Asbestos is a mineral. It is mined from the earth and for many years, it was used in a wide range of products. These include building materials like insulation, ceiling and floor tiles, and roofing shingles, heat resistant fabrics, and brake products. Most people were surprised to hear that it might be in talc products that we all use, like baby powder.
TALC IS IN LOTS OF HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS.
Talc is used in lipstick, mascara, face powder, eye shadow, foundation, and children’s makeup. It is typically the main ingredient in baby powder. Johnson & Johnson is a huge pharmaceutical company. For decades it sold baby powder, not only for profits, but for brand imaging.
WHY IS SOME TALC CONTAMINATED WITH ASBESTOS?
Talc and asbestos are both minerals. They grow together within the earth. A talc mine can have asbestos in it. So, when you mine the talc, you can get asbestos along with it. Unlike talc, asbestos is a known carcinogen.
FINDING ASBESTOS IN JOHNSON & JOHNSON’S TALC.
According to Reuters, in the late 1950s, a Johnson & Johnson consulting lab described contaminants in talc as fibrous and acicular, or needle-like, tremolite. Highly fibrous “tremolite” is asbestos. Over the next fifty years, Johnson & Johnson scientist and talc suppliers made similar findings. Reports describe the contaminates as “fiberform” and “rods.” These are terms typically applied to asbestos.
Johnson & Johnson failed to tell regulators that from 1972-1975 three tests by three different labs found asbestos in its talc. But most internal Johnson & Johnson reports do not find asbestos.
JOHNSON & JOHNSON SAYS THERE IS NO ASBESTOS IN ITS TALC.
Johnson & Johnson says lawyers are distorting historical documents and thousands of independent tests prove talc does not contain asbestos. They say any suggestion that Johnson & Johnson knew or hid information about the safety of talc is false.
TALC USERS DEVELOP MESOTHELIOMA AND OTHER CANCERS.
Talc users have developed mesothelioma. Mesothelioma, or “asbestos cancer” is rare. There are about 3,000 new cases diagnosed each year. 8 out of 10 people with mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos. But asbestos is also associated with ovarian cancer. Initially, lawsuits alleged that talc caused the cancers. It was not until plaintiff lawyers uncovered documents identifying asbestos fibers in talc that the link was made.
LAWSUITS AGAINST JOHNSON & JOHNSON
A St. Louis jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.69 billion to 22 women who proved that baby powder caused them to develop ovarian cancer. Currently, Johnson & Johnson faces tens of thousands of personal injury lawsuits related to its talc products.