Johnsons Baby Powder Found to be Cancer-Causing by New Jersey Jury
Decades of slick marketing deceived the world that Johnson's Baby Powder was safe
Monday, June 11, 2018 - When it comes to selling a cosmetic product there is marketing and then there is "marketing". Madison Avenue companies use the latest and most psychologically sophisticated language and imagery to entice consumers to purchases their products. Since 1894, Johnson & Johnson has been using the image of a cute little baby as the logo prominently displayed on the packaging of Johnson's Baby Powder. The psychological inference is that the product is so harmless that mothers around the world should "dust-up" their most cherished babies with the stuff after every bath and every diaper change. Women naturally touched and smelled the talc as they used it on their infants and started using it themselves after bathing or taking a shower. Women also have been using Johnson's Baby Powder for feminine hygiene purposes to absorb moisture and eliminate odor. Johnson's Baby Powder quickly found its way to bathroom medicine cabinets in households around the world. If Johnson's Baby Powder was safe for a defenseless child would it not also be safe for an adult to use? Billions of bottles of Johnson's Baby Powder has been sold to consumers over the years. Fast forward to 2018 and who would have imagined back then that using the product would cause their premature deaths from cancer decades later.
In April of 2018, 46-year old Stephen Lanza of Verona, New Jersey was awarded $117 million dollars by a New Jersey jury for Johnson's Baby Powder causing the plaintiff's rare form of cancer, mesothelioma. Mesothelioma cancer can occur when its victim inhales particles of asbestos, a known carcinogenic. Attorneys for the plaintiff uncovered the fact that the talc used in Johnson's Baby Powder is mined by Imerys SA, in China, a country with almost non-existent cross contamination regulations, in close proximity to asbestos mines. The monetary award was comprised of $37 million in compensatory damages and $80 million in punitive damages in a trial that occurred in Johnson's home state where the company is the state's largest employer. Both Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier are required to split the payment 70-30. Internal Johnson & Johnson company memos presented at the ovarian cancer trial showed that executives at the company knew as early as 1971 that the talc supply used to make Johnson's Baby Powder and other products contained trace amounts of asbestos, a known carcinogenic, and failed to warn the public.
A week later a Los Angeles California jury found that Johnson & Johnson, "acted with malice, oppression or fraud." and awarded a woman $25.7 million as compensation for her damages and suffering and including punitive damages of $5 million against the company. The plaintiff, Joanne Anderson, developed mesothelioma, from her talcum powder/asbestos exposure.
As recently as 2017, Eva Echeverria, 63, of East Los Angeles was awarded over $400 million for ovarian cancer she developed due to her lifelong use of Johnson's Baby Powder for feminine hygiene purposes. Studies of women who had died from ovarian cancer found particles of talc had migrated into their ovaries, become lodged there, apparently causing their cancer.