A jury sitting on a mesothelioma lawsuit accusing both Johnson & Johnson and Colgate Palmolive of responsibility for the death of a Kentucky woman heard riveting testimony on Thursday that the woman’s lungs contained a mix of talc and asbestos that is unique to cosmetic talcum powder. Donna Hayes died of the rare and fatal form of cancer in December of 2016, and the family of the former travel agent had asked experts to analyze her lung tissue to determine whether the source of her disease was the two companies’ talc-based powders.
Woman’s lungs contain unique fingerprint of asbestos only found in talc
Mrs. Hayes was diagnosed with the rare and fatal form of cancer at the age of 72 and died 8 months after diagnosis. In describing what he found in the mesothelioma victim’s lung tissue, Brown University’s Alpert Medical School professor David Egilman indicated that Mrs. Hayes’ lungs contained a “fingerprint” found only in asbestos fibers that are found in cosmetic talc.
Egilman is an expert in epidemiology and occupational medicine, and in testifying about the finding of anthophyllite in her lung tissue said, “Anthophyllite is not mixed with talc in any commercial product — aside from talc.” He added that the finding of an additional sample of tissue containing another type of asbestos called tremolite was also a combination that has “only been reported in cosmetic talc products.”
Both Johnson & Johnson & Colgate-Palmolive accused of liability
The cosmetic talc products being accused of causing Mrs. Hayes’ mesothelioma were Colgate Palmolive’s Cashmere Bouquet powder, which she started using at the age of 18, and Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based powder later. A deposition that she gave before her death and testimony provided by her husband indicated that she had continued using it for years, and that they believe that both products caused her illness.
Both Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based powders and Colgate-Palmolive’s Cashmere Bouquet have been named as being responsible for malignant mesothelioma and ovarian cancer in Mrs. Hayes and over 14,000 pending lawsuits, as well as several others that have already been heard and decided. Many of those cases have yielded multi-million-dollar verdicts on behalf of victims of asbestos-related diseases.
While mesothelioma has typically been associated with industrial exposure to asbestos, the news that cosmetic talc products were contaminated with asbestos has raised the specter of untold numbers of consumers being diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases now and in the future. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease and you need information about resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.