Cell biologist and retired academic Ronald F. Dodson told a California jury that samples of lung tissue from a woman dying from mesothelioma contained talc, and he believed that it came from the woman’s once-daily and heavy use of Johnson’s Baby Powder.
He said, based on plaintiff Teresa E. Leavitt’s sworn statement about her use of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder, her lungs “would be the logical place where you would expect to find talc.”
Dodson gave the testimony during the latest trial against Johnson & Johnson blaming its talc-containing products for causing mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer that forms in the lining of the lungs and other internal organs. It is caused by asbestos exposure. Her lawsuit also names Johnson & Johnson’s talc supplier, Imerys Talc America.
Asbestos is a carcinogenic mineral mined from the earth in much the same fashion as talc. Leavitt’s lawsuit alleges that Johnson & Johnson knew since the 1970s that its talc contained asbestos but failed to notify regulators or warn consumers.
Dodson co-authored the book, “Asbestos Risk Assessment Epidemiology and Health Effects,” and testified that while Leavitt stopped using Johnson’s Baby Powder about 20 years ago, the talc could translocate into her lymph system and remain there.
Johnson & Johnson faces nearly 12,000 lawsuits alleging its talc-containing products cause cancers like ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. Many of those lawsuits claim the company’s talcum powders are laced with asbestos.