A jury in California ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $29.4 million to a woman who believes her regular use of Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder caused her to develop mesothelioma.
In March 2019, A California jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $29.4M verdict to a woman diagnosed with mesothelioma who claimed that asbestos in its talc-based powder products had caused her cancer. The jury awarded $22 million to Teresa Leavitt for her suffering and pain, $5 million to compensate her family members, $1.2 million for her lost wages and nearly $1.3 million for her medical costs.
The jury found that Johnson & Johnson knew about the potential risks associated with asbestos in its baby powder, but failed to warn Teresa Leavitt, a resident of San Leandro. Ms. Leavitt received a diagnosis of mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of internal organs that is associated with asbestos exposure, in August 2017. Her lawyer, Joseph D. Satterley, said she had used Johnson & Johnson talc products for more than 30 years.
Johnson & Johnson’s spokeswoman Kimberly Montagnino said in a statement,
"We are disappointed with today's verdict and will pursue an appeal because Johnson's Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer."
What is Talcum Powder?
According to the sun report, Talcum powder produced from talc is a clay mineral composed of silicon, magnesium, and oxygen. People have taken advantage of its soft and absorbent properties since the time of the ancient Egyptians. In talc’s most natural form, it contains asbestos, which is known to cause cancer in the lungs when inhaled, but all talcum products in the US have been asbestos-free since the 1970s. Now talc is used for a variety of reasons in products such as baby powder, chewing gum and sweets, and even in olive oil.
What are the Side Effects of Talcum Powder?
From the last couple of years, many side effects of talcum powder have become exposed, and most of them linked to cancer due to the traces of asbestos. According to recent reports, Long-term exposure to talc can cause harmful and potentially life-threatening side effects. Concerns typically stem from the link between talc and different types of cancer – specifically, ovarian, mesothelioma, endometrial, and lung cancers.
Moreover, talc is a powder when becoming airborne, and inhaled is linked to various respiratory issues. Over time, breathing in talc can cause wheezing, coughing, and other lung irritation. These symptoms may lead to pneumonia, asthma, or talcosis. Talcosis is a progressive pulmonary disease that can trigger irreversible conditions, like lung fibrosis and respiratory failure.
In spite of having so many side effects, Johnson & Johnson failed many times to warn Talcum powder customers. And that’s why many customers have complained against the Company under Talcum Powder Lawsuit.
What do the Studies Say About Talcum Powder?
Due to several serious side effects, the use of talcum powder has become a controversial issue. Therefore many medical institutes and organizations are studying and experimenting on talcum powder.
In December 2018, an agency of the Canadian government, Health Canada evaluated the association between talc-containing body products and various health concerns. They have issued a draft report concluding that using talc powder on the genital area increased the risk of ovarian cancer. Additionally, they are considering warning labels and other mitigation strategies.
According to the reports, The Canadian Paediatric Society also advises against the use of talcum powder – long used by parents to prevent diaper rash – for infants and babies.
Although there are a few reports also, which are in favor of talcum powder, most studies have shown the link between talcum powder and cancer is due to being contaminated with asbestos.