A man who claims baby powder gave him cancer has been awarded $30 million in damages.
Stephen Lanzo, 46, sued Johnson & Johnson and one of its suppliers after Stephen was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2016 that he says was caused by the talcum powder products he’s used for more than 30 years.
The suit brought by Lanzo and his wife Kendra claims that the company knew the products were contaminated with carcinogenic asbestos but did nothing to warn the public.
A jury awarded $30 million to the banker from Verona, New Jersey, and $7 million to his wife.
Thousands of other lawsuits claiming a link between cancer and talcum powder products have been filed against Johnson & Johnson and other companies in the US.
Talcum powder is made from talc, a soft mineral found in deposits often located near asbestos deposits.
Studies have shown that there is a risk of cross-contamination during mining.
Exposure to asbestos fibers has been linked to mesothelioma, aggressive cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart.
Lanzo says that he could have been inhaling asbestos each time he used the products including Shower to Shower and Baby Powder.
Lawyers for the Lanzos argued that the company had been holding back information about health risks of the products since the 1960s.
A key piece of evidence for the prosecution was an internal memo from 1969 in which a scientist specifically mentioned asbestos contamination in the company’s talc.
Johnson & Johnson said it has done extensive testing to ensure that none of its talcum powder products have asbestos.
On top of the $37 million already awarded the jury could award punitive damages next week, which are generally assessed as punishment for unethical or negligent actions.
The $7 million awarded to the wife was likely in response to a ‘loss of consortium’ claim, in which spouses are compensated for any harm caused by a negligent injury.
Johnson & Johnson will be liable for 70 percent of the damages with the other 30 percent falling on Imerys Talc, a supplier of the mineral.
‘While we are disappointed with this decision, the jury has further deliberations to conduct in this trial and we will reserve additional comment until the case is fully completed,’ Carol Goodrich, a spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson, told CNN.
Imerys Talc reportedly intends to appeal the decision.
A possible link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer was first noted when a 1971 study found talc particles in ovarian tumors.
The American Cancer Society says it isn’t clear whether talc products increase a person’s cancer risk.
The US National Toxicology Program, part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, has not fully reviewed talc as a possible carcinogen.
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