An expert who has dedicated his professional life to investigating the presence of asbestos in a variety of materials gave testimony in a mesothelioma lawsuit this week indicating that he had identified the carcinogenic material in both Colgate-Palmolive’s Cashmere Bouquet facial powder and Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder. Microscope researcher Dr. William Longo of Georgia was testifying in California on behalf of Patricia Schmitz, a woman who claims that her 40-year use of both products is what led to her being diagnosed with the rare and fatal form of cancer.
Though both companies are denying responsibility for Schmitz’ mesothelioma and claim that their products do not contain asbestos, the narrative that is being spelled out for the jury shows that company officials had purposely tried to avoid using new testing technology that they feared was “too sensitive,” and therefore would reveal the presence of the deadly material in the popular consumer products. Longo’s testimony is integral to these arguments, and he has a well-earned reputation of testifying in hundreds of similar cases. The lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive are capturing a great deal of attention because they involve a different type of victim: where mesothelioma usually strikes elderly men who have been diagnosed after years of working with asbestos in their occupational settings, more and more women are being diagnosed with the disease, as well as with ovarian cancer, and there are thousands of cases pending against the consumer giant.
Longo explained that he was able to see the asbestos in both products because he used a heavy liquid separation technique that was developed in the 1970s. He says it is much better at spotting asbestos because it sinks to the bottom of the liquid after it has been spun at high speed. Johnson & Johnson has long refused to use that testing method because they claim it is ineffective, but documents submitted at court showed company officials calling use of the testing method a “disturbing proposal” and writing, “It looks like the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is getting into separation and isolation methods,” the letter read, “which will mean new concentration procedures open up new problems with asbestos and talc minerals.”
More and more mesothelioma and ovarian cancer victims are coming forward and pursuing justice. If you believe that your illness is a result of exposure to asbestos, we can help. Contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.