Most mesothelioma victims are older men who were exposed to asbestos in labor-heavy occupational settings. They worked in factories and shipyards, in construction and high-heat manufacturing environments where asbestos was used to provide greater strength and protection from heat and flame. But now there’s a whole new class of mesothelioma victims being identified, and their asbestos exposure comes from a far different source: an increasing number of asbestos victims are identifying the talc in Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder as the source of their illness, and a report published by Reuter’s is shining a light on that product and many other talc-base products that may have been contaminated by asbestos and put people at risk.
When it comes to trusted brands, there are few held in higher esteem than Johnson & Johnson’s beloved baby powder, so news that its use may have led to both malignant mesothelioma and ovarian cancer is nothing short of stunning. The deeply researched article that Reuters published last week has stunned consumers, given hope to tens of thousands who have lawsuits pending against the company, and set Johnson & Johnson’s back on their heels and in a defensive pose. The company is pushing back on the article’s main point, that the talc in their product has long been made with talc that was cross contaminated with asbestos, and that the company has been aware of and hiding this information for years. The article cited hundreds of pages of internal company memos detailing concerns and legal strategies to suppress the information, with the company going so far as to fight government action against the use of talc and even contemplating discontinuing using the product and substituting cornstarch in the product instead. In the face of these revelations, the company’s attorneys are minimizing the meaning of this evidence.
Talc is a mineral that lies in close proximity to deposits of asbestos, and it is thought that the nearness in nature is what has led to the presence of asbestos in talc used in consumer products. For its part, the company argues that when asbestos is found in talc, it is incidental and likely blew into the factory from a passing vehicle’s brake lining. The likelihood of this minute level exposure seems remote, particular in light of the over 12,000 mesothelioma and ovarian cancer lawsuits that have been filed.
In addition to powder, talc is used in a variety of cosmetic products, including eye shadow, foundation, lipstick and mascara. It is included in the packaging and manufacturing process for pills and chewing gum, and has even been included in some children’s toys. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you need assistance identifying the source of your asbestos exposure, we can help. Contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.