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Pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson has announced that the company will cease sales of talc-based Baby Powder in the United States and Canada, calling it a “commercial decision” to wind down sales in those markets. Johnson & Johnson’s cornstarch based Baby Powder will continue to be sold in North America, which the company claims accounts for three-quarters of all the sales of its iconic cosmetic product, but that the talc-based version will continue to be distributed to overseas markets. While cornstarch-based sales dominate North American sales, overseas consumers overwhelmingly purchase the talc-based formula.

According to the company’s chairman of its North America consumer branch, Johnson & Johnson will continue to sell its existing inventory through retailers until the product runs out. Although Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder accounts for less than 1% of the company’s overall sales, which have seen sharp declines over the past few years, the product is one of the company’s flagship items and has been used by millions of individuals for many decades.

While Johnson & Johnson may publicly state that its move to discontinue sales of talc-based Baby Powder in North America may be a market driven decision, the truth may actually be that the company is finally feeling the pressure of the 20,000 talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits it is facing. Those claims allege that Johnson & Johnson acted negligently when it failed to provide warnings to consumers about the risks of using its talc-based cosmetics products, and that the company knew for decades about the risk of asbestos contamination in products like Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.

The long-time talc supplier for one of the country’s largest pharmaceutical and cosmetics giants recently agreed to settlement terms in its bankruptcy proceedings, which would effectively forfeit all of the supplier’s North American assets. The terms of the agreement call for France-based Imerys SA to auction off all of Imerys Talc America, Imerys Talc Vermont, and Imerys Talc Canada and have the assets placed into a trust that would compensate victims who claimed the company caused their debilitating asbestos cancer conditions.

Imerys Talc USA declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in February 2109 under the weight of an estimated 14,000 talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits in which the company was enjoined with Johnson & Johnson. Until that filing, Imerys Talc USA had for decades supplied talc to Johnson & Johnson, the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based cosmetics company that produces the iconic Baby Powder and other talc-based products.

Reports from January 2020 indicate that Imerys Talc USA had been shopping its operations for outright sale. With its Chapter 11 Bankruptcy filing, Imerys Talc USA was able to consolidate all of the pending lawsuits in state and federal courts in front of a single judge and remove itself from potentially millions, if not billions, of dollars in liability, which Johnson & Johnson still faces.

The family of a Missouri man recently settled an asbestos cancer claim on behalf of his estate. They reached a resolution out of court under the state’s mesothelioma benefits law, which allows employers to pay claims through a group insurance plan. As part of the settlement, the deceased’s estate will recover more than $791,000 in damages in exchange for the plaintiffs dismissing claims against the defendants.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in December, 2018 in the 22nd Judicial Circuit in St. Louis, Missouri, the victim developed a rare form of asbestos-related cancer from years of working with carcinogenic products developed by the defendants. Media reports show that the defendant worked for Central Electric Power Cooperative in Chamois, Missouri, for 17 years ending in 1982. The plaintiff’s lawsuit alleged that his exposure to asbestos laden products occured from 1962 to 1977.

As a result of his years of exposure to products containing asbestos, the defendant was diagnosed with mesothelioma in November 2017 and sadly passed away while litigation in the case was pending. His surviving family members carried on the claim on his behalf against the defendants, among which included his former employer Central Electric Power Cooperative, General Electric, Ford Motor Company, and a whole host of other industrial companies and others manufacturing products containing asbestos.

A recent study by U.S. researchers has found that despite projections, pleural mesothelioma diagnosis rates would decline early this century, the data analyzed over a 10-year period suggests that diagnosis rates have remained steady. Fortunately, the data looked at also suggests that survival rates of pleural mesothelioma patients have improved and those with this form of the cancer are living longer lives than those in previous generations.

Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The disease commonly affects the thin linings of tissue surrounding vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and abdominal cavity. Mesothelioma cancers which affect the lungs are known as pleural mesothelioma, as they affect the pleural linings of the lungs.

In their study, researchers at the Taussig Cancer Center at the Cleveland Clinic looked at data from almost 21,000 pleural mesothelioma from 2004 to 2014 provided to them by the National Cancer Database. Some of the main focus of the study looked into the incidence rates, types of treatment available, and survival rates of pleural mesothelioma patients across diverse demographics of gender, age, income, and medical history.

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