The link between Johnson & Johnson talcum powder and mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer, has never been stronger. In October 2019, the company voluntarily recalled over 30,000 bottles of product which, according to the Food and Drug Administration, were laced with asbestos. The company later denied that the talcum powder contained asbestos fibers.
Largely because of the new evidence of the link between talcum powder and asbestos, as well as the recent recall, our Brainerd, MN personal injury lawyers field lots of calls about talcum powder. We have tried to condense a few of the more common questions and answers into this blog.
How Are Talcum Powder and Asbestos Connected?
Talc and asbestos are both highly-prized minerals. Talc is one of the softest known minerals. It’s commonly used as a stand-alone cosmetic and also as filler in other products, like eye makeup. Talc, by itself, is usually safe.
Asbestos, however, is a different story. When it was first discovered, builders used it as a fireproofing and insulating agent. Back then, asbestos was plentiful and cheap. But scientists soon discovered that it was also highly toxic. In fact, just one microscopic fiber may cause serious conditions like mesothelioma.
As for the link between the two, asbestos and talc are often together in the gound. So, during the mining and extraction process, cross-contamination is very common. J&J claimed it was keeping an eye on this problem, but that is obviously not the case.
How Does Asbestos Affect the Body?
In this respect, asbestos is a lot like lead and other heavy metals. A very small tiny amount of lead may cause metallosis, or metal poisoning. Likewise, as mentioned, one tiny asbestos fiber may cause a serious illness. Just how tiny are these fibers? 20,000 of them can fit in the space between Abraham Lincoln’s mouth and nose on a penny.
Mesothelioma is a very rare form of lung cancer. Because it is so rare, many doctors misdiagnose mesothelioma as non-small-cell lung carcinoma. NSCLC is much more common, and also much less aggressive. As a result, the prescribed treatment regimen is often ineffective, and the cancer spreads.
Mesothelioma survival rates have increased substantially since the 1990s, so treatment is often available. However, due to the nature of this disease, treatment is also very expensive.
Asbestos exposure may also cause asbestosis, which is basically scar tissue buildup in the lungs. Like mesothelioma, asbestosis is quite rare. Doctors often misdiagnose this condition as COPD or bronchitis. So, by the time doctors give a correct diagnosis, the only available treatment may be a radical lung transplant. Even this risky procedure is not always effective.
Both mesothelioma and asbestosis have very long latency periods. Most people are sick for several decades before symptoms appear. This issue carries over to the next questions, which is. . .
I Used Talcum Powder Many Years Ago. Is It Too Late to Call a Brainerd, MN Personal Injury Lawyer?
Definitely not. True, the statute of limitations in these cases is normally only two years. But with injuries of this kind, Brainerd, MN personal injury lawyers often turn to the discovery rule. According to this doctrine, the statute of limitations clock does not begin ticking until victims:
- Know or should know the full extent of their illness or injury, and
- Connect their condition with the defendant’s wrongful conduct.
In this case, the defendant’s wrongful conduct is twofold. First, J&J allowed asbestos fibers to leak into its talcum powder. Second, company executives knew that there was a problem, yet they did nothing to correct it. Because of this twofold misconduct, Brainerd, MN personal injury lawyers are often able to obtain substantial compensation in these cases.
On a related note, even if you have a pre-existing condition, like a family history of cancer, full compensation is usually available.
Why is Johnson & Johnson Fighting This So Hard? Wouldn’t It Be Cheaper to Settle Quickly and Quietly?
Many dangerous drug claims do settle quickly and quietly. Normally, the manufacturer wants to keep this news out of the headlines. Additionally, from a pure numbers standpoint, talcum powder sales only make up a small percentage of Johnson & Johnson’s business. So, from that perspective, it makes little sense to contest these cases.
But for J&J, there is more at stake than dollars and cents. Talcum powder is essential to J&J’s brand. So, its lawyers are not really fighting for money. They are fighting to protect J&J’s name.
Many plaintiffs are the same way. Bringing attention to this issue is more important than money damages. So, our Brainerd, MN personal injury lawyers fight for both compensation and justice.
Contact an Assertive Attorney
The link between talcum powder and mesothelioma is becoming clearer and clearer. For a free consultation with an experienced Brainerd, MN personal injury lawyer, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in injury cases.