Johnson & Johnson has been in business since 1886. It was founded by 2 brothers with only 14 employees, on the basis that they prioritize the health and safety of their customers. While that ideal may have been true upon the company’s early establishment, the company is now facing countless lawsuits, with claims that their talc-powder product, was contaminated with asbestos. These roughly 40,000 plus cases claim the powder caused Mesothelioma and other types of ovarian cancers.
Making Changes a Little Too Late.
In 2020, the company removed baby powder from its list of product sales due to some unexpected health risks. They have decided to replace the existing ingredient list with a list of more natural ingredients, starting with a cornstarch base. A spokesperson for Johnson& Johnson stated, “As part of a worldwide portfolio assessment, we have made the commercial decision to transition to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio. Cornstarch-based baby powder is already sold in countries around the world.”
However these changes didn’t come soon enough and the company is facing countless lawsuits, with claims that their talc-powder product, was contaminated with asbestos. These roughly 40,000 plus cases claim the powder caused Mesothelioma and other types of ovarian cancers. The company promptly filed for bankruptcy, placing a freeze on the lawsuits.
Best Interests of the Customers?
A representative of Johnson& Johnson says, “ decades of scientific testing and regulatory approvals have shown its talc to be safe and asbestos-free.” Although the company has denied any responsibility, their legal team is working hard to cover all the bases. Attorney Neal Katyal explained,” the bankruptcy maneuver would benefit victims by producing a faster settlement, possibly worth as much as $61 billion.” He went on to explain how the quantity of cases has an impact on J&J’s customers, “if the tsunami of baby powder-related cases were allowed to play out in civil courts it would create legal chaos and reduce the number of dollars available to claimants.“
Read: Rich companies are using a quiet tactic to block lawsuits. Unbelievable!
Legal Troubles Encompassing Johnson & Johnson.
Customers are not the only people feeling some uncertainty revolving around the company’s claims. The U.S. Department of Justice is also questioning the role Johnson & Johnson products played in the health problems faced by so many users. DOJ attorney Sean Janda argued that if this legal strategy is upheld by the courts, it would open the door to other non-bankrupt companies and wealthy individuals using similar maneuvers to avoid liability. He expresses concern, asking, “If Johnson and Johnson can get away with this bankruptcy, what’s to stop any other company in America from doing the same thing?”.
In 2018, Reuters conducted an investigation and claim to have found evidence proving the Johnson & Johnson company knew for some time about these health concerns. “J&J knew for decades that asbestos, a carcinogen, was present in its talc products. Internal company records, trial testimony and other evidence showed that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s, J&J’s raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos.”
Talc powder, or baby powder, provides a number of uses, most predominantly its ability to absorb moisture. However, scientists are gaining a greater awareness of the health risks caused by harsh chemicals, both to ourselves and the planet. In this case, health concerns fall on the shoulders of 40,000 women and counting. Products like this and others have been used for generations, to promote beauty and wellness. If that’s their intended purpose but can cause health concerns, one has to wonder how they are still being made and marketed in such a high volume.
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- “J&J to end global sales of talc-based Baby Powder.” Reuters. August 12, 2022.
- ” J&J tried to block lawsuits from 40,000 cancer patients. A court wants answers.” NPR. Brian Mann. September 19, 2022.
- “J&J knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder.” Reuters. Lisa Girion. December 14, 2018.