As the nation considers news that a recently-purchased sample of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder tested positive for chrysotile asbestos, a 48-year-old California woman is suing the company, saying that asbestos in their product caused her malignant mesothelioma. Opening statements in the lawsuit filed by Amy Fong and her husband Put Fong were heard one week ago today, and though the recent revelations about 33,000 bottles of the company’s product were not mentioned at that point, the fact of them seemed to hang over the courtroom.
Talc-based powder products in the hot seat
Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, as well as talc-based powders manufactured and marketed by other companies, are very much in the public eye ever since victims of malignant mesothelioma and ovarian cancer learned that the products were contaminated with asbestos. Deposits of the carcinogenic mineral, which has long been known to cause malignant mesothelioma, are frequently found in close proximity to deposits of the talc that is used globally to promote dryness.
At issue is whether cosmetic talc manufacturers were aware of its presence in their personal hygiene products, and whether they had a duty to warn the public of its dangers. Though Johnson & Johnson has argued in court that their product never contained asbestos, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently revealed that it had found asbestos in a bottle that it ordered online as part of a random survey. This led to a national recall and increased scrutiny from a suspicious public.
Opening arguments did not mention baby powder recall
Though the Fong’s attorney did not mention the baby powder recall in his opening arguments, it is likely that it will come up as he leads the jury to a greater understanding of what mesothelioma is and what its causes are. He did mention dozens of bottles that have previously tested positive.
One of the most important points that have been made in recent trials against Johnson & Johnson is that the company knew that the talc was contaminated but kept the information secret from the public. Internal documents from company executives support this assertion, though the company denies or minimizes this and has consistently made the dubious argument that victims’ cancers have started spontaneously.
There are more than 15,000 mesothelioma and ovarian cancer lawsuits pending against Johnson & Johnson’s, accusing them of negligently exposing the public to asbestos in their talc-based powders. If you have been diagnosed with one of these diseases after using the company’s product and you need information, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.