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Who is responsible for your cancer?

For decades, parents used baby powder while diapering their children. Perhaps your parents used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder to keep you dry and comfortable as a baby.

In light of recent allegations regarding the asbestos contamination of the company’s powder, you might be curious about how a product deemed safe for use on infants could lead to multiple class-action lawsuits.

What is baby powder?

As you consider the connection between baby powder and cancer, it is important to look at what baby powder is. You are probably aware of the absorbent quality of baby powder. While it often includes talc, corn starch and/or perfume, for many years baby powder consisted primarily of talc – a mineral compound of magnesium, oxygen and silicon. And some talc contains asbestos, which is known to be carcinogenic to humans, in its natural form.

The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrances Association (CTFA), which has since changed its name to Personal Care Products Council (PCPC), issued guidelines asserting that the talc used in cosmetic products in America should not contain asbestos. That was in 1976.

Allegations that baby powder leads to mesothelioma

A lawsuit filed in 1999, which alleged that talc in Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder caused Darlene Coker’s cancer, was dropped when she struggled with the burden of proof. However, recent reexamination of Johnson & Johnson’s confidential documents suggests the company was aware of positive results for asbestos in some of their product tests between 1971 and the early 2000s.

Government investigation continues

With roughly 13,000 lawsuits alleging the company’s product caused cancer, the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are looking into concerns about the safety of Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products. As it stands, the company’s primary supplier of talc, Imerys Talc America, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson has appealed multiple judgments.

Cancer may have a wide range of contributing factors. However, if you have cancer, including mesothelioma, which you believe could be the result of the use of a consumer product, you might choose to consider your options. You may want to hold a company responsible for including carcinogens in their products.

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