Rich DeAugustinis going public with his lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in hopes of saving others.
“I’m trying to give voice to this cause. My wife can’t because her breath was taken away,” he said. His wife Tara died in 2017 after a 15-month battle with mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. DeAugustinis believes her disease, which forms in the lining of the lungs and other internal organs, was caused by her regular use of Johnson’s Baby Powder.
“My wife had her life taken away from her. She had no choice in the matter.”
Tara’s fight included several rounds of chemotherapy followed by surgery and radiation. Despite all the best efforts, the disease metastasized to other parts of her body. Throughout their cancer jury, the DeAugustinis searched to understand how Tara could have developed this disease at just 45 years of age.
“Our belief is that she was exposed in the home, as a child. Long-term, repeated exposure to asbestos-tainted baby powder,” DeAugustinis told 11 Alive.
Johnson & Johnson faces more than 11,000 lawsuits alleging its talcum powder products cause mesothelioma or ovarian cancer. Documents that have surfaced in these trials have shown that the consumer health care giant knew its talcum powders contained cancer-causing asbestos but tried to hide this information. Even more disturbing, the company failed to warn consumers that using its talc-containing products could be hazardous to their health.
DeAugustinis now serves on the board of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and lobbies on Capital Hill to raise awareness of the deadly disease that killed his wife. The group is advocating for a national patient registry to collect scientific data.
Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation