Some West Virginia consumers have filed lawsuits alleging that they contracted cancer after years of using talc powder made by Johnson & Johnson. After years of denying that the talc powder was dangerous, the company pulled its product from the US market. Now nonprofits are urging Johnson & Johnson to halt global sales of this product.
The alleged danger associated with talc powder is that the product is tainted with asbestos. The company has long denied this and has hired researchers that have published numerous studies disputing this allegation. However, some juries have found the company civilly liable for cases of cancer in lawsuits. For example, one Missouri jury awarded roughly $4 billion to 22 women who claimed that the talc powder caused their ovarian cancer.
Several tests conducted last year found asbestos in lots of baby powder. The FDA indicated at the time that it intended to conduct future tests to get more information. The company pulled the product, claiming that “misinformation” had tanked US sales. Nonetheless, Johnson & Johnson has continued to sell the product around the world despite the decades of research that have found that it is dangerous. A coalition of nonprofit organizations is asking the company to reconsider its decision to keep selling the product after it halted US sales. However, the company still continues to try to profit from higher demand elsewhere.
When a product as widely used as talc powder is alleged to have sickened scores of people, it leads to mass tort lawsuits. These court actions can lead to higher settlements as the injuries suffered are usually severe. However, these lawsuits are contested vigorously by the defendants because settling lawsuits could cost the company billions of dollars. Thus, one needs a mass tort attorney to file the lawsuit and litigate it in court.
Source: Reuters, “Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder,” Lisa Girion, December 14, 2018