Articles Posted in Talcum Powder and Cancer

A recent study commissioned by an advocacy nonprofit group has determined that the methods used by cosmetics companies to test the safety of the talc in their products are inadequate and that as many as 15% of talc-based consumer products could contain deadly asbestos fibers. The study, commissioned by the Environmental Working Group found that the testing method which the cosmetics industry has voluntarily adopted is not sensitive enough to screen talc for asbestos and lacks the precision of electron microscopy which can properly detect asbestos fibers in talc.

Environmental Working Group’s vice president noted that the nonprofit has identified more than 2,000 consumer cosmetics products containing talc, which means contaminated talcum powder products could potentially put thousands of innocent Americans at risk of asbestos exposure. Both talc and asbestos are naturally occurring minerals that can be found in deposits side by side one another, which means that if companies sourcing and processing talc do not take reasonable safety precautions then their products could be carcinogenic.

The analysis was conducted by the Scientific Analytical Institute, with the results published in the journal Environmental Health Insights. The study used a method known as electron microscopy to analyze talc samples, which is far more advanced than what cosmetics companies currently use. As of right now, the Food and Drug Administration does not require any testing at all of talc, a practice that only compounds the risk many consumers face when shopping for safe products on store shelves. Instead, the nation’s largest drug regulator recommends solely that companies sourcing talc to carefully select mines in order to avoid cross contamination between the desired talc and deadly asbestos fibers.

A New York court recently denied an attempt by the defendant in a talcum powder mesothelioma cancer lawsuit to have the case dismissed, which paves the way for the plaintiffs to have their day in court and seek justice for the harm caused by the defendant’s alleged negligence. In its ruling, the court denied defendant Whittaker Clark and Daniels’ motion for summary judgement to dismiss the claim, as well as denying the company’s bid to have claims of potential punitive damages thrown out.

According to the plaintiff’s mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, filed in New York County Supreme Court, the victim developed mesothelioma for exposure to asbestos fibers in talcum powder products manufactured by defendant Whittaker Clark and Daniels. The plaintiff claimed that during his time working as a barber in New York City from 1961 until he retired in 2016, he frequently breathed in talcum powder dust from the Clubman talc he applied to clients, which he alleges the defendant knowingly manufactured with asbestos fibers.

In its motion to dismiss the case, the defendant alleged that the plaintiff’s mesothelioma diagnosis was not caused by exposure to talc in Whittaker Clark and Daniels’ Clubman talcum powder, but instead by exposure to asbestos in the victim’s native Italy where he lived until he was 25 years old until he immigrated to the United States. Specifically, the defendants claimed that the victim was exposed to asbestos in quarries found in Sicily, Italy. Countering that argument, the plaintiff’s lawyers contended that the victim lived almost 15 miles from the sites in question.

A Pennsylvania federal judge recently denied motions by the defendants in a talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuit to exclude the testimony of several expert witnesses for the plaintiffs, thereby allowing the case to proceed as scheduled. Pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson had sought to derail the plaintiff’s case by claiming that the testimony which would have been presented by the witnesses in question was not proper on the grounds that the expert’s methods were not generally accepted by the scientific community.

In her ruling, the Philadelphia judge determined that Johnson & Johnson had failed to properly challenge the methods used by the experts to reach their scientific determinations and instead focused on those conclusions themselves. With the denial of Johnson & Johnson’s motion, the case will proceed as scheduled and it will be up to a jury to decide whether or not they agree with the scientific evidence, and ultimately the plaintiff’s case.

Johnson & Johnson’s motion to exclude the plaintiff’s expert witnesses comes not long after a New Jersey federal judge handed down a multidistrict litigation ruling allowing the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses to present evidence that the company’s talc-based products are linked to serious forms of cancer. The judge in those cases determined that the expert witnesses for the plaintiffs may testify that the talc Johnson & Johnson used in its cosmetics products was contaminated with asbestos and other substances which could cause the victims’ health conditions.

Some of the biggest cosmetics companies in the world are beginning to remove talc from the list of ingredients in their makeup products, likely due in no small part to the slew of multi-million-dollar verdicts being handed down by juries across the United States. Some of the high-profile companies that are considering removing the mineral from their cosmetics products include Chanel, Revlon, and L’Oreal. Pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson, itself the target of thousands of talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits, recently announced it would no longer use talc in its iconic Baby Powder.

Luxury beauty company Chanel has removed talc minerals from one of its face powders and discontinued a talc-based body powder altogether due to the negative publicity talc-based cosmetics has received in months and years. Revlon, for its part, has ceased using talc altogether in its beauty products. Further, L’Oreal is in the process of finding alternatives for talc in its products as well. Although talc itself does not contain asbestos, the two are both naturally occurring minerals which can be found in deposits near one another, which can lead to cross contamination if precautions are not taken.

Since 2016, Chanel has faced a handful of lawsuits brought by plaintiffs who claim they developed serious forms of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibers in contaminated talc used in the company’s beauty products. In 2017, Chanel stopped producing a talcum powder body powder scented with its No. 5 fragrance, according to a deposition taken in a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit filed in a Los Angeles court.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released the sixth and final part of its year-long sampling assignment of testing talc-based cosmetics products for asbestos contamination, which was performed by an outside laboratory. Those testing services were performed by Lanham, Maryland-based AMA Analytical Services, Inc. (AMA) and commenced in September 2018. AMA was selected because of its expertise and knowledge in asbestos testing, as well as having conducted a previous successful survey for the FDA.

The FDA contracted AMA to test talc-based cosmetics products such as makeup and Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, which were selected and purchased by the FDA and provided to the laboratory as blinded samples. During the course of its testing, AMA found that nine of the 43 samples provided tested positive for asbestos contamination, including one lot of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, which was recalled in October 2019. Other cosmetics products which tested positive for asbestos included makeup produced and sold by Claire’s and City Color, some of which have been recalled.

The FDA selected the various products based on criteria such as the type of talc-based product, range of price, prevalence on social media and other advertisements, whether it was marketed as a children’s product, and whether the FDA had received third-party reports of asbestos contamination in the particular product. AMA’s testing procedures utilized Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) to detect and quantify mineral particles which were suspected to perhaps be asbestos fibers. According to the FDA, TEM is the most sensitive testing method for detecting and quantifying asbestos minerals.

A French luxury brand and two U.S. drugstore chains were recently hit with an asbestos cancer lawsuit by a 65-year-old Florida woman who claims she developed mesothelioma cancer from years of using products marketed and sold by the defendants. The lawsuit names Chanel SA, Publix, and Woolworth stores as the defendants and seeks compensation for her medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages as a result of the defendants’ negligence.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in a New York court, the victim developed her asbestos-related cancer from nearly 30 years of using Chanel’s after bath talcum powder products. The lawsuit also seeks to hold grocery store chain Publix and drugstore chain Woolworth stores responsible for selling the products which the plaintiff claims caused her cancer.

In her lawsuit, the victim claims that Chanel SA acted negligently when it failed to warn consumers about the known dangers of asbestos contamination in the talcum powder used to manufacture the products which she claims caused her cancer. The asbestos cancer lawsuit asserts that the known evidence of asbestos in talcum powder dates back to the 1930s and Chanel therefore should have provided warnings on the labels of its products to inform consumers of the risks.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released the sixth and final part of its year-long sampling assignment of testing talc-based cosmetics products for asbestos contamination, which was performed by an outside laboratory. Those testing services were performed by Lanham, Maryland-based AMA Analytical Services, Inc. (AMA) and commenced in September 2018. AMA was selected because of its expertise and knowledge in asbestos testing, as well as having conducted a previous successful survey for the FDA.

The FDA contracted AMA to test talc-based cosmetics products such as makeup and Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, which were selected and purchased by the FDA and provided to the laboratory as blinded samples. During the course of its testing, AMA found that nine of the 43 samples provided tested positive for asbestos contamination, including one lot of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, which was recalled in October 2019. Other cosmetics products which tested positive for asbestos included makeup produced and sold by Claire’s and City Color, some of which have been recalled.

The FDA selected the various products based on criteria such as the type of talc-based product, range of price, prevalence on social media and other advertisements, whether it was marketed as a children’s product, and whether the FDA had received third-party reports of asbestos contamination in the particular product. AMA’s testing procedures utilized Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) to detect and quantify mineral particles which were suspected to perhaps be asbestos fibers. According to the FDA, TEM is the most sensitive testing method for detecting and quantifying asbestos minerals.

A New Jersey state jury recently handed down a substantial $750 million verdict to plaintiffs during the punitive damages phase of the trial after already handing down a multimillion dollar verdict on the victim’s behalf during the main phase of the trial last year. The four victorious plaintiffs brought their talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuit against New Jersey-based pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson, claiming the company knowingly sold cosmetics products containing deadly carcinogens.

In September 2109, a Middlesex County jury handed down a $37.3 million verdict on behalf of the plaintiffs after a nearly two-month trial, during which time they were presented with compelling testimony detailing Johnson & Johnson’s decades long knowledge about the possibility of asbestos contamination in its iconic Baby Powder. The cosmetic product is made from talc, one of the softest known minerals, and used in a variety of other products including Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs told jurors how the plaintiffs developed various forms of cancer, including mesothelioma, from years of using Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder. Jurors were presented with internal Johnson & Johnson documents which showed executives knew as far back as the 1970s that its talc-based products were testing positive for deadly asbestos fibers.

Multinational cosmetics company Revlon Inc. was recently hit with a talc asbestos cancer lawsuit over allegations that the company used asbestos-contaminated talc in its cosmetics products, which caused the plaintiff’s mesothelioma cancer diagnosis. The lawsuit was brought by a Maryland couple in New York state court and seeks tens of millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages as well as damages for the emotional damages suffered by the victim’s husband.

According to the asbestos talcum powder lawsuit, the plaintiff developed mesothelioma from using Jean Nate Silkening Body Powder and other Revlon products that her father provided for her while she was growing up. The victim claims that those products contained talc, a mineral often used in consumer cosmetics products, which was contaminated with cancer-causing asbestos fibers. The lawsuit alleges that Revlon, along with chemicals distributor Whittaker Clark & Daniels Inc., failed to warn consumers about the risks associated with exposure to asbestos-contaminated talc.

The victim’s asbestos cancer lawsuit seeks $20 million in compensatory damages for medical bills and pain and suffering, $40 million in punitive damages for what she claims is especially negligent conduct on the part of the defendants, and an additional $5 million in damages for her husband for his mental anguish and loss of companionship as a result of his wife’s mesothelioma diagnosis.

On behalf of the state of New Mexico, Attorney General Hector Balderas recently filed suit against pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson over claims that the company knew for decades about the risks posed by using its talc-based products but continued to market the product to consumers. The talcum powder lawsuit further alleges that Johnson & Johnson systematically targeted minority women in its advertising and marketing campaigns of its Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products and misled them and others about the safety of the products.

According to Attorney General Balderas, Johnson & Johnson “concealed and failed to warn consumers about the dangers associated with their talc products,” among which can include such diseases like lung disease, ovarian cancer, and mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer which commonly affects the thin lining of tissue surrounding vital organs such as the lungs, heart, and abdomen. The legal action by the state of New Mexico is just the latest in a series of claims brought against Johnson & Johnson, which currently faces an estimated 17,000 talcum powder cancer lawsuits across the country brought by plaintiffs who claim their serious health conditions were caused by decades of talc use.

Thus far, jurors in state courts from California, Missouri, and New Jersey have handed down a over $5 billion in compensation to dozens of plaintiffs who claim they suffered irreparable harm at the hands of Johnson & Johnson. In the wake of these lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson’s long-time talc supplier, Imerys Talc USA filed for bankruptcy under the weight of litigation and its liability for its role in these and other plaintiffs’ talcum powder asbestos cancer diagnosis.

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