Virginia residents may have heard about a judge ruling that the company Johnson and Johnson must pay a $100 million settlement after a lawsuit alleged that the company’s baby powder contained harmful amounts of asbestos. In 2018, the New York Times discovered that Johnson and Johnson had known for over 50 years that its baby powder might be contaminated with trace amounts of asbestos. The company claimed in a public statement that the baby powder contained no asbestos. However, the FDA revealed that the baby powder contained trace amounts of asbestos after testing a bottle.
Since 2016, the company has been facing over 20,000 lawsuits from people who allege that the asbestos in Johnson and Johnson products caused diseases like mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. The mass tort litigation received its first settlement in October 2020 when a judge ruled a multi-million-dollar payout. However, the settlement only covers 1,000 cases; Johnson and Johnson still has tens of thousands of pending cases regarding asbestos in the baby powder.
In one statement, Johnson and Johnson continued to insist that the baby powder is completely safe and free of cancer-causing agents. However, the company discontinued the old baby powder and started selling a new cornstarch-based product in May 2019. According to the company, it made the switch due to a campaign of misinformation about its products.
How can an individual take legal action?
Every year, thousands of people are diagnosed with mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. If an individual suspects that their disease was caused by asbestos exposure, they might wish to hire an attorney to help them pursue legal action. They may be able to join the mass tort litigation that has resulted in several large payouts for victims. An attorney might help their client gather evidence and launch a lawsuit against the company responsible.