New Testing Methods For Asbestos Could Bolster Plaintiffs With Baby Powder Cancer
The credibility and independence of the FDA panel could make the cosmetics industry change the way it looks at testing for asbestos
Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - While government health watchdog agencies usually err on the side of being too cautious, the cosmetics industry has erred on the side of lining their own pockets and maximizing profits. For over 50 years, cosmetics companies like Johnson & Johnson have used a testing method that excluded many types of minerals that are not technically asbestos, but that could be included in the textbook definition of the carcinogen. That could be about to change as experts at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), driven by billions of dollars of punitive damages that juries around the country have awarded plaintiffs cancer, have recommended stricter asbestos testing method be observed by the cosmetics industry.
On February 4, 2020, a panel of experts gathered together by the FDA in a meeting titled "Public Meeting on Testing Methods for Asbestos in Talc and Cosmetic Products Containing Talc" recommended that the cosmetics industry adopt talc testing methods that include "mineral particles found in talc products small enough to be drawn into the lungs - even those the industry would not call asbestos - should be counted as potentially harmful," according to Reuters, and called the industry making a distinction irrelevant. In October 2018, the FDA found asbestos in bottles of Johnson's Baby Powder and the company voluntarily recalled all 33,000 bottles in the contaminated lot from store shelves. The FDA also found asbestos in several brands of cosmetics marketed by Claire's stores targeted towards teenage girls. In spite of Johnson & Johnson's decades of denial, thousands of women who have used Johnson's Baby Powder sometimes daily for decades, have had particles of talc travel into the vagina and up into the ovaries where they have become embedded and caused irritation leading to ovarian cancer. Talcum powder cancer attorneys helping families and individuals nationwide and have vast experience with a winning track record litigating big corporation cases and offer a free consultation before filing a lawsuit claim.
Experts that spoke on the outcome of the meeting believed that the stricter testing methods would strengthen the plaintiff's cases against Johnson & Johnson given the fact that the scientists involved in the FDA meeting were looking out for the public's best interests. Just last week a New Brunswick, New Jersey jury seated to determine the amount of punitive damages to be awarded four plaintiffs with Johnson's Baby Powder cancer, were awarded $750 million as punishment directed towards Johnson & Johnson for failing to warn their customers that talc could be contaminated with asbestos. Plaintiff lawyers questioned Johnson & Johnson's CEO who told the jury under oath that he seldom read his asbestos memos all the way through, instead deferring them to company experts on such matters, implying to the jury that he did not take the asbestos problem seriously. The plaintiffs' lawyers seized the opportunity after the verdict to tell Reuters that the amount of punitive damages spoke directly to the company's CEO.