I have written previously about Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and the claim that it causes certain types of cancer. Baby powder is made of talc, which is mined from the earth. The claim is that talc works its way into the body and can lead to cancer, often uterine cancer in women.
In addition, talc is often mined near asbestos deposits, and talc can be contaminated with asbestos. Asbestos is indisputably carcinogenic and causes mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that affects the lining of vital organs. Up until recently, J & J has always denied any link between its Baby Powder and asbestos.
But over the past few years, J & J has been hit with numerous significant verdicts based on allegations that users of its Baby Powder developed mesothelioma because they inhaled asbestos contained in the product. For example, just this past September, a jury in New Jersey, Johnson & Johnson's home state, awarded $37.3 million.
In a first, J & J has finally acknowledged what plaintiffs have been alleging all over the country—that at least some of its Baby Powder is contaminated with asbestos. On October 18, 2019, J & J announced that “out of an abundance of caution”, it was voluntarily recalling a single lot of Baby Powder because FDA testing had demonstrated “sub-trace levels” of asbestos to the tune of .00002% in samples the FDA purchased from an online retailer.
J & J tried to put the best face possible on this recall, contending that it conducts “rigorous testing” to “ensure its cosmetic talc is safe and years of testing” have revealed no contamination. But as law professor David Noll observed in the New York Times, “I can't imagine an attorney for Johnson & Johnson saying with a straight face that the product is safe.” (Johnson & Johnson Recalls Baby Powder Over Asbestos Worry, New York Times, October 18, 2019)
In any event, J & J continues to face thousands of talc lawsuits, and it maintains its vigorous defense of this product. Please contact us if you feel that you or a family member has been injured by use of J& J Baby Powder.