Johnson & Johnson intends to repeal a judgment that ordered them to pay $29 million to a woman in California who developed Mesothelioma from their baby powder.
Plaintiff, Terry Leavitt, testified that she regularly used Johnson & Johnson baby powder throughout the 60s and 70s when the product contained talc. In 2017, she was diagnosed with Mesothelioma – a form of cancer that develops from asbestos exposure. After two days of deliberating, a jury found that the talc-based products were defective and failed to warn consumers about the risks awarding Leavitt $29.4 million in damages. Current research shows that pure talcum powder does not cause Mesothelioma but that talc that has been contaminated with asbestos can cause Mesothelioma. Johnson & Johnson deny that their products contain asbestos and therefore are not responsible for Leavitt’s health problems.
The fight will be an uphill battle for Johnson & Johnson who are facing numerous lawsuits. According to Reuters, the company faces 13,000 talc-related lawsuits nationwide. In December, The New York Times reported that documents showed that Johnson & Johnson was worried about their products containing asbestos. Asbestos can grow naturally underground near talc. An internal memo from a company executive at Johnson & Johnson warned that their talc mines might not be free of asbestos and that their talc powder contained particles that “might be classified as asbestos powder.”
Their talc produces were recently linked to ovarian cancer. Last year 22 women were awarded $4.7 billion after they successful filed a personal injury lawsuit alleging that Johnson & Johnson’s products caused them to develop ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson are also appealing that decision. This shouldn’t prevent you from buying Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder. The product since the mid-1970s is no longer made with talc but with corn starch and comes in several different scents and varieties.
Johnson & Johnson also recently came under fire for a baby shampoo that contained formaldehyde – another chemical that is linked to cancer. The chemical has since been removed from products.