It's reported that Johnson & Johnson are set to pay more than $100million to settle over 1,000 lawsuits that claim the company's famous baby powder caused cancer.
The global cosmetics brand has been hit with over 19,000 lawsuits from customers claiming that the Johnson & Johnson talc-based baby powder gave them cancer because of an asbestos contamination in the product.
While the company maintains its talc is safe, the products have been reformulated with a cornstarch formula to replace the talcum powder in the products across the US and Canada.
Talcum powder is made from a finely ground mineral found underground in the form of a clay rock, but it is sometimes mined in the same place as asbestos – a known carcinogen.
While non-contaminated talc is safe, there are health risks linked to talc contaminated with asbestos.
In 2019 Johnson & Johnson recalled 33,000 bottles of its baby powder, “out of an abundance of caution” after trace amounts of asbestos were found.
A 2018 report also that found the company knew for decades that asbestos could be in the talc formula, with the earliest mention found in documents from the 1950s.
The pay out comes amid the first set of thousands of settlements following four years of litigation.
In a statement, Johnson & Johnson ensured that the settlements do not indicate that the products are dangerous.
“As a global healthcare company, we empathize with anyone suffering from cancer and understand that people are looking for answers. We believe those answers can be better understood through science – and the scientific evidence by medical experts around the world shows that our talc is safe and does not cause cancer.” Senior Director, Global Corporate Media Relations for Johnson & Johnson Kim Montagnino told Forbes.
“However, in certain circumstances, we do choose to settle lawsuits, which is done without an admission of liability and in no way changes our position regarding the safety of our products. Our talc is safe, does not contain asbestos and does not cause cancer.”