The jury in an ongoing mesothelioma trial against Johnson & Johnson heard direct quotes from internal company documents that indicated the company was well aware of the presence of asbestos in the talc that they were purchasing for their iconic baby powder product. The testimony came from environmental health scientist Dr. James Webber, who spoke to the New Jersey state jury this past Tuesday. Webber is testifying on behalf of four people diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma and its relation to talc-based powders
Mesothelioma is a rare and fatal form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The four plaintiffs in the case all blame asbestos hidden in the consumer company’s baby powder for their illness, saying that they were exposed to it when they were infants, and most vulnerable to its ill effects. In response, the company’s attorneys are pushing back, claiming that the victims show no sign of their illness being caused by asbestos exposure and that their product does not contain asbestos at all.
Dr. Webber’s testimony contradicts Johnson & Johnson’s assertions. He spoke about testing records that seem to indicate that asbestos was present in the company’s talc sources as well as in the products that they were selling, saying, “For several decades, they were finding asbestos in the finished products by several methods.” The records that he testified about dated back to the middle of the 20th century, and specifically matched the same terminology that the company approved to describe asbestos. One of those records referred to two types of asbestos as being “ubiquitous in several zones of the Vermont mines” from which they were purchasing talc.
Johnson & Johnson faces over 14,000 asbestos lawsuits
In response to Dr. Webber’s testimony, an attorney for Johnson & Johnson pointed out that Dr. Webber had also testified in other mesothelioma trials. The evidence that he provided in those cases was apparently compelling, as the plaintiffs in those trials received jury verdicts totaling $117 million from the company and its suppliers. There are over 14,000 similar cases pending, accusing asbestos hidden in the company’s products of causing their malignant mesothelioma and ovarian cancer.
If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related disease, you may have questions as to where your exposure came from. For help getting those answers, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.