Many people exposed to asbestos worked with this dangerous mineral substance. Whether they worked on Navy vessels during their early career or handled insulation in a manufacturing facility, they may have inhaled asbestos that eventually could cause serious illnesses like mesothelioma or lung cancer. Still others have secondhand exposure because a loved one worked with asbestos.
However, there are many people who have no direct work exposure or secondary family exposure to asbestos who eventually fall ill with cancers connected with asbestos exposure. Some research has tentatively connected these cancers, including reproductive cancers in women, to the use of asbestos-contaminated talc powders.
Johnson & Johnson is a major health and beauty company whose talc powder products have been the focus of numerous consumer lawsuits. The recent release of horrifying details regarding inmate asbestos testing has served to remind people of how Johnson & Johnson may have endangered consumers.
Why is Johnson & Johnson back in the news?
Johnson & Johnson’s history with asbestos goes back decades. Several years ago, reporters published internal company communications showing that executives at Johnson & Johnson have previously expressed concern about asbestos contamination affecting their talc powder users.
The fact that Johnson & Johnson conducted asbestos testing has been known for years, but a recent legal action resulted in the release of more details. In 1971, Johnson & Johnson injected 10 inmates in the Pennsylvania penal system with two kinds of asbestos and talc. They did this to see what the effect would be on their bodies.
The results were obvious, with the asbestos causing clear irritation to the surrounding tissue. However, that research did not stop Johnson & Johnson from sourcing talc powder at mines where they believed there was a specimen of contamination.
What might this information mean for a civil case?
To avoid responsibility for asbestos-related illnesses in consumers that use their products, Johnson & Johnson has an increasingly uphill battle to fight in court.
The company cannot claim that it didn’t know about the contamination because of internal reports. It also can claim it didn’t know about the health consequences of asbestos exposure. The company’s conduct, especially testing in vulnerable people like inmates, could impact how a judge or jury perceives the business.
Although talc claims may take some time to resolve, they can help those negatively affected by big business practices connect with compensation for their medical costs or family losses. Staying up-to-date on asbestos-related health and legal issues could help those worried about their own prior asbestos exposure.