The embattled Johnson & Johnson made headlines in the fall of 2019 when Walmart, CVS and other major retailers pulled 33,000 bottles of its talcum-based powder from their shelves. Now the company announced in May of 2020 that it would cease the sale of baby powder in the U.S. and Canada. The company said it assessed its products in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and made the decision. It will continue to sell baby powder in other countries, but this is still a milestone in the once-beloved product’s downfall.
The company is now involved in thousands of lawsuits because talcum had trace amounts of asbestos, which can cause ovarian cancer, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Plaintiffs allege that the company knew for more than 40 years that it sold a potentially cancer-causing product, but it declined to take it off the market. Moreover, J&J covered up evidence that the product contained asbestos.
Cases move forward
Neither the company nor the plaintiffs see any change to the ongoing lawsuits. Along with taking the talc off the shelves in 2019, other setbacks for the company include allowing expert witnesses for the plaintiff to testify in federal trials. The company has won a few appeals over awards. Still, it likely faces billions in payouts – the company paid $130 million on behalf of two women with ovarian cancer in Kentucky who regularly used it for feminine hygiene. The federal case is ongoing.
Did you or a family member use baby powder?
Typically there are time limits for filing a claim for damages or wrongful death. Those with questions about talcum powder and J&J can speak with an attorney experienced with handling significant mass tort personal injury cases such as this one.