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Johnson & Johnson Discontinues Talc-Based Baby Powder

Cincinnati, Ohio product liability lawyer and consumer safety attorney reviewing talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits and the move by Johnson & Johnson to discontinue talc products

Johnson & Johnson’s original baby powder will no longer be sold in the U.S. The company announced the news of discontinued talc in the North American market, a move that follows years of litigation and allegations that J&J talcum powder may have been contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen.

Johnson and Johnson baby powder has been an iconic product for the company for decades, and has sold well even in the face of lawsuits filed by thousands of plaintiffs who claim their ovarian cancer is linked to the long-term use of the talc powder.

J&J’s decision to halt sales of the product is a long time coming, according to plaintiffs and consumer safety advocates who have called for the removal of contaminated talcum powder products for years. For more than a century, talc was promoted for many uses, though in recent years the safety has been questioned.

Existing bottles on shelves will be sold by retailers, and cornstarch alternatives will still be available. In other global markets the talc-based baby powder products will still be sold.

Joe Lyon is a Cincinnati, Ohio attorney reviewing toxic exposure cases and personal injury lawsuits related to discontinued talc products.

Johnson & Johnson Talc Sales Halted

J&J has cited faulty testing, and loose science in regards to reports that conclude their talc has been contaminated with asbestos. But that has not stopped a flood of product liability lawsuits filed by plaintiffs who allege talcum powder products are responsible for their cases of ovarian cancer.

Lawyer have said the manufacturers have not issued warnings stating potential safety risks that were discussed internally. Johnson & Johnson has acknowledged that demand has dipped for their talc-based baby powder as news has highlighted pending lawsuits.

With the withdrawal of its best-selling baby powder, the company remains adamant that it has done nothing illegal, and will continue to battle in court. Attorneys have broached the idea of mass settlements in thousands of talc cancer cases, though J&J has not yielded to the legal pressure.

Does Talc Contain Asbestos?

For many years, the main ingredient in baby powder was talc, a mineral used for its softness. As early as 1980, consumer advocates raised concerns that talc could contain small amounts of asbestos, a known carcinogen. Johnson and Johnson developed a cornstarch alternative, though left the talcum powder product on the market.

Plaintiffs have won large verdicts against J&J, arguing that their ovarian cancer was linked to a history of baby powder use. Many lawsuits are still in progress, though J&J says the scientific research allowed in courts is inconclusive. Plaintiffs’ lawyers have been arguing that traces of asbestos were present in talc products and could possibly lead to cancer.

Asbestos contamination may occur when talc is mined.  Asbestos was first associated with ovarian cancer in the late 1950s. J&J recalled 33,000 bottles of baby powder in 2019 after the FDA said it discovered evidence of asbestos in a sample bottle.

Talcum Powder Cancer Litigation

Johnson & Johnson faces almost 20,000 lawsuits related to talc powders, many of them hinging on the testimony of medical experts. A federal judge ruled in April 2020 that plaintiffs’ scientific experts could testify in trials, another legal blow to the company.

Thus far, plaintiffs’ success has been mixed in courts. Some juries and judged have sided with the defendants, saying the scientific evidence is inconclusive, while others have handed down huge verdicts in favor of plaintiffs. J&J has won appeals, and has appealed almost every verdict against the company.

The Lyon Firm has the resources to represent injured plaintiffs in toxic exposure cases. With J&J talc discontinued, plaintiffs may be more emboldened in the court of law, and only strengthens pending cases. If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and have a history of talcum powder use, contact Joe Lyon for a free case review.

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