Second trial alleges link between J&J talc and mesothelioma

5 Feb 2018 by under News
Johnsons Baby Powder massage 100x100 Second trial alleges link between J&J talc and mesothelioma

Credit: Austin Kirk

In the second trial of its kind, a plaintiff is alleging the development of mesothelioma, a deadly cancer linked to asbestos exposure that affects the lining of internal organs, is due to the use of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products.

Stephen Lanzo III, 46, and his wife, Kendra, are suing Johnson & Johnson, its talc supplier Imerys Talc America Inc. and Cyprus Amax Minerals Co. for his development of the cancer after using the company’s talc-based baby powder ever since he was a child, Law360 reports. “The types of asbestos found in Steve’s tissue and the types of exposure that he had, our experts will explain, that this was his only exposure to asbestos and it was the same type as in Johnson’s baby powder, and the evidence will show, when we put the puzzle together, that asbestos from Johnson’s baby powder is what caused Steve Lanzo’s mesothelioma,” one of Lazo’s attorneys said in opening statements, according to the news source.

The defendants counter that he must have come into contact with asbestos another way, such as at school or a former home.  Jurors Tuesday heard an Imerys attorney explain for it to have caused Lanzo’s disease, the asbestos contamination in the talc would have to be widespread and testing shows its talc does not contain asbestos.

The day prior jurors were presented with sworn expert testimony about a lymph node tissue sample that the plaintiffs’ expert found contained asbestos, though the defense’s expert said otherwise. That expert went as far as to say a previously missed fiber that could not have come from talc proves “proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mr. Lanzo had exposure to asbestos in a way that could not possibly have emanated from J&J powder,” Law360 reports.

However, the plaintiffs are maintaining based on internal documents, J&J, which is separately facing thousands of lawsuits alleging a connection between its baby powder and the development of ovarian cancer, knew of the asbestos contamination in the talc as far back as the 1970s and tried and failed to eliminate or at least reduce the amount of asbestos. “We’ll ask the question – why did they try to remove, destroy and suppress the asbestos in the talc if it wasn’t there?” a plaintiffs’ attorney questioned.

The trial is slated to run through the end of February.

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