Rapier Law Firm
Practice Areas Menu

Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder allegedly contained asbestos

Johnson & Johnson is known worldwide for its personal care products. One of the company’s most famous items, baby powder, is now at the center of multiple lawsuits. Consumers allege asbestos present in the company’s baby powder caused their cancers.

Coker did not know how she was exposed to asbestos

The first lawsuit was filed against Johnson & Johnson in 1997. Darlene Coker had mesothelioma, which she knew was caused by exposure to asbestos. However, she had no idea how she was exposed to the deadly material.

According to Reuters, she reached out to a personal injury attorney, who knew talc and asbestos are found together in the earth. The attorney also knew when talc is mined, it sometimes still contains asbestos. Coker used Johnson’s baby powder throughout her life both her children and herself. The pair sued Johnson & Johnson alleging the tainted talc caused her cancer.

Johnson & Johnson did not turn over talc tests

The company denied her claims. Johnson & Johnson was not forced to turn over talc testing results or any other internal documents that would have supported Coker’s claim. Her attorney dropped their suit in 1999 because they lacked the needed proof against the company.

Since Coker’s suit, consumers have continued to link their cancers to the company’s baby powder. Recent lawsuits have finally forced the company to turn over crucial internal documents.

Asbestos found in talc as early as 1957

In 1957 and 1958, lab reports showed the contaminant, tremolite, was present in the Johnson & Johnson talc. Tremolite is a mineral classified as asbestos.

From this time on to the beginning of the 2000s, scientists at Johnson & Johnson and outside companies reported finding asbestos or contaminants that sounded like asbestos in talc and other powder products.

Company told FDA their talc had no asbestos

In 1976, the company told the FDA none of their talc contained asbestos. This was while the federal agency was deciding asbestos limits for talc products. All the while, the company had multiple reports showing the presence of asbestos in their products.

Since 1976, opinions have changed dramatically about asbestos. The World Health Organization, along with other health authorities, state there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.

Johnson & Johnson found liable for cancers

Plaintiffs have prevailed in three cases filed against Johnson & Johnson this year. Consumers in New Jersey and California alleged their mesothelioma was caused by asbestos in the company’s talc. A St. Louis case involved 22 plaintiffs. The women claimed Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower talc caused their ovarian cancer. They were awarded $4.69 billion in damages against Johnson & Johnson.

The company maintains its innocence and plans to appeal the verdicts.

Product liability claims

To prove a product liability case, you must prove a product caused injury, the product was defective and the defect made it dangerous to the consumer. A defective product can have a design defect, a manufacturing defect or a marketing defect.

Anyone seriously injured by a defective product has legal options. You can reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney will examine your case and may be able to help you get compensation for your injury.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • Illinois Trial Lawyers | Association
  • Super Lawyers
  • American Association For Justice
  • The White Helmets
  • ride
  • Easterseals