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 contaminated baby powder 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.
Joe Lyon is a Cincinnati, Ohio Product Liability and Asbestos Attorney investigating baby powder asbestos exposure lawsuits on behalf of plaintiffs nationwide.
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.
ABOUT THE LYON FIRM
Joseph Lyon has 17 years of experience representing individuals in complex litigation matters. He has represented individuals in every state against many of the largest companies in the world.
The Firm focuses on single-event civil cases and class actions involving corporate neglect & fraud, toxic exposure, product defects & recalls, medical malpractice, and invasion of privacy.
NO COST UNLESS WE WIN
The Firm offers contingency fees, advancing all costs of the litigation, and accepting the full financial risk, allowing our clients full access to the legal system while reducing the financial stress while they focus on their healthcare and financial needs.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was first utilized in the early 1900s for its insulating abilities, fireproof properties, and versatility. It has been estimated that over 30 million tons of asbestos was used in the American economy in industrial yards, homes, schools, shipyards, and other workplaces.
Talcum powder products may be contaminated with asbestos as talc and asbestos may have been mixed in the mining and production process.
There are serious concerns that baby powder and other talc products like cosmetics have been contaminated with asbestos over the years, leading to cancer cases.
If you were exposed to asbestos and have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, contact a toxic exposure attorney to review your case.
If you regularly used a talc product that led to serious illness or cancer, the company that sold the product is accountable for a lack of oversight, lack of testing and lack of consumer health warnings.
The success rates of settlements regarding asbestos exposure injury are quite high. It may be necessary to prove that consumer baby powder exposure is the primary cause of your ovarian cancer or lung cancer, though with extensive use of talcum products and a cancer diagnosis, the Lyon Firm can fight for a settlement.
The Lyon Firm aggressively, professionally, and passionately advocates for injured individuals and families against companies due to asbestos exposure.