Johnson & Johnson convicted of 72 million for causing cancer to a woman with its talcum powder

Johnson & Johnson convicted of 72 million for causing cancer to a woman with its talcum powder

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And those little white powders seemed innocent, with a soft touch and pleasant smell with which our mothers smeared our bottoms so that it would not irritate us when we were babies. A Missouri court jury awards a $ 72 million award to Jacqueline Fox's family in compensation for damages received that led to her death.

For Jacqueline Fox, using Johnson & Johnson talcum powder came naturally, "like brushing your teeth," her son explained. Fox passed away last fall from ovarian cancer after 35 years of using these products as part of her feminine hygiene. She sued the company for believing that her illness was related to the use of talc and for failing to warn consumers of the risks, "published the newspaper ABC.

Specifically, the brand used by Fox was Baby Powder. It is the first case in which a sentence is reached among the more than 1,200 lawsuits that women from all over the United States have filed against Johnson & Johnson and that could open a legal nightmare for the company, according to the Spanish newspaper.

Those at J&J tried to hide data and influence the committees that regulate cosmetics after the scandal. Before they had not bothered to put a warning on the label. They did nothing perhaps because it would give them a bad press and sales of the product would fall.

During the trial, internal company reports were brought to light, acknowledging the risks.

In 1997, a Johnson & Johnson medical adviser claimed that anyone who denies the risk of using toilet powder in ovarian cancer "is denying the obvious despite the evidence to the contrary."

Denial of these risks was also compared to denial of the relationship between tobacco and cancer.

Despite this, J&J continues with its denialist cant (and it is not alone because when something like this happens there are those who prefer to use science to deny the problem than to apply the precautionary principle):

"The safety of cosmetic talc is supported by decades of scientific evidence," the house said in a statement.

Of course, the news that comes from the USA does not help because they tell us that in the case for which Johnson & Johnson has now been sentenced, according to ABC, the talcum powder did not contain asbestos.

Talcum powder is made up of magnesium, silicone, and oxygen. When it began its sale was presented in a "natural" format. The problem is that it often featured asbestos, better known as asbestos. This is a mineral present in talc deposits.

The carcinogenic effects of asbestos are very well studied. In 1973 a law was passed in the USA that required that all talcum powder for household use be asbestos-free.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies the use of talcum powder for intimate cleansing as "possible carcinogenic to humans."

A true expert on the subject of asbestos, Francisco Báez, perhaps the person who knows the most about it in Spain (and some abroad) and author of the book Asbestos: unpunished genocide, tells me that the strongest evidence corresponds to the talc from the Vanderbilt mine.

The type of asbestos that normally contaminates, in a natural way, talc and soapstone (the "soap" that tailors use to mark and from which the statue of 'Christ of the Sugar Loaf' is made, in Brazil), is the so-called tremolite.

Exceptionally, I knew of a single deposit, in which the contaminant was chrysotile or white asbestos. There is much scientific bibliography that corroborates the geological link between talc and asbestos or that fully accounts for its presence in industrial talc, with mesothelioma affectations, for example among workers in the manufacture of tires, in which industrial talc has been been using to facilitate demoulding ”.

For cosmetic talc, which at the time was verified by analysis for the presence of asbestos, a case of mesothelioma has been recorded in a barber, who was not known to have any other contact with asbestos.

There are also, according to Báez - a former employee of the Uralita plant in Seville who played a fundamental role in the 80s of the last century to sensitize workers, citizens and public officials of the occupational and environmental risks of asbestos - cases registered among those who make intensive and daily use of talcum powder.

Paradoxically, an excess of zeal in relation to personal hygiene possibly increased the risk ”, he indicates.

It so happens that in May of last year, in Los Angeles (California), United States, a compensation of 13 million dollars was awarded to a woman who contracted a lung disease - specifically the aforementioned mesioteloma - for the use of a talc containing asbestos dust, manufactured and sold by the Colgate Palmolive Company.

73-year-old Judith Winkel contracted mesothelioma which is a rare form of cancer that usually attacks the lungs. The jury found that Colgate Palmolive was 95 percent responsible for her contracting the disease from the use of the Cashmere Bouquet powder that the company marketed until 1995.

The compensation for damages includes an amount of 1.4 million for this woman's husband.

After reading news like that, I don't know what you will do. I do not use J&J powder (and the others) to spread them over my parts and now less just in case; come on I would but only in a metaphorical sense.

Miguel Jara

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