Johnson & Johnson sets aside $3.9B to settle talc suits

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson now has set aside $3.9 billion to settle lawsuits over use of its popular talc-based baby powder containing asbestos. That far exceeds the $400 million the company put aside to settle these lawsuits in 2019.

Number of suits against J&J grows

Now, as of January 2021, more than 25,000 users of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder have filed lawsuits over asbestos exposure. Many of these suits come from customers who have developed different cancers after using Johnson & Johnson talc-based products. In May 2020, Johnson & Johnson discontinued its baby powder in the United States because it contained talc. Talc often is mined near asbestos and ends up containing the dangerous mineral.

According to a Reuters report, Johnson & Johnson knew its baby powder contained talc with asbestos in as early as 1972. The company didn’t report to the FDA that its own testing between 1972 and 1975 showed high asbestos levels in the baby powder. So, Johnson & Johnson will use the $3.9 billion to settle lawsuits over asbestos exposure for years to come. Often, those exposed to asbestos don’t develop cancers for years after the exposure.

Talc also is used in many makeup products, including in:

  • Blush
  • Eye shadow
  • Foundation
  • Face powder

So, in recent years, concerns about getting exposed to asbestos through using makeup have grown as the dangers of talc have become known.

Asbestos exposure and mesothelioma

One of the most dangerous health problems linked to long-term asbestos exposure is developing mesothelioma. The deadly lung cancer is not curable. In November 2020, a New York court ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $120 million to a Brooklyn woman with advanced mesothelioma. She had used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder for 50 years.

If you develop mesothelioma, you should consult an attorney. You need to find out what caused your asbestos exposure. If it was through using Johnson’s & Johnson products, you may join the growing ranks of customers now seeking damages because the company knew about talc’s dangers for decades.

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