BASF, a German chemical company and the largest chemical producer in the world, has agreed to pay as much as $72.5 million to settle claims that it deliberately concealed test results indicating a presence of asbestos in its talc, which allegedly led to cases of lung cancer and other health problems from exposure to the carcinogen. In agreeing to the settlement, BASF did not admit any wrongdoing and the company maintains that the allegations are unfounded and untrue. If you or someone you love has suffered lung cancer or another alleged side effect of exposure to asbestos in talc, don’t wait to seek legal help. Affected individuals and families across the country are pursuing legal claims against the companies that mine talc and make talc-based products over a host of alleged asbestos-related injuries, cancer included, and you may be eligible to file a claim as well.
The settlement agreement with BASF, which still has to be approved by a judge, would resolve a talc class action fraud lawsuit, which alleges that BASF intentionally lied about tests showing that talc from a BASF-owned mine in Vermont contained asbestos, a known carcinogen that has been linked to lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma, among other serious health problems. The mine, originally run by Engelhard Corp., was purchased by BASF in 2006. The talc in question was sold from that mine between 1967 and 1983 and was used in a wide range of consumer products, from balloons to auto parts. The creation of the talc settlement fund could result in payments to thousands of individuals who filed asbestos-related injury claims between March 1984 and March 2011 and had their claims dismissed or dismissed them themselves.
The risks associated with exposure to asbestos have been evident for nearly a century, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that scientific literature suggested a possible link between the use of cosmetic powders containing talc and a risk of cancer. In the 1970s, questions began to arise about the potential contamination of talc with cancer-causing asbestos, which research shows can lead to serious, potentially life-threatening side effects if the microscopic asbestos fibers are ingested or inhaled. Considering the potential for asbestos to cause lung cancer and other problems in exposed individuals, most countries banned asbestos use decades ago. In the United States, however, roughly 750 metric tons of asbestos is still used every year.
Like asbestos, talc is a naturally occurring silicate mineral, one that is widely used in cosmetic products, from blushes to baby powders. Unfortunately, because talc and asbestos occur naturally together in the earth, talc that is mined for use in popular cosmetic products, like Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder, is sometimes contaminated with asbestos. In fact, in response to reports of asbestos contamination in talc-based cosmetics, the FDA last year began testing samples of cosmetic products which, under the current law, do not need approval from the FDA to enter the market. According to the FDA’s findings, asbestos-contaminated talc was identified in nine of the 52 products tested during the FDA’s year-long study.
The makers of Johnson’s Baby Powder attracted national attention last year, when forced to issue a recall of approximately 33,000 bottles of its talc-based Baby Powder after trace amounts of asbestos were found in a bottle purchased from an online retailer. Johnson & Johnson currently faces roughly 22,000 cancer lawsuits involving its talcum powder products, which have been a staple in American homes for decades. Most of the lawsuits involve women who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer after routinely using Baby Powder for years for feminine hygiene purposes. However, a growing number of talcum powder claims are being filed by individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer that is only known to occur as a result of asbestos exposure. In May 2020, Johnson & Johnson announced that it was discontinuing the sale of its Baby Powder products throughout North America.
Manufacturing companies like Johnson & Johnson and BASF continue to claim that their talc-based products are safe for consumer use, despite thousands of product liability lawsuits alleging cancer and other devastating injuries from asbestos-contaminated talc. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer and you believe Johnson’s Baby Powder or another talcum powder product to be the cause, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Consult a reputable talcum powder cancer attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options for legal recourse.