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Johnson & Johnson Talc-Cancer Lawsuit Undergoes Trial in California

Posted on Monday, January 21st, 2019 at 9:30 am    

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11,700 lawsuits were filed against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) over allegations that their talc products cause ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. A jury heard in opening statements early this year in California whether or not the talc products have asbestos that the company is aware of.

Terry Leavitt, a mesothelioma patient, is the latest person who filed a lawsuit against the company, which was filed at the Alameda Superior Court in Oakland.

Born in the Philippines, Leavitt was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017. According to Leavitt, her parents would apply the talc powder on her during her early years in the Philippines. She also claims the product they used was manufactured with talc mined from South Korea.

Represented by Joseph Satterley, he argued that according to independent investigations, the Korean talc mined in Korea between the 1960s and 1970s tested positive for asbestos, which is similar to the talc mined in the US within the same period. However, J&J countered that the fibers found in the talc mined in Korea were not asbestos.

A Turn of Events

In 1999, Darlene Coker, a mesothelioma patient claimed it was Johnson & Johnson’s talc powder that caused her cancer. J&J denied the claimed and insisted their baby powder was free of asbestos. It was at that time when the company was able to dodge handing over talc test results along with internal company records. Eventually, Coker had to drop the lawsuit as she didn’t have any proof.

In a turn of events, two decades after, the company was compelled to share internal company records following thousands of plaintiffs claiming their talc products caused cancer.

According to investigations, the company knew about the asbestos in their products but they did not disclose it to the public. Instead, they looked for ways to address it. The company’s documents also showed research studies on the health effects of talc and efforts to influence U.S. regulators’ plans to limit asbestos in cosmetic talc products.

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Talc Powder & Cancer

Talc is a mineral mainly used to make talcum powder. It contains magnesium, oxygen, and silicon. The powder helps absorb moisture and limit friction, which is helpful for those who are suffering from dry skin and helps prevent rashes. This type of powder is commonly used in cosmetics and a number of consumer products.

Asbestos, on the other hand, may be found in talc in its natural form. The substance is known to cause cancer when inhaled.

Due to this, the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrances Association (CTFA) released voluntary guidelines that states all talc used in cosmetic products within the US should be free of asbestos in accordance to their standards in 1976.

The high-risk of the substance has urged many scientific and research studies to deliver valuable information to the public. According to studies done involving people, talcum powder may cause ovarian cancer if the particles of the powder were applied or used on the genital area. The studies also showed an increased risk of lung cancer along with other respiratory diseases.

Johnson & Johnson Responds

In December of 2018, J&J responded to the current allegations being thrown at them. The company remains firm that their talc is safe.

An excerpt of the statement reads:

“Johnson’s only uses pure, pharmaceutical-grade talc. We test every lot to ensure it. We’re a company deeply committed to the good health and long life of every person on earth. We’re parents and grandparents, just like you. If we had any reasons to believe our talc was unsafe, it would be off our shelves.

Instead, we have scientific evidence that our talc is safe and beneficial to use. But don’t just take our word for it…”

The statement is followed by a link to a website that contains the company’s independent studies from leading universities, research from medical journals, and third party opinions.

Protecting Yourself from Mesothelioma Caused by a Product

Mesothelioma is devastating and traumatic — not only does it cause suffering for the victim but also to the victim’s loved ones. At a time like this, fighting to gain the justice that you deserve is of the utmost importance as it can provide financial compensation that can help with mounting medical bills and at least a little quality of life. The attorneys at Williams Kherkher provide legal representation to those who are suffering from Mesothelioma.

Contact us today to learn more.

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