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Johnson & Johnson recalls baby powder over asbestos contamination

Johnson & Johnson, maker of the famous talcum powder known by the brand name Baby Powder, has long denied any asbestos contamination of its products. They have maintained this claim during all of the civil suits brought against the company related to allegations of cancer in former Baby Powder users. Despite numerous losses in court, the company has staunchly denied all contamination allegations.

They have also refused to label their Baby Powder product as potentially contaminated as a way to mitigate their liability and better inform consumers about the risks associated with their products. Now, it appears that they are learning from their past mistakes.

On Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, Johnson & Johnson announced the recall of 33,000 bottles of its Baby Powder, which is the equivalent of one full production lot. This recall is significant for a number of reasons, including the fact that it may bolster the claims of individuals with pending lawsuits against the company.

Long-term exposure to asbestos could cause reproductive cancers

There have been numerous cases of ovarian cancer connected to exposure to asbestos. While not everyone exposed to asbestos will inevitably develop cancer as a result, the risk increases for exposed individuals.

People who have worked with asbestos will know to seek regular medical screening, but those exposed through contaminated products may not realize their risks until it's too late. The potential for asbestos contamination has always been there, in part due to how companies obtain talc for their beauty products.

Talc is a naturally occurring mineral that can be mined and processed into a variety of products. People can find and extract it from large deposits underground. Unfortunately, talc often occurs in close proximity to asbestos, which is also a natural mineral. The potential for contamination is obvious, and too many who cut corners in testing or safe mining practices may have put customers at risk.

More than 15,000 people are suing the health and beauty giant

The idea that Johnson & Johnson has asbestos contamination in its talcum powder is not a new one. Even their own corporate officers have released memos discussing acceptable levels of contamination and the risk it might pose to consumers.

Modern testing has made it easier to link cancer tissue to asbestos exposure and for consumers or their attorneys to find asbestos when testing potentially contaminated products. Individuals who wound up developing cancers after years of talcum powder use have brought successful claims against Johnson & Johnson, some of which relied upon independent laboratories identifying asbestos in the company's products.

Johnson & Johnson has always maintained that there is no contamination of its products, but this recall makes it clear that this simply isn't the case. Those with pending claims against the massive company will have yet another piece of evidence to help build their case.

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