Baby powder brand Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $72m to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer by a Missouri jury. The power contains talcum.
Birmingham, Alabama resident Jackie Fox was part of a group of 60 people suing Johnson & Johnson for the use of the cancer-causing ingredient. When she died in October 2015 of ovarian cancer, her son took over her case. He claimed his mother regularly used the powder, especially in her role as a foster parent. It was second nature, and the household name was trusted by many.
On Monday night, the Missouri jury delivered the verdict after a three-week trial. It awarded $62m in punitive damages and $10m in actual damages. There are more than 1,000 cases left nationally. This was the first, and has set a precedent for the rest. Johnson & Johnson is expected to appear the verdict by attorney James Onder.
This is not the first time the company has been accused of using ingredients known for causing cancer. It’s No More Tears baby shampoo was highlighted as one that used harmful ingredients. Formaldehyde was found in the product, as well as in four others. The chemical causes irritation to the respiratory system, eyes and skin. It has also been linked to lukemia.
When the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics group called for an ingredients list of all the company products, it delayed the release. This led to complaints and questions over the safety of the products and ethics of the brand. It took three years of petitioning and boycotting for the brand to announce that it would reduce the use of preservatives that release the dangerous chemicals. The ingredients would be removed by 2015.
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