Johnson & Johnson, stating the talcum used in the baby powder gave them ovarian cancer.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a motion filed by Johnson & Johnson to throw out a lawsuit brought by the state of Mississippi. The lawsuit is over allegations that the company failed to inform residents that its talc-based products increased the risks of developing ovarian cancer.
The case dates from 2014, when Mississippi officials sued Johnson & Johnson.
“Facing thousands of lawsuits alleging that its talc caused cancer, J&J insists on the safety and purity of its iconic product. But internal documents examined by Reuters show that the company’s powder was sometimes tainted with carcinogenic asbestos and that J&J kept that information from regulators and the public,” a 2018 Reuters investigation found.
“Plaintiffs’ attorneys out for personal financial gain are distorting historical documents and intentionally creating confusion in the courtroom and in the media,” Ernie Knewitz, J&J’s vice president of global media relations, wrote in an emailed response to Reuters’ findings. “This is all a calculated attempt to distract from the fact that thousands of independent tests prove our talc does not contain asbestos or cause cancer. Any suggestion that Johnson & Johnson knew or hid information about the safety of talc is false.”
In December of 2019, Johnson & Johnson said after more than 150 tests, that its Johnson’s Baby Powder is safe and free of asbestos. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported finding sub-trace levels of asbestos (no greater than 0.00002%) in samples from a single bottle of Johnson’s Baby Powder.
In February, Bloomberg Law reported that J&J faced nearly 25,000 lawsuits by those who have used the Johnson’s Baby Powder. J&J has also reserved nearly $4 billion for settling future lawsuits tied to the product.
“Demand for talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in North America has been declining due in large part to changes in consumer habits and fueled by misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising,” Johnson and Johnson said in a statement. “We will continue to vigorously defend the product, its safety, and the unfounded allegations against it and the Company in the courtroom.”