The environmental health scientist who opened and ran an asbestos laboratory for the state of New York for more than 30 years beginning in the late 1970s told a California jury last week that based on studies he’d seen over the past three decades, it was “clear” that potentially millions of cancer-causing asbestos fibers were nestled in each gram of talcum powder allegedly used in Johnson & Johnson products like Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder, Law360 reports.
“The testing I have seen (shows) that (asbestos) was present at least as early as 1971 and up through the late 1990s,” he told the jury in the latest case blaming Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products for causing cancer.
Teresa E. Leavitt was diagnosed in 2017 with mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer that is caused by asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma develops over dozens of years in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or chest. Leavitt’s disease is now terminal and her doctors expect her to die this year.
Leavitt sued Johnson & Johnson and several talc mining companies now owned by Imerys Talc America, alleging they knew the talc mined for J&J products contained asbestos, a known carcinogen, but failed to inform federal regulators or warn consumers of the risks associated with asbestos exposure.
Leavitt’s case is one of thousands that claim that J&J’s talc-containing products contain asbestos and contributed to mesothelioma or, when used on the genitals for feminine hygiene, ovarian cancer. Last month, an investigation by Reuters revealed that internal documents show that Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that asbestos “lurked in its baby powder.”