Couple awarded $37 million in talcum powder lawsuit

Source Shutterstock

Source Shutterstock

J&J's and Imerys's lawyers denied the company's baby powder and former Shower-to-Shower product had ever contained asbestos. There are thousands of other cases tying its talc products to ovarian cancer.

Johnson & Johnson maintained that the company's talc products have never contained asbestos, while Maimon said at opening arguments that the talc mine in Vermont that was a longtime source of the company's baby powder was known to contain asbestos since the early 1970s.

Plainfiffs have won five of the six lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson in the past two years in which women claimed baby powder caused ovarian cancer.

JNJ stock fell 2.5% on Friday.

Imerys Talc, the supplier of the talc, a mineral that's been linked to cross-contamination with asbestos when being mined, was hit with the other 30% liability.

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The jury found J&J was responsible for 70 percent of the damages and a division of France-based talc supplier Imerys was responsible for 30 percent. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitors potential safety problems with cosmetic products such as talcum powder, but there are no U.S. laws or regulations that strictly prohibit talc used in consumer products from containing asbestos.

In the past two years Johnson & Johnson has been found liable in at least seven lawsuits related to its talcum powder products.

The suit brought by Stephen Lanzo and his wife Kendra Lanzo of Verona alleged the company knew the products were contaminated with carcinogenic asbestos but did failed to do anything to warn the public.

J&J spokesperson Carol Goodrich told CVN the company is disappointed with the verdict.

A banker claimed that decades of using Johnson & Johnson talc-based products for decades caused his cancer.

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Throughout a lengthy trial that began in late January, attorneys for the Lanzos accused J&J of withholding information from consumers about the health risks of asbestos in its talc-based products for almost half a century.

The jury will return on Tuesday for further proceedings to determine whether to award punitive damages, according to an online broadcast of the trial by Courtroom View Network.

A possible link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer was first noted when a 1971 study found talc particles in ovarian tumors.

It mainly affects the lining of the lungs (pleural mesothelioma), although it can also affect the lining of the tummy (peritoneal mesothelioma), heart or testicles.

The symptoms of mesothelioma tend to develop gradually over time.

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Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer closely associated with exposure to asbestos.

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