In a long legal battle over allegations that talc. In Johnson & Johnson baby powder is linked to ovarian cancer, plaintiffs won. A sweeping vMonday: A federal appeals court rejected J&J’s attempt to move more than 38,000 cases to bankruptcy court.Plaintiff Deborah Smith’s case was put on hold for 15 months because of a trial.
A legal technique known as the Texas two-step. J&J’s approach hinged on creating a subsidiary called LTL Management. That could take over talc-related legal claims. Within company days of its creation in 2021, LTL filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
By then, more than two years had passed since Smith filed his lawsuit. He said the news of the two-step seemed like a “slap in the face”.
“If it was someone in their family, would they drag him out like this?” Smith said. “It’s almost like they’re playing a waiting game to see how many people will die or give up the fight.”
Atumor during a procedure to remove a uterine fibroid. She had two surgeries and three cycles of chemotherapy, she added, causing her hair to fall out in clumps. It never grew out properly, so Smith said she still wears a wig.
According to Smith’s suit, she used J&J’s baby powder as a feminine hygiene product. To absorb sweat and keep her skin dry for more than 15 years. The lawsuit states that Smith also used Shower to Shower. A talc-based product formerly manufactured by J&J, until 2003.
Smith’s lawsuit cited more than 25 published studies dating back. To 1982 that evaluated a link between talc and ovarian cancer risk. The lawsuit alleges that nearly all studies document. A specific risk associated with genital talc use. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on company Cancer considers this. Use “probably carcinogenic”.
Smith is seeking punitive damages as well as compensation. For medical expenses and pain and suffering. His cancer has been in remission since 2005, he said.
“Even though I’ve been cancer-free all these years, when I go to the doctor for some kind of test. Ialways wonder if they’re going to find something wrong,” Smith said.
J&J has faced mounting lawsuits for roughly a decade. With plaintiffs alleging that their ovarian cancer. Or mesothelioma — a rare cancer that affects the thin layer of tissue that lines. J&J has consistently denied that its talc-based products contain asbestos.
“We stand behind the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder, which is safe, does not contain asbestos and does not cause cancer,” said a J&J spokesperson.
However, a 2018 Reuters investigation suggested that J&J knew that some of its baby powder was contaminated. With small amounts of asbestos in the early 1970s. Reuters said it had obtained J&J company memos, internal reports.
Confidential documents, and depositions and trial testimony. According to that investigation, the first known lawsuit linking ovarian cancer and J&J Baby Powder was filed in 1997.
J&J denied to Reuters that it knew or covered up any talc-related safety issues and said independent tests showed its talc did not contain asbestos.
Dr. Arthur Frank, a professor of environmental and occupational health at Drexel University. Said the protocols used in independent asbestos testing that J&J relies. On are not as sensitive as other detection methods.
“Depending on which laboratory you go to, if you search more diligently. Than the industry, you can definitely find asbestos in many products,” Frank said.
J&J pulled its talc-based baby powder from the North American market in 2020 and switched to a formula that uses cornstarch. The company said it was confident in the safety of its baby powder and based its decision.J&J said it will stop selling talc-based baby powder globally this year.
Talc and asbestos occur together in nature, so raw talc collected through mining may contain asbestos fibers. That can be made into talc-based products.
“There is no process that these manufacturers use. That can remove asbestos from talc materials,” Frank said.
Asbestos can cause a variety of cancers, including mesothelioma and lung, laryngeal, and ovarian cancers. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
WHO considers talc containing asbestos to be carcinogenic but pure talc to be carcinogenic.