April 11, 2018: Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and co-defendant Imerys were ordered to pay $117 million after losing a trial in New Jersey regarding asbestos contaminated baby powder and talcum powder products. The plaintiff was awarded $37 million in damages by the New Jersey jury. An additional $80 million in punitive damages was awarded today by the jury after arguments that Johnson & Johnson were negligent regarding consumer safety.
Talc is a mineral mined from the earth. Powder made from mined talc can contain other minerals and elements mixed in with the talc, such as asbestos. Cosmetic and consumer products such as baby powder are supposed to be free of asbestos, a dangerous carcinogen that causes mesothelioma. There is no safe exposure level to asbestos.
Talcum powder has also been linked with ovarian cancer in women who use the product, such as J&J’s Shower to Shower baby powder. Several studies conducted over the past 25 years have found an association between perineal talc powders and ovarian cancer.
It is likely that J&J and Imerys will appeal the award.
To learn more about the risks of of asbestos and baby powder: