Asbestos could be key in future talc litigation

25 Jul 2018 by under Legal

talc justice 100x100 Asbestos could be key in future talc litigationIn July, a St. Louis jury awarded 22 women a total of $4.69 billion after finding that the in some consumer products was tainted with asbestos and contributed to their ovarian cancer. It wasn’t the first trial in which women sued J&J alleging its talcum powder products caused ovarian cancer, but it was the first case in which plaintiffs made the argument that asbestos, a carcinogen linked to mesothelioma, could also be the cause of their ovarian cancer.

Asbestos is a mineral mined from the earth in much the same fashion – and in similar areas – as talc. Asbestos is fire resistant and was widely used in building materials until the 1980s, long after the mineral was linked to mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer that develops in the lining of internal organs, like the lungs. It can take decades after asbestos exposure for mesothelioma to present with symptoms. Once diagnosed, the disease typically proves deadly within 12 to 24 months.

Asbestos has also been linked to an incurable lung disease called asbestosis, as well as lung cancer.

In recent months, J&J has faced lawsuits that its talc was contaminated with asbestos and contributed to mesothelioma. In October, a California jury found in favor of J&J in such a case. In April, a New Jersey jury awarded a man and his wife $117 million over similar claims.

The consumer health care giant has faced lawsuits alleging regular use of its talcum powder on the genitals for feminine hygiene caused ovarian cancer. However, previous trials did not name asbestos as the culprit. Experts say that the asbestos factor could be the key to amp up the talc litigation, providing an easier path to proving talc as the cause of the injuries.

Source: Law360

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