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Talcum powder recall flies in face of product safety claims

On Oct. 3, 2019, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Johnson & Johnson gave a sworn deposition in a lawsuit involving a man who claims his daily use of the company's baby powder gave him cancer and firmly stated his belief in the product.

"We unequivocally believe that our talc and our baby powder does not contain asbestos," he stated, claiming that thousands of scientific tests or studies had been performed that backed his claim.

Well, just 13 days after he made that statement, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notified the company that it had detected asbestos in some of its talcum powder products. Asbestos is a well-known carcinogen. Asbestos has been linked to talcum powder products because both are minerals that tend to be found near each other in nature.

There is no safe level of asbestos exposure for humans. Because asbestos fibers are so fine, they often cannot be detected visually. The microscopic fibers can easily be inhaled or embedded in the skin, where they can slowly turn toxic. Some diseases associated with asbestos can take decades to fully develop.

Although the amounts of asbestos the FHA found were quite small, the company issued a recall for the contaminated products. In addition, the news casts doubt on the veracity of the company's claims. Johnson & Johnson executives have long maintained that they get all of their talcs from one, asbestos-free source.

This is the second blow to the credibility of the once-beloved company. In December, reports surfaced that the company's own internal documents showed evidence of asbestos contamination in its products going all the way back to 1957.

Incidents like this cannot help but remind people that manufacturers often put their own profits ahead of customer safety. When a defective or dangerous product injures you, however, you don't have to let the manufacturer get away with it. Explore your legal options through a product liability claim.

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