Man wins $37 million case against Johnson & Johnson due to cancer-causing substances

Product Liability | April 26, 2018

Recently Stephen Lanzo, from New Jersey, won a $37 million case against Johnson & Johnson stating that their talc products contain cancer causing substances, or carcinogens. The suit states a link between Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and asbestos, a cancer causing substance. Asbestos is known to cause a specific type of cancer called mesothelioma.
Stephen developed mesothelioma, a type of cancer that has no cure. Mesothelioma primarily affects the lungs and other organs in the abdomen. It is debilitating disease that, unfortunately, has an extremely low life expectancy rate. Mesothelioma is treated with either chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation. He attributes his cancer to over 30 years of using Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder unaware of its cancer causing effects.

Products with talc in them create a dust in the air when moved around making it easy to accidentally inhale. Asbestos mostly affects the lungs, so, prolonged exposure to dust clouds containing asbestos would create the perfect breeding ground for mesothelioma.

Defective Products

It has since been discovered that Johnson & Johnson may have known and ignored the asbestos being mixed in with their talc products. This would raise suspicion as to why Johnson & Johnson would not warn their customers about the potential cancer risks.

The United States Food and Drug Administration calls for all products to be labeled correctly before they’re marketed. Evidently, when mining for talc it is common to run into a deposit of asbestos. They occur near each other naturally. So, when mining for talc sometimes asbestos will be mixed in with the talc and will need to be filtered out. This is why the FDA calls for all products to have correct labels signifying anything that may be in the product itself, especially any substance that could be harmful to an individual’s health.

Johnson & Johnson have repeatedly denied that their products contain any trace amount of asbestos. However, a recent discovery of a report filed by the company, in 1973, states that Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder contains “talc fragments classifiable as fibers,” going on to say that the fibers may be identifiable as asbestos fibers.

The report was also documented by the company from whom Johnson & Johnson purchased talc. The report states “˜studies of Johnson & Johnson’s talc products have found asbestos.’ This, of course, questions the safety and legitimacy of their talc.

So, Johnson & Johnson persuaded the mining company to stop publishing and issuing the report to the public. Again, this happened in the 1970’s.
So, while denying any amount of asbestos in their products, Johnson & Johnson has willingly deprived the public of documented evidence declaring that they had found asbestos during studies on their talc products in the 1970’s. Coupled with the fact that asbestos occurs naturally around the talc mineral, it may be an important responsibility to warn the public of this.

Johnson & Johnson did not find that it was necessary to issue a standard safety warning in the 1970s and still do not today. Some believe the company should be responsible for warning its customers about the significant safety risk surrounding talc products.

The Bottom Line

These products that use talc are mainly advertised towards women & children and have been for a long time. Baby powder, especially, could potentially introduce a child to cancer causing agents at a very young age making it even more detrimental to their health as they grow up.

The risk of cancer, specifically mesothelioma, is possible through contact with asbestos being in talc products even with small trace amounts. There have been numerous cases in the past that have documented asbestos found within talc products that have later caused mesothelioma. These cases include companies such as Whitaker, Clark & Daniels for $18 million, a company that did not properly test for asbestos in their talc products, namely talcum powder that customers were using at a barbershop. Another case involves the bankrupted company Justice and Claire’s and the use of talc in their children’s makeup containing asbestos.

Therefore, it is not unheard of for there to be asbestos mixed within talc products, such as shower products, makeup, and baby powder. Adequate warnings on talc products should not be an unreasonable expectation, however, Johnson & Johnson does not believe that they should be required. Notifying and educating their customers would, no doubt, be the right thing to do, but Johnson & Johnson believe this would jeopardize the pureness and legitimacy of their talc in the eyes of the consumer.

While Johnson & Johnson are concerned about their reputation, they continue to deny any trace amount of asbestos, a cancer causing substance, in their products. Mesothelioma is a serious disease that has a low life expectancy and possible causes, like asbestos, should be sensibly recognized as such.

Mesothelioma can linger and symptoms may not develop until decades later. Some symptoms for mesothelioma include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Low oxygen and blood levels
  • Weight loss and lack of appetite
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing

If you have experienced these symptoms and have used any Johnson & Johnson products that contain talc you may want to consult with your doctor. If you are looking for legal advice please feel free to reach out to our Louisville personal injury lawyers at HJV Car Accident Personal Injury Lawyers either online or you can call us at 859-578-4444.

If this article sounds similar to a recent experience that you or a loved one have suffered from, please do not hesitate to contact us online or call 859-578-4444 to schedule a free consultation!

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For more information, don’t hesitate to contact HJV Car Accident Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with a product liability lawyer in Louisville today. We have two convenient locations in Louisville and Fort Mitchell, Kentucky.

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