A California jury has ordered Colgate & Johnson & Johnson to pay $12M verdict a 61-year old woman who claimed her mesothelioma cancer was caused by using the company’s talcum powder.

California state court jury has ordered Colgate & Johnson & Johnson to pay $12M to a woman who developed mesothelioma after years of using Colgate & J&J products she says were contaminated with asbestos. Attorneys for the plaintiff, Patricia Schmitz, proved that asbestos in the talcum powder products caused her to develop mesothelioma.

talc asbestos lawsuitAlthough defense attorneys argued that Schmitz’s disease was spontaneous, they failed to prove it. The California jury determined that the companies knew about the asbestos and failed to warn consumers, and found them guilty of negligence, though the jury could not agree if they acted with malice, oppression or fraud, which would entitle Schmitz to punitive damages.

Although defense attorneys argued that Schmitz’s disease was spontaneous, they failed to prove it. The California jury determined that the companies knew about the asbestos and failed to warn consumers, and found them guilty of negligence, though the jury could not agree if they acted with malice, oppression or fraud, which would entitle Schmitz to punitive damages.

Johnson & Johnson will appeal, said Johnson & Johnson Spokesperson in a statement.

“We will pursue an appeal because Johnson’s Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer, as supported by decades of independent clinical evidence. There were serious procedural and evidentiary errors in the proceeding that required us to move for a mistrial on multiple occasions, and we believe strong grounds for appeal,” the spokesperson said.

However, Reuters published that Johnson & Johnson knew its baby powder occasionally tested positive for small amounts of asbestos and allegedly covered up the findings. They also announced that Johnson & Johnson had known this since 1971, but never shared that information outside of the company.

What is the link between mesothelioma & talcum powder products?

It is understood that asbestos exposure is the primary risk factor for mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that affects the thin layer of tissue covering your internal organs, most often the lungs. Geologically, talc and asbestos can naturally form alongside each other. Therefore, if talcum powder, contaminated by asbestos, is inhaled, it can lead to mesothelioma. Since the particles of talcum powder are so small, the airborne particles can quickly enter the body and cause damage that results in cancer.

What powders are talc-free?

When people hear or read any news related to the talcum powder and its side effects, they start searching for alternatives. The most commonly used choice is cornstarch. Also, Kaolin clay, bentonite clay, tapioca starch, arrowroot, and baking soda are other talc-free alternatives. Other possible commercial brand product alternatives include Burt’s Bees Baby Dusting Powder, Honeybee Gardens Deodorant Powder, and Nature’s Baby Dusting Powder.

Why is talcum powder still allowed to be sold?

In spite of exposing the dangers associated with talcum powder, baby powder products remain on the shelves of stores. Many manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson are currently facing many lawsuits from women claiming their cancer was the result of talcum powder use. However, the companies are fighting these claims and continue to deny that talc has links to several types of cancers.

Although numerous studies have shown a link between talcum powder and cancer, studies have also demonstrated that not all talc powder contains health risks. Due to this fact, companies are successfully selling their products. Until companies decide to stop selling their talcum powder or the FDA bans asbestos, the sales to consumers will likely continue.

Talcum powder cases are on the rise

Talcum powder lawsuit filings are on the rise. With the recent flood of lawsuits against Johnson and Johson and the numerous verdicts against the company, it is understandable that other women are noticing the news and realizing the risk of the products in causing their injuries. The majority of the claims are for ovarian cancer and mesothelioma while other types of illnesses are still being investigated to see if there exists a causal link between the disease and the talc exposure. Many of the cases have alleged only exposure to the talc itself was the cause of the injuries while a further growing trend is alleging the talc is contaminated with asbestos and leads to asbestos-related illnesses due to asbestos’s propensity to cause mesothelioma.

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