Colgate-Palmolive Co., makers of talcum powder products (among many others products), agreed to settle a lawsuit brought on by a Pennsylvania woman who claimed her usage of their talcum powder products caused her to develop malignant mesothelioma.
The company resolved Carol Schoeniger’s lawsuit in a New Jersey courtroom, likely to avoid undergoing another lengthy trial. The amount awarded to the plaintiff remains private since it was an agreed-upon settlement.
The deal came about as numerous talcum powder users begin to hold businesses such as Colgate-Palmolive and other talcum products makers and distributors accountable for not forewarning them that their body powders contained the toxic mineral, asbestos, which is a known carcinogen linked to deadly diseases, including mesothelioma, asbestos, and asbestos-related lung cancer. The lawsuits declare that some of the companies’ products made with talcum are polluted with asbestos, which can frequently be found in talcum deposits.
Currently, Colgate-Palmolive is facing over 170 cases against them for allegedly selling talc products laced with asbestos. They’ve said that 43 cases have been rectified this year alone.
In 2015, as reported by the Sacramento Bee, the company once again lost an asbestos-related lawsuit after a California woman with mesothelioma sued the business for not giving warning that their Cashmere Bouquet product contained asbestos–which ultimately led to the plaintiff developing an asbestos-related illness.
In this instance, the company fought the lawsuit and after a two-week trial in a Los Angeles court, they ultimately lost. They were initially required to pay $12.4 million to the plaintiff, but just as the jury convened to discuss adding punitive damages, an agreed upon undisclosed amount was settled upon.
“Colgate was disappointed with the jury’s verdict,” company spokesman Tom DiPiazza later said.
“Defendants manage their litigation in different ways,” Schoeniger’s attorney said earlier this month. “Colgate settles some and tries other.’’
In 2013, in another talc-related lawsuit, a New Jersey jury determined that Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, Inc., a company that distributed talc-related products such as Desert Flower and Old Spice body powder, didn’t warn plaintiff Steven Kaenzig of the risks of asbestos. Similar to Schoeniger, Kaenzig developed mesothelioma. However, Kaenzig’s exposure came second-hand after his father brought asbestos-contaminated talc products from his work and into the family home.
Kaenzig was diagnosed with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma in 2011. Two years later, a jury awarded Kaenzig and his wife, Linda, $1.6 million in damages.
Another giant corporation, Johnson & Johnson, is also facing mounting claims. Currently, the company has over 5,000 pending claims against it popular baby powder product, with many plaintiffs alleging it caused ovarian cancer in women.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), although talc isn’t consideration a carcinogen, there is a possible link to ovarian cancer. The link, according to ACS, is a small one.
Small risks, however, do not mean people won’t develop life-threatening illnesses. For instance, ACS also suggests that there is no safe amount of asbestos exposure. Although it’s more likely for someone to develop a toxic illness such as mesothelioma when large amounts of asbestos are inhaled and/or ingested, the risk is still there and can’t be ruled out simply because it’s minute.
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