On Friday, October 18, 2019, Johnson & Johnson voluntarily recalled 33,000 bottles of its baby powder after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found trace amounts of asbestos in one bottle purchased online. Although the company maintains that its talc-based products are safe to use, it made the decision to pull lot number 22318RB as a precautionary measure.
Johnson & Johnson stated that it has conducted thorough testing of its products for the past 40 years and continues to do so today. The company said that it has not found asbestos in its talcum powder. It claims to use talc from ores that have passed rigorous testing standards that go above what is required in the industry. Johnson & Johnson is working with the FDA to determine the validity of the results and whether or not the contaminated bottle was counterfeit.
Trace Amounts of Asbestos Found in Powder Sample
The decision to recall the baby powder was fueled by FDA testing results that identified 0.00002% of chrysotile asbestos in the product. Although there were only trace amounts of the substance, the agency recommends that anyone who purchased a bottle from the lot containing the contaminated sample, which was sourced from China and distributed last year, to stop using it immediately. U.S. health agencies state that exposure to any amount of asbestos could be harmful and a person could develop an asbestos-related disease even after brief contact with the substance.
Civil Cases Against J&J
In recent years, Johnson & Johnson has been embroiled in various legal battles, with individuals claiming that its talc-based products have caused harm. The company is facing nearly 15,000 lawsuits from people who allege they developed mesothelioma or ovarian cancers after using J&J baby powder and other products. In July of 2018, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $4.14 billion in punitive damages and $550 million in compensatory damages to a group of 22 women and their families who claimed they developed ovarian cancer after using the company’s talcum powder. Johnson & Johnson is appealing that judgment.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a type of heat-and fire-resistant mineral that is formed underground the same way talc is. During the formation of both asbestos and talc, the two can mix, leading to cross-contamination of the minerals. If a person ingests asbestos, either by breathing it in or if it seeps into a bodily opening, the substance can get lodged in the individual’s system, leading to scarring or inflammation. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer have identified asbestos as a cancer-causing substance.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Bertram & Graf, L.L.C.
If you or a loved one used a Johnson & Johnson talc-based product and developed cancer, you might be entitled to initiate a civil action to recover compensation for damages. Our skilled lawyers can provide sound advice and guidance to pursue your case.
To discuss your circumstances and learn more about your legal options, call us at (888) 398-2277 or contact us online.