Claire’s Recalls Makeup Containing Asbestos

Claire's makeup recall

By Leah McMorris, Esq. and Leslie-Anne Taylor, Esq.

Published on June 26, 2019

This month the mall retailer Claire’s was forced to voluntarily recall a makeup kit marketed to pre-teens and teenagers after Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tests showed the presence of asbestos. The product, Claire’s JoJo Siwa’s Tween Makeup Set, is  the subject of a June 6, 2019 Safety Alert by the FDA. This was the second recall of makeup products containing asbestos by Claire’s in the last three months.

The FDA recommends on its website that consumers who have this batch of Claire’s JoJo Siwa Tween Makeup Set should stop using the products, and the company said it will issue refunds to consumers. The specific lot affected is:

  • Claire’s JoJo Siwa Makeup Set, SKU #888711136337, Batch/Lot No. S180109

In the same statement, the Food and Drug Administration also recalled products from Beauty Plus Global, a Chinese company. The specific product of theirs recalled was Beauty Plus Global Contour Effects Palette 2, Batch No. S1603002/PD-C1179.

Claire’s History of Asbestos-Tainted Product Recalls

Claire’s products have been scrutinized since 2017 when a Rhode Island mom had her daughter’s makeup from Claire’s tested and was shocked to find that it contained asbestos. In all Claire’s issued recalls on nine (9) of its products at that time:

  • Ultimate Mega Make Up Set, code 71844.
  • Metallic Hot Pink Glitter 48-Piece Makeup Set, code 76094.
  • Pink Glitter Cellphone Makeup Compact, code 26556.
  • Bedazzled Rainbow Heart Makeup Set, code 11767.
  • Rainbow Bedazzled Star Make Up Set, code 20926.
  • Rainbow Glitter Heart Shaped Makeup Set, code 97275.
  • Mint Glitter Make Up Set, code 74769.
  • Rainbow Bedazzled Rectangle Make Up Set, code 21044.
  • Pink Glitter Palette with Eyeshadow & Lip Gloss, code 97276.

In March of this year, Claire’s recalled another three makeup products after FDA testing found that the products were contaminated with tremolite asbestos.  Tremolite, an amphibole form of asbestos, is often present in talc, an ingredient often used in cosmetics.

The lots recalled for containing asbestos in March 2019 were:

  • Claire’s Eye Shadows — Batch No/Lot No: 08/17
  • Claire’s Compact Powder — Batch No/Lot No: 07/15
  • Claire’s Contour Palette — Batch No/Lot No: 04/17

When the first recall occurred in 2017, Claire’s disputed the validity of the asbestos tests performed by the independent testing agencies, Scientific Analytical Institute (SAI) and STAT Analysis Corporation (STAT). Despite this, in March of this year Claire’s issued a statement stating that it has switched to talc-free manufacturing for all its products.

Talc and Health

Talc has been implicated in the development of cancer. Both ovarian cancer and mesothelioma are associated with the use of cosmetic talc.  Mesothelioma, a cancer that is only caused by asbestos, is probably caused by the asbestos contaminant in talc. Exposure to cosmetic talc is associated with ovarian cancer, although scientists are not exactly sure of how it causes cancer. To read more on talc and cancer, click here.

What Can You Do?

You must check your children’s makeup products for the presence of talc. Talc may be described on a label as talc, talcum powder, magnesium silicate, or cosmetic talc. The FDA does not have pre-market review authority and cannot enforce any recall over cosmetics. Unfortunately, because of this regulatory gap, there is no federal agency with primary responsibility for regulating asbestos or talc in makeup.

Johnson & Johnson Knew Its Talc Contained Asbestos, A Cancer Risk, For Four Decades

By: Marilyn McGoldrick, Esq.

Published December 17, 2018

Johnson & Johnson documents confirm they knew since at least 1971 that their talc powders contained asbestos

A new report by Reuters makes public the fact that cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson knew since at least 1971 that its talc powders including baby powder contained asbestos.

Thornton Law Firm wrote on this blog last year about the cover-up revealed by many of the same documents Reuters reviewed. The documents were produced in talc powder cancer lawsuits against J&J over the past few years:  Johnson & Johnson Knew of Asbestos Risk In Talc For Over Forty Years. Since that blog post was published, an additional 6,000 claims have been filed against Johnson and Johnson alleging cancer developed after using their talc powder products.

For over 40 years, Johnson & Johnson has maintained that the talc in their powders including Baby Powder and Shower to Shower powder were asbestos-free. But Johnson & Johnson’s own internal documents present much evidence that this is just untrue.

J&J receives reports of asbestos in talc beginning in 1957

Johnson & Johnson’s earliest reports of asbestos in talc are from 1957 and 1958 when a consulting lab’s studies of the Italian talc used in J&J Baby Powder showed fibrous and “acicular,” or needle-like, tremolite. Tremolite is an amphibole asbestos, often found along with other minerals in nature.

Internal discussion of asbestos in talc, but never reported to authorities

Over the years, Johnson & Johnson executives, scientists, mine managers, doctors and lawyers discussed the asbestos problem internally but never reported it to federal authorities.

Johnson & Johnson failed to disclose tests by three separate labs between 1972 and 1975 showed asbestos in talc to the FDA, instead telling the FDA that all its powders tested asbestos-free. One of the tests reported the asbestos level as “rather high”.

J&J works to suppress the public’s knowledge of asbestos in their talc powders

Arthur Langer and Irving Selikoff, scientists well known to asbestos victims for their research on the dangers of asbestos, both told Johnson & Johnson that they found asbestos in its talc. In response, J&J put the two famous researchers on a list of “antagonistic personalities” in a November 29, 1972 memo.

In 1973 Johnson and Johnson considered getting patents for a process that would separate talc from tremolite, but decided against obtaining the patents. The director of research for J&J’s Central Research Laboratories in New Jersey, Tom Shelley,  wrote this explanation to a J&J lawyer:

“We will want to carefully consider the … patents re asbestos in talc. It’s quite possible that we may wish to keep the whole thing confidential rather than allow it to be published in patent form and thus let the whole world know.”

Johnson & Johnson rejected the most sensitive test for finding asbestos in talc, then based on the less sensitive tests claimed (and continue to claim) their talc is asbestos-free.

For years the American Cancer Society accepted the representations of industry that talc products were asbestos-free. The ACS website said flatly  “All talcum products used in homes have been asbestos-free since the 1970s.” But after being contacted by Reuters , in December the ACS revised its website. Now it says that under industry guidelines, talc products “should be free from detectable amounts of asbestos.” See the change on the website here.

Many talc samples and baby powder samples test positive for asbestos

Baby powders that when tested were found to contain asbestos included:

  • A bottle of 1978 baby powder from Johnson & Johnson’s own J&J museum;
  • Bottles from  plaintiffs’ cupboards;
  • Shower to Shower talc powder from the 1990s;
  • Bottles purchased on Ebay.

Judge Accuses J&J of “Misrepresentation by Omission”

This year a New Jersey judge, Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Ana Viscomi, upheld a jury verdict again Johnson & Johnson. In her ruling in favor of the plaintiff with cancer, she stated:

“Providing the FDA favorable results showing no asbestos and withholding or failing to provide unfavorable results, which show asbestos, is a form of a misrepresentation by omission,”

Johnson & Johnson has begun to change their statements on asbestos in talc powders

While Johnson & Johnson’s website used to say their talc powders have always been asbestos free, that statement has been changed. Now the site says  “Our talc-based consumer products are (we cannot say always) asbestos free, as confirmed by regular testing since the 1970s.”

What can you do?

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer or mesothelioma after using talcum powder (including baby powder and Shower to Shower Powder), you may have a claim for damages. Contact Thornton Law Firm’s defective product attorneys for a confidential, free evaluation of your legal rights at 1-888-341-1405. Or tell us your story here  to find out your legal rights and how you should proceed.

Trust our Massachusetts talcum powder attorneys to help

Call Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick at 1-888-341-1405  or tell her your story online  for a free consultation with a recognized leader in Massachusetts personal injury litigation. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case. You have nothing to risk.

Johnson and Johnson Ordered to Pay $417 Million in Talc Ovarian Cancer Verdict

Call 888-341-1405 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in defective product litigation. You can also contact us online to discuss the details of your case.

By: Marilyn McGoldrick, Esq.

UPDATE: The trial judge granted Johnson & Johnson’s motion for a new trial in this case, overturning the verdict and ruling that there were errors and jury misconduct. Plaintiff Eva Echeverria died after the trial; her estate has appealed the ruling vacating the award.

 

Published on September 20, 2017

The first California trial of a plaintiff claiming her ovarian cancer was caused by Johnson & Johnson talc powder ended in a $417 million award for plaintiff Eva Echeverria.

Previous talc lawsuits had been tried in state court in St. Louis, Missouri. Last year the Supreme Court ruled that cases must be tried in the state where the injuries occurred. Since then, Johnson & Johnson has worked to get the St. Louis cases dismissed, claiming that St. Louis is an over-friendly plaintiff’s jurisdiction. This California jury award of $367 million in punitive damages was more than was awarded in all four St. Louis talc verdicts put together.

Echeverria, age 63, was too ill to attend the trial.  She was initially diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007, when a softball sized tumor was removed by her surgeon. Her videotape deposition was played for the jury. She testified that she used Johnson & Johnson baby powder from age 11 until 2016 when she saw a story on the news about a woman with ovarian cancer who had used talcum powder.

As in previous trials, evidence was introduced to show that J&J has been aware for decades of studies linking use of talcum powder to cancer, and withheld that information from consumers. A 1982 study was introduced that showed a 92% increased risk for talc users of developing ovarian cancer. The study’s author, Daniel W. Cramer, later recommended that Johnson & Johnson put warning labels on talc powder products.

New evidence introduced at this trial included warning labels on bottles of talcum powder sold at Walmart and Dollar Tree, warning of the risk of ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson has never warned consumers of the risks of ovarian cancer from talc use. Echeverria also produced evidence that members of the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, an industry organization that has pronounced talc a safe ingredient, has received payments from Johnson and Johnson for speeches and other engagements.

Johnson & Johnson has appealed the verdict, claiming that passion and prejudice tainted the jury’s decision.

It is recommended that women who use talcum powder switch to cornstarch, arrowroot, or any other powder made without talc. If you or a loved one has developed ovarian cancer after using talc powder, call the talcum powder lawyers at Thornton Law Firm for a free and confidential consultation. Please  call Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick at 1-888-341-1405 or tell us your story online for a comprehensive evaluation of your legal rights. Seek legal advice as soon as possible. Legal claims have short time limits that are strictly enforced by the courts. Do not delay.

J&J To Pay $70 Million in Talc Ovarian Cancer Verdict

Call 888-341-1405 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in personal injury and medical device litigation. You can also contact us online to discuss the details of your case.

By: Marilyn McGoldrick, Esq.

A St. Louis jury awarded a California woman $70 million dollars in her lawsuit claiming that years of using Johnson & Johnson’s talc baby powder caused her ovarian cancer. This is the third straight multi-million dollar award against Johnson & Johnson for women who developed ovarian cancer after using J&J’s talc baby powder or Shower to Shower powder. Despite the verdicts, Johnson & Johnson continues to sell talcum powder products throughout the world.

The 63-year-old plaintiff, Deborah Giannecchini, used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder for feminine hygiene for four decades before she was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer in 2012. She has undergone multiple surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy to treat the cancer. Evidence was introduced that she has an 80% chance of dying in the next two years.

Giannecchini was quoted in the St. Louis Dispatch:

“There isn’t a way to describe how you feel emotionally when you’re told you probably won’t make it beyond the next year,” She had used talc-containing J&J products for more than 39 years, she said. Talc was found in her ovaries.

“I had no idea there was any risk involved with using them,” she said. “It was startling to hear.”

Finding that Johnson & Johnson was negligent, the jury awarded Giannecchini a total of $70.075 million dollars. The verdict was for $575,000 in medical bills, $2 million dollars in compensatory damages, $65 million in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson, and $2.5 million in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson’s talc supplier, Imerys. This is the first time Imerys was held liable for damages in a talc ovarian cancer case.

It was reported that one of the jurors refused to sign the verdict form because she didn’t believe the award of $70 million dollars was high enough.

This verdict is the third large talc powder verdict against Johnson & Johnson for a woman who developed ovarian cancer after using J&J talcum powder products; the first of these, in February resulted in a $72 million dollar award; the second, in May, was an award for $55 million dollars.

Johnson & Johnson has announced that it will appeal this verdict, as it has done with the prior verdicts. Almost 2000 cases are pending around the country claiming J&J didn’t warn consumers of the risks of using talcum powder as advertised.

If you use baby powder, rather than using a product containing talc, look for a powder made of some other material, such as cornstarch. If you believe you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer that may have been caused by talcum powder, call Marilyn McGoldrick at Thornton Law Firm for a free, confidential consultation. You can call our defective product attorneys at 1-888-341-1405 or tell us your story online for a no-obligation evaluation of your legal rights. As with all legal claims, talc powder claims have short time limits. Seek legal advice as soon as possible as legal time limits are strictly enforced.

J&J To Pay $55 Million for Talc Ovarian Cancer

Call 888-341-1405 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in personal injury and medical device litigation. You can also contact us online to discuss the details of your case.

By: Marilyn McGoldrick, Esq.

NOTE: This verdict was overturned by the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, based on the Supreme Court decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California, San Francisco County, et al., 582 U.S.___ (2017), for lack of personal jurisdiction.

A South Dakota woman was awarded $55 million dollars against Johnson & Johnson for developing ovarian cancer after decades of using J&J talcum powder products. The verdict is the second successive multi-million dollar verdict against Johnson & Johnson in the past two months for women who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talcum powder for many years. The jury awarded $5 million dollars in compensatory damages and $50 million dollars in punitive damages.

The plaintiff, Gloria Ristesund, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011 after using J&J Baby Powder and Shower to Shower powder as advertised, on her genital area, for almost 39 years. She is in remission after undergoing a full hysterectomy. Her lawsuit charged Johnson & Johnson of failing to warn of the cancer risk of using talcum powder or failing to remove talc from the powder and replace it with cornstarch which has similar soothing properties. The jury found in her favor after one day of deliberations following a three-week trial.

Internal Johnson & Johnson documents were introduced into evidence showing the company was aware of health concerns about talcum powder since the 1970s. A 1992 J&J document suggested targeting sales to high users of talcum powder to increase sales. Talc was found in Ristesund’s ovarian tissue after the hysterectomy.

This verdict comes on the heels of a similar case in February in which the survivors of a woman who died of ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson talc powder were awarded $72 million dollars.

Johnson & Johnson has announced that it will appeal this verdict as well as the prior verdict. Another 1200 cases remain pending around the country alleging J&J failed to warn consumers of the risks of using talc powder.

Women who use baby powder should look for a powder made without talc, such as cornstarch powder. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talcum powder, call the defective product lawyers at Thornton Law Firm for a confidential, no-obligation consultation. You can call Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick at 1-888-341-1405 or tell us your story online for a free evaluation of your legal rights. All legal claims have short time limits, so seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Johnson & Johnson to Pay $72 Million in Talc Cancer Case

Call 888-341-1405 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in personal injury and medical device litigation. You can also contact us online to discuss the details of your case.

By: Marilyn McGoldrick, Esq.

NOTE: This verdict was later overturned for lack of personal jurisdiction, based on the Supreme Court decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California, San Francisco County, et al., 582 U.S.___ (2017).

A St. Louis jury awarded $72 million dollars to the family of a woman who developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder for many years. The jury awarded $10 million dollars in compensatory damages and $62 million dollars to the family of an Alabama woman. Plaintiff Jackie Fox died of ovarian cancer on October 6th. She had used Johnson & Johnson baby powder and “Shower to Shower” talcum powder for 35 years.

Fox’s family submitted expert medical testimony that talcum powder causes ovarian cancer. Statistical evidence presented at trial also showed that 1,500 women per year die from the association between talcum powder and ovarian cancer.

While many other manufacturers now substitute corn starch for talc in baby powder, Johnson & Johnson continues to use talc in its baby powder products and continues to maintain that it is safe. The American Cancer Society advised in 1999 that women use cornstarch powder, rather than talcum powder, in the genital area.

Key evidence in the trial were internal memos from Johnson & Johnson. A 1997 memo from a J&J medical consultant, toxicologist Alfred P. Wehner, declared:

“There are at least 9 epidemiological studies published in the professional literature describing a statistically significant (albeit weak) association between hygienic talc use and ovarian cancer….Anybody who denies this risks that the talc industry will be perceived by the public like it perceives the cigarette industry: denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.”

Other Johnson & Johnson documents showed the company discussing internally how to defend potential lawsuits, and talking about hiring a female oncologist to get their message out.

The jury forewoman, Krista Smith, called the Johnson & Johnson internal documents “decisive”, stating “It was really clear they were hiding something. All they had to do was put a warning label on.”

More than 1200 other lawsuits are still pending against J&J from women who developed ovarian cancer after using talcum powder. Johnson & Johnson is expected to appeal this verdict.

Women who use baby powder should look for a powder that is made from cornstarch, not talc. If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talcum powder, call the defective product lawyers at Thornton Law Firm for a legal consultation. You can tell us your story online or call Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick at 1-888-341-1405 for a free, confidential evaluation of your legal rights. All legal claims have short time limits, so get legal advice quickly.

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