California Woman Develops Mesothelioma From Talcum Powder

A 73-year-old California woman who developed mesothelioma after using talcum powder won her lawsuit last month, after a Los Angeles jury found that the Colgate-Palmolive Company was 95% responsible for her death.

According to court documents, Judith Winkel used Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder for numerous years. However, she had no idea that the product contained asbestos, nor that asbestos is a deadly mineral that can cause life-threatening diseases when its fibers are inhaled or ingested. In one of the first victories against Colgate-Palmolive over asbestos issues, Winkel’s mesothelioma lawyers stated that these types of cases would never happen if businesses were honest and ethical.

“This is an example of the legal system exposing what a company should have been honest about 50 years ago. Judith Winkel only wanted a jury to hear the truth about this product and hopefully to help others who are similarly exposed.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) performed recent studies regarding asbestos in talc powders, but found no substantial evidence. Yet, the FDA did state that there have always been concerns about asbestos in talc powder and other consumer products since the 1970s, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released findings on the dangers of asbestos. Afterwards, many companies stopped using asbestos in their products, but Winkel had already used talc powder for numerous years by then.

Asbestos in Common Household Products

While asbestos is usually associated with asbestos-containing products at industrial job sites in the past, the mineral was also used and is still used in numerous household products. Most people are unaware that asbestos is still legal in products as long as it’s only a small amount, yet numerous studies have indicated that there are no safe levels of asbestos.

Common household products that contained asbestos included:

  • Talcum powder and baby powder
  • Curling irons
  • Ironing boards
  • Crayons
  • Portable heaters
  • Electric blankets
  • Toys
  • Hair dryers
  • Chalk boards
  • Children’s clay

Colgate to Pay Punitive Damages

Meanwhile, lawyers for Colgate-Palmolive were unhappy with the decision on Winkel’s case. The company bought the talcum powder products from Cashmere in 1995, but feel they are not responsible for the plaintiff’s disease.

“We believe that the facts and evidence presented at trial showed that Cashmere Bouquet … played no part in causing the plaintiff’s illness.”

Regardless, the jury disagreed with Colgate-Palmolive. In addition, the company is unable to appeal after reaching a confidential settlement with the plaintiff prior to the jury trial. The jury trial was to determine what, if any, punitive damages Colgate-Palmolive was responsible for. In turn, the company was order to pay $13 million to Winkel’s estate.

Although the lawsuit is the first victory against Colgate-Palmolive in regards to asbestos, it’s not the first successful asbestos lawsuit concerning talc powder. Recently, a New Jersey man, who developed malignant mesothelioma after using a cosmetic talc, won his lawsuit and was awarded $1.6 million.

Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other illness due to asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. We invite you to fill out our contact form today to get free brochures from the top mesothelioma lawyers in your area. For more than 20 years, we’ve been helping families successfully connect with the best mesothelioma attorneys. With over $30 billion currently in asbestos trust funds, now is the right time to take the first step in determining what you may qualify for.

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