Johnson And Johnson’s Powdery Problem
… They Keep Getting Sued And Fined Just For Causing Cancer
Are you one of those people who think Johnson and Johnson’s iconic baby powder product might contain cancer-causing asbestos?
If so, well, that’s where you’d be correct, according to the U.S. government and justice system.
And if you have any of the stuff lying around the bathroom or linen closet, you might want to throw it out.
See, what happened was, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tested a few products, including the J&J baby powder, and found asbestos in one container of the talcum-powder product.
(The other asbestos-containing products the FDA found were mostly cosmetic products, like the powder makeup you can probably still get at discount stores like Claire’s Boutique. But don’t!)
After the FDA produced their finding, J&J did their own “independent” test, and found that the container in question was asbestos-free.
But the Missouri Court of Appeals… and the twenty-or-so women who had contracted malignant mesothelioma ovarian cancer from using the product… disagreed.
Malignant mesothelioma is known to be caused by one thing, and one thing only: asbestos.
So since the minerals which comprise talcum powder are mined near the Earth’s surface… which is where microscopic (yet deadly) asbestos shards are also found… it doesn’t take an FDA lab coat to guess that producers like J&J would need to be very careful to make sure no asbestos ends up in their baby powder.
But the thousands of lawsuits they’ve been slapped with (along with billions in fines) suggest they just weren’t careful enough.
Asbestos Is Still All Around You…
… From the makeup your teenaged daughter wants to use, to the insulation around your pipes in the basement.
Many folks labor under the popular misconception that asbestos was actually outlawed in the United States, long ago. That’s probably because it was prohibited in the U.S., for a brief period about three decades ago.
But then, due to “market forces” which may or may not (well, probably) include the exertions of high-powered lobbyists, asbestos was once-again legalized for import into the U.S.
And tons of it are imported every year, contained in a wide variety of products all around us, all the time.
You still can’t manufacture asbestos products here. But that doesn’t keep it from being all around you and your family.
… And, Yes, It’s Potentially Deadly
As long as asbestos remains in its solid manufactured form – in the ceiling tiles or pipe insulation in your home or office, for instance – it isn’t a threat.
It’s when those products are disturbed that asbestos poses some disturbing dangers.
Say you have an unexpected flood or fire in the basement (as opposed to an expected flood or fire, both of which are thought to be rare)… those asbestos-containing materials are going to come apart, releasing approximately one bazillion microscopic shards into the air inside your property.
This is bad, as anyone who knows anyone who’s contracted mesothelioma can attest.
There’s no need to freak out… generally, the amazing human body can fight off a brief or light exposure to asbestos. But for peace of mind, it’s certainly a good idea to have your property tested, so you know what the potential asbestos hazard is.
And if those unexpected calamities arise, you’ll want to have your place professionally cleared of asbestos by an abatement company that knows what it’s doing (I can recommend one).
Both the test and the abatement are probably far less expensive than you think.
Certainly less costly than not doing them might be.
Johnson and Johnson has decided to stop selling baby powder, “due to lower demand” caused by what they call disinformation about the product. They win a disturbing number of the lawsuits leveled against them, and they appeal every one they lose. This is good news for their lawyers… keeps them busy! But you want your doctor to be bored… so beware of asbestos in consumer goods. Grab that old container of talc, and tell it to take a powder.