The first trial alleging a talcum powder product was contaminated with cancer-causing asbestos and caused a woman’s fatal mesothelioma is scheduled to begin this week in Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. But instead of Johnson & Johnson in the hot seat, Colgate-Palmolive Co. will be defending the case.
The trial involves the case of Sally Brandt, who was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in November 2015. She and her husband filed a lawsuit a month later alleging she was exposed to the carcinogenic mineral through years of using Colgate-Palmolive’s Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder. Brandt has since passed away.
Brandt’s trial will be the first talc-related mesothelioma case in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, but it is not the first time Colgate-Palmolive has had to face trial over claims that its talcum powder contained asbestos and caused mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. In April 2015, the company was hit with a $13 million verdict by a Los Angeles jury after they found in favor of a plaintiff making similar claims. Two subsequent trials in 2016 went in favor of Colgate-Palmolive.
Consumer health care giant Johnson & Johnson has faced the most litigation alleging its talcum powders caused cancer like ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. Many of those lawsuits name asbestos as the culprit.
Asbestos, like talc, is a mineral that is mined from the earth in much the same fashion and proximity as talc. Asbestos is made up of millions of microscopic fibers that can become airborne and be inhaled. Over dozens of years, asbestos fibers can cause inflammation in the lining of the lungs or abdomen and lead to mesothelioma.