For decades, talcum powder, often sold as the product named “baby powder,” has experienced popularity as a product to dry babies’ bottoms in diapers. It has also been used by countless women for feminine hygiene. Women have applied this powder inside their undergarments or directly on their genitals for generations, believing the product to be safe for such applications.
Now Johnson & Johnson has to contend with a steadily-increasing number of lawsuits related to asbestos contamination and cancers related to talcum powder. There have already been several high-profile, successful lawsuits, as well as a few plaintiffs who did not win their cases. Another trial about this health and beauty product is about to start in New Jersey.
Talc may have significant asbestos contamination
In its natural state, some talc contains asbestos. Asbestos is a mineral resource once prized as useful for numerous applications. However, it also has a connection to severe and often aggressive forms of cancer, including mesothelioma, throat cancer, lung cancer and ovarian cancer. This has led to the discontinuation of the use of asbestos in many products, including baby powder and talcum-based powders.
All such bath and beauty products should be free of asbestos. In fact, this changeover occurred back in the 1970s. However, those who used talcum powder daily prior to this change could still develop cancers. Asbestos-related cancers are often slow to develop. Sadly, lawsuits, including the pending one in New Jersey, claim that modern baby powders marketed as safe may still contain asbestos. They also claim that labels do not adequately disclose the potential danger posed by these powders, preventing consumers from making properly informed decisions.
Defective and poorly-sourced products put consumers at risk
When a company fails to adequately test products, components or ingredients for safety prior to using them, consumers bear the brunt of the potential risk. While Johnson & Johnson contends that there are many false positives in the asbestos tests of their products, several lawsuits have presented chemical tests showing contamination of talcum-based powders by asbestos.
Recent recalls for asbestos contamination have included makeup marketed to young girls. There have yet to be any mass recalls of talcum powders. However, as more people realize the potential correlation between talc powders and ovarian cancers, manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson are likely to face increased scrutiny and lawsuits in the future.
Those who end up sickened or injured due to poor business practices that put profits before consumer well-being deserve the opportunity to seek compensation. Cancers like ovarian cancer and mesothelioma are expensive to treat and often debilitating, if not deadly. Those who become ill due to asbestos exposure deserve compensation for their lost wages, medical expenses and other losses.