A California jury has found Johnson & Johnson and several other companies negligent in causing an Oregon woman’s cancer. The plaintiff developed pleural mesothelioma, a debilitating cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, after using Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder for years in her bowling shoes and on her hands. The plaintiff said she also used J&J Baby Powder on her children when they were young to prevent diaper rash. Experts in the case estimated that the plaintiff used the baby powder more than 10,000 times throughout her life.
In the case, the jury found that J&J was negligent because it did not warn consumers about the possible health risks from its talc-containing baby powder. Talc and asbestos are “often mined near each other,” reports CNN, so contamination can and has occurred.
The jury returned a $21.75 million compensatory damage amount on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, reports CNN and after deliberating on punitive damages, the jury came back with an additional $4 million, for a total $25.75 million judgment. The plaintiff was also exposed to asbestos when she watched her husband work on his car, so several other companies were named in the lawsuit including Honeywell/Bendix, Borg Warner, and Fel-Pro.
The jury said, “J&J was liable for two-thirds of the compensatory amount and 100% of the punitive amount.” Honeywell/Bendix, Borg Warner, and Fel-Pro are on the hook for the rest.
CNN reports that many other cases involving asbestos exposure are making their way through court. In April, a New Jersey couple was awarded $117 million after the husband developed mesothelioma after decades of using talcum powder and “a decision could come soon in another asbestos case in South Carolina.”
With so many talc-asbestos cases across the country, consumers may be worried about whether or not they should be using talc-containing products such as J&J Baby Powder. The American Cancer Society advises that until more information is available, people concerned about using talcum powder may want to avoid or limit their use of consumer products that contain it.
If you have been exposed to asbestos, see your doctor right away. There is no cure for mesothelioma. However, early detection could lead to better treatment options and outcomes.
Christensen, Jen. “Johnson & Johnson hit with $25.75 million verdict in talc-asbestos case.” CNN, Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc., 24 May 2018. Web. 12 June 2018.
Christensen, Jen. “New Jersey couple awarded $117 million in talcum powder case.” CNN, Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc., 11 Apr 2018. Web. 12 June 2018.
“Talcum Powder and Cancer.” American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society, Inc., 13 Nov. 2017. Web. 12 June 2018.