Image Source: reuters
When one thinks of the well-known brand Johnson & Johnson, the image of a happy mother and child fresh from a no-tears bath and powdering may come to mind, but that image is soon to fade away as it has been discovered that products by Johnson & Johnson containing talc are causing cancer in women across the nation.
What the case is all about?
On 22nd February, Missouri state jury ordered the Health giant Johnson & Johnson to pay a hefty sum of $72 million in damages to the family of an Alabama woman Jacqueline Fox who died from ovarian cancer allegedly caused by using the company’s Baby Powder and other products that contained talc for feminine hygiene for more than 35 years.The family of the deceased 62-year-old woman will be given a compensation of $10 million of actual damage and $62 million of punitive damage.
What is J&J charged with?
It is claimed that in an attempt to boost sales and concentrate on profits the company failed to warn users of the potential dangers despite concerns raised by the American Cancer Society in 1999. Jere Beasley, a lawyer for Mrs Fox’s family, said Johnson & Johnson “knew as far back as the 1980s of the ill effects of the products,” and yet resorted to “lying to the public, lying to the regulatory agencies”.
What is the track record of the company in lawsuits?
Johnson & Johnson — the world’s largest health products manufacturer, is currently facing 1200 lawsuits in the US from customers who claim they were not warned about the risks.
The New Jersey-based company remain amidst controversies as it has previously been targeted by health and consumer groups over possibly harmful ingredients in items including its iconic Johnson’s No More Tears baby shampoo. In May 2009, a coalition of groups called the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics began pushing Johnson & Johnson to eliminate questionable ingredients from its baby and adult personal care products.
After three years of petitions, negative publicity, and a boycott threat, the company agreed in 2012 to eliminate the ingredients 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde, both considered probable human carcinogens, from all products by 2015.
There has been a controversy popping up as the researchers have claimed that the links between ovarian cancer and the talcum powder are unproven. The company is expected to appeal the verdict in a higher court but the decision has compelled the world to give a thought on the safety of these cosmetic products. The verdict sends a message to the cosmetic companies that they can’t get away with anything. They can’t continue to prioritize profit before the health of the customers.
Dangers in daily products we use
It’s deceiving on customer’s end to know that hundreds of the products that we use in our day to day life carry harmful chemical ingredients in it that are mostly untested and largely unregulated. Toothpaste, shaving creams, shampoos and every other product we could imagine has been spared from the fury of pernicious chemicals. And that too from the renowned brands of the world like P&G, L’oreal, and Nivea whom the consumers have been loyalist throughout their lifespan.
The studies are constantly identifying products such as baby wipes, lotion, and diapers as containing phenoxyethanol, which is potentially toxic to the liver and blood. Some researchers already warned that common preservatives in shampoos, sunscreens, and other common personal care products and cosmetics may increase the risk of breast cancer.
The Logical Indian requests the Indian government to bring out a robust Safety Evaluation Program that strictly regulates the personal care products on a broader level and compels the manufacturing firms to label their product on the government norms and not on the basis of their interpretation as organic or natural or so & so.
We urge the community members to be well informed. That will allow you to make more intelligent and conscious choices about chemicals that are being well used and about the safety of your family.