In a case that may set a new precedent in asbestos and mesothelioma liability, a jury in Los Angeles has awarded a woman and her husband $13 million in damages from Colgate-Palmolive. The ruling against the cosmetics and personal care products manufacturer reflected its production and sale of a specific brand of talcum powder contaminated with asbestos, a mineral often found near recoverable deposits of talc.
According to a press release from Worthington & Caron, the law firm that represented the terminally ill woman and her husband, key evidence that led jurors to conclude unanimously that the company knowingly produced and marketed a dangerous product without mitigating risks or adequately informing regulators and warning consumers included this:
Analyses of a wide array of then-currently available talcum powders requested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2010 revealed that U.S. bath and body products containing talc were free of detectable amounts of asbestos. While that should provide some peace of mind for customers today, older people may still be in danger. Mesothelioma develops slowly, often over decades. Also, for reasons that remain unclear, even minimal exposures to airborne asbestos fibers lead some to suffer the damage of the lining of the lungs and other internal organs that leads to cancer. Individuals who used asbestos-containing talcum powder during the second half of the last century could still contract mesothelioma, a condition with a five-year survival rate of lower than 10 percent.
Lung diseases related to asbestos exposure are most common among miners, shipyard workers and railroad employees who worked with the material every day for long periods. Recently, however, spouses and children who only came into contact with asbestos as fibers stuck to their relative's clothing have starting dying from mesothelioma and asbestosis. With bath and body powders now recognized as a potentially deadly exposure risk, all people must be on alert.
If you or a loved has developed mesothelioma with no obvious cause, looking into past use of talcum powders may make sense. My Virginia wrongful death law firm colleagues and I have helped many families deal with asbestos-related illnesses and fatalities. We may be able to answer some of your initial questions if you are going through a similar situation and, if appropriate, assist you in holding a negligent corporation accountable.