Cincinnati, Ohio Toxic Exposure Lawyer investigating baby powder asbestos cancer cases related to talcum powder products on behalf of plaintiffs nationwide
Before the 1970s, health safety agencies paid little attention to asbestos-related illnesses. But that changed quickly when global studies showed asbestos exposure likely caused cancer. The majority of asbestos cancer cases involve workers handling asbestos materials and later developing lung cancer. But ovarian cancer has also been linked to asbestos exposure.
According to an investigative report by Reuters, the FDA has downplayed health concerns about asbestos contamination in baby powder and cosmetics. The safety agency relied on Johnson & Johnson to regulate themselves, and to test the safety of their own products.
Now, as women are coming forward with ovarian cancer and mesothelioma diagnoses, there are thousands of baby powder asbestos cancer lawsuits pending. Johnson & Johnson still claims their talc products are safe for use, and deny wrongdoing.
But with evidence that baby powder products have tested positive for cancer-causing toxins, the litigation is moving forward. Huge verdicts have been awarded to plaintiffs in the last two years.
According to plaintiffs, Johnson & Johnson, the company that manufacturers the iconic brand of baby powder, failed to warn customers that its talcum powder was tainted with toxic asbestos.
Even if the FDA had doubts about consumer safety, the agency downplayed the risk of talc asbestos contamination and chose not to issue warnings or impose any new safety standards. In fairness to the FDA, they rarely ordered third-party tests for products as the number of new cosmetic products to hit the market is overwhelming.
Only recently, with thousands of ovarian cancer cases pending, as well as a criminal investigation, the FDA ordered tests that found asbestos in 11 talc-based cosmetics, including J&J’s Baby Powder. The company recalled 33,000 bottles, but still sells the product.
With corporations regulating themselves, it is no surprise that defective products are released to the market each year. With only fears of litigation, companies can produce dangerous and toxic products and have no need to worry about FDA approval. Self-regulation simply does not work in most industries.
With that said, the FDA has said its resources to properly regulate the cosmetic industry are limited. In fact, even if product defects are found, the FDA has no power to force companies to pull toxic products from the shelf. FDA officials say their policy is to encourage recalls if necessary.
J&J did recall a small amount of Baby Powder, out of an “abundance of caution.” The company says their cosmetics are safe and the baby powder asbestos tests were an anomaly, and hardly the norm. Experts tend to disagree, however, and the massive amount of lawsuits pending show that plaintiffs have every intention of holding the company responsible for cancer cases.
The FDA first started looking into talc safety hazards in 1971, and two later they found asbestos in a sample of Johnson & Johnson Shower to Shower, a talc-based product made with the same talc as J&J’s Baby Powder. The FDA did not announce the finding. At the time, the regulators said the finding did not present a serious enough risk to consumers.
Fifty years later, with so many cancer cases at the forefront of talc litigation, plaintiffs wonder seriously if the risk was completely overlooked, or if the company knew the risks and chose to profit instead of warn consumers.
Asbestos refers to a group of six minerals that can easily be ingested or inhaled, and are known to cause lung and ovarian cancer. According to a letter produced in litigation, a 1974 letter from J&J to the FDA noted that if babies were exposed to talc powder with a 1% asbestos concentration, it would be a lower concentration than allowed in the 1970s for industrial workers.
The company still says even if there were trace amounts of asbestos in their products, it was not enough to present a health risk. Into the 1980s, however, other researchers began suggesting that at least a warning label be applied to baby powder products. No warning label has even been added to the talc products in question.
The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified the use of talcum powder in the pelvic region as “possibly carcinogenic.”
In court, juries have sided with plaintiffs. A Missouri jury concluded J&J’s baby powder caused a woman’s ovarian cancer, and awarded $72 million. The company faces more than 16,000 baby powder asbestos cancer lawsuits.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer after using baby powder or other cosmetics, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer critical questions regarding talc lawsuits.