A 64-year-old resident of Hawaii is the latest mesothelioma victim to file a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, accusing the company of knowing that its popular baby powder product was contaminated with asbestos and failing to warn the public of that risk. The suit is one of the first to be filed since the announcement that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had identified asbestos in a bottle of Johnson & Johson’s Baby Powder that was purchased in 2018. Though the company has argued against the validity of the FDA’s findings, they also voluntarily recalled the product.
Mesothelioma Victim Describes Impact of Illness
The mesothelioma victims is Jacqueline Becker. She was born in Australia and moved to Hawaii in 1991, and prior to her illness she worked as an equine chiropractor. She was also an avid equestrian and show rider, but her diagnosis with malignant mesothelioma has made a significant change in the quality of her life.
She says that her initial treatment with chemotherapy “nearly killed” her, but that she is now recovering. She describes the damage done to her heart and kidneys as well as the weakness that she’s been left with. “My heart as it is right now, I get out of breath quite quickly, especially with the lung damage. But I’m on the road to recovery, I believe,” she said. She is now being treated with Keytruda, but is too weak to work. She believes that she needs to get stronger in order to ready her body for potential surgery in the future.
Lawsuit Points to Positive Asbestos Test, As Well As Previous Evidence of Contamination
Johnson & Johnson was already struggling to defend itself against lawsuits from mesothelioma victims and ovarian cancer victims when the FDA revealed its findings. Since that time it has settled at least one of the cases being heard after the judge in that case ruled that the jury could hear about the FDA findings. Ms. Becker believes that finding will also have an impact on her case, as well as others. So too will news that the U.S. Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation to determine whether the company misled the public.
Speaking of the issue, her representative said, “By the 1970s, companies like Johnson & Johnson and the FDA were starting to look at this issue, the possibility of asbestos being in baby powder and other talcum powder. And essentially, the industry at that time was successful at convincing the FDA to let them self-regulate. There were test results that show asbestos in baby powder that go back to the ’70s and before, but the companies like Johnson & Johnson that made the powder were successful in saying, ‘Oh, those were aberrations. The tests were wrong.’ And essentially burying the issue until now.”
As more cases of mesothelioma are reported among users of talc-based products, an increasing number of consumers are trying to learn about their own vulnerability. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease and need information, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.