Baby powder not as safe as one might think
On Thursday, a Missouri circuit court ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.69 billion to over twenty women for their baby powder products, which supposedly contained cancer-forming asbestos.
The court ruled that Johnson & Johnson did not give effective warning to these women and their families of the possibilities of ovarian cancer. According to lawyer Mark Lanier, Johnson & Johnson has covered up this fact about their talcum-powder products for over 40 years. Six of the 22 prosecuting women have died from cancer after using the powder.
However, Johnson & Johnson remains true to their defense. In a statement, they note that the company “remains confident that its products do not contain asbestos and do not cause ovarian cancer and intends to pursue all available appellate remedies.” They plan on appealing the case, as they don’t think there is enough evidence that directly links their product with ovarian cancer.
Further, the National Cancer Institute has reported that talcum can be absorbed into the reproductive system, which causes inflammation in the ovaries, but there is not enough evidence to link the two together.
Additionally, this isn’t Johnson & Johnson’s first case of this nature. In 2013, they faced a similar talcum case but came out unscathed. They also faced similar smaller cases since then, but this most recent lawsuit is the biggest they’ve faced.
Johnson & Johnson shares fell 1.4 percent after the news was announced. It will be interesting to see how they bounce back from this one, as the continuation of using talcum will not be sustainable for their balance sheet.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons