The FDA’s discovery of asbestos in baby powder products currently offered for sale to consumers only makes the case stronger for those who have developed cancer from exposure to J&J’s products.
If you have mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, or another form of cancer and have been exposed to products containing talc, please call Davis, Bethune & Jones at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will ensure that your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you deserve.