Asbestos has been blamed for a plethora of illnesses, ranging from mesothelioma to ovarian cancer, and as a result numerous companies have been found legally responsible for having allowed asbestos to contaminate their products. Most of these companies have been industrial or chemically oriented, so it has come as a shock to the American public to learn that Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder is also accused of having contained asbestos, and has been blamed for thousands of illnesses and deaths. This week, the largest verdict that the company has confronted on an asbestos trial was upheld by a St. Louis judge, who ruled that the $4.7 billion verdict owed to 22 women diagnosed with asbestos-caused ovarian cancer is legitimate and that there is no basis for a motion for judgment.
Ovarian cancer and mesothelioma are the two main focuses of the asbestos lawsuits that have been filed against Johnson & Johnson’s and other talc powder companies. The ovarian cancer lawsuits specifically point to the company’s marketing campaign that encouraged women to use the product in their underwear to promote “freshness”, while the mesothelioma cases point to the use of the product by both men and women from the time that they were infants through the time that they were using the product while diapering their grandchildren. When talc-based powder is sprinkled on the body, it is easily inhaled, and that is how scientists say that the asbestos fibers enter the body and grow into mesothelioma tumors. In July, 22 women who had accused Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder of having caused their ovarian cancer were awarded $550 million in compensatory damages and punitive damages of more than $4 billion.
In support of his ruling, the judge wrote, “First, substantial evidence was adduced at trial of particularly reprehensible conduct on the part of defendants, including that defendants knew of the presence of asbestos in products that they knowingly targeted for sale to mothers and babies, knew of the damage their products caused, and misrepresented the safety of these products for decades. Second, defendants’ actions caused significant physical harm and potential physical harm, including causing ovarian cancer in plaintiffs or plaintiffs’ decedents.”
Ovarian cancer and mesothelioma are two fatal asbestos-related cancers that cause immeasurable pain to both victims and their survivors. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease and you need information, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.