With close to 20,000 cases pending against it, Johnson & Johnson may be the first wrong-doer to come to mind when it comes to the risk of asbestos contamination of the nation’s talc-based products. It is, however, far from the only culprit.
One of the others, German chemical company BASF, recently agreed to pay $72.5 million in its own settlement while simultaneously avoiding the admission of any wrongdoing whatsoever and publicly calling claims of the presence of asbestos in its talc unfounded and not true.
The terms of the settlement, which have yet to be approved by the judge overseeing the class-action litigation, allow compensation to be paid to any plaintiff who filed a talc asbestos lawsuit against the company from March of 1984 to March of 2011 and had their lawsuit dismissed by the court or voluntarily dismissed it themselves.
BASF is not the first company to settle talc asbestos claims to avoid being caught up in J&J’s wake. As evidence was stacking up indicating that there could be significant issues with the safety of the talc powder being brought into millions of American families’ homes, one of Johnson & Johnson’s suppliers settled a class-action filed by 22 women who claimed the powder led to their development of ovarian cancer.
Johnson & Johnson continues to maintain that its powder products are safe and do not contain asbestos, even though a growing mountain of evidence seems to suggest otherwise. The world’s largest healthcare goods manufacturer has also discontinued sales of talc-based products in the United States and Canada, although it blames the move on “misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising.”