Colgate-Palmolive, a New York-based, global consumer product giant, has been in the line of fire these past few years. They began as a starch, small soap, and candle business in New York in the 19th century, and they now sell consumer products to hundreds of millions of consumers worldwide. Besides starch, soap, and candles, Colgate-Palmolive has also sold perfumes, toothpaste, and baby powder (talcum-based) products.
In the last few years, cases have been reported of their talcum-based baby powder products causing mesothelioma due to trace amounts of asbestos. Colgate-Palmolive continues to deny the allegations and argues that their products have never contained asbestos. They aren't the only baby powder company to be sued for cancer-causing products. A handful of companies that produce talcum-based baby powder, including Johnson & Johnson, have been sued since 2015 for causing cancer. These cases have yielded multi-million dollar verdicts.
Cases Against Colgate-Palmolive
There have been a few cases of note in the last few years that claimed the plaintiffs developed mesothelioma, in which Colgate-Palmolive settled.
The first case was filed by a 67-year-old man who alleged that the company and their predecessor company, Mennen, were selling baby powder that was tainted with asbestos and that they didn't give adequate warning in the product information about the dangers of using products with asbestos. He had been diagnosed with mesothelioma and had come to the conclusion that their baby powder was the cause. There wasn't reliable evidence to link the exposure, and Colgate-Palmolive denied the allegations, but they settled for an undisclosed amount before the lawsuit was set to go to trial in California Superior Court in Los Angeles.
In 2015, the Los Angeles Superior Court jury ordered Colgate-Palmolive to pay $13 million to a plaintiff who had developed mesothelioma after using their talc-based powder, Cashmere Bouquet. The talc in the product was mined by Imerys Talc North America, a leading talc producer. Colgate-Palmolive openly rejected the verdict of this case and instead settled confidentially with the plaintiff at a later date.
In 2017, Colgate-Palmolive agreed to a confidential settlement in another mesothelioma case relating to the use of their talcum powder.
Another case was brought forward by a Pennsylvania woman who had used their talcum powder for over 20 years, and Colgate-Palmolive agreed to settle.
The Dangers of Asbestos in Talcum Powder
Many generations of Americans have grown up with talcum powder in their homes, and many of these talcum powders contain asbestos or are alleged to contain asbestos. While talc itself is safe and is desired for its ability to absorb moisture and improve texture, talc-based products that contain trace amounts of asbestos can cause mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses.
Talc is still used in many products to this day, but many of them that were manufactured before the mid-1970s contained traces of asbestos dust, most likely due to the two minerals often occurring naturally near each other.
Why does this matter? Asbestos is very dangerous for humans if it's inhaled, as it can cause serious health conditions such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and ovarian cancer (among others). It can be decades before the harmful effects of asbestos are recognized and diagnosed, which means that many cases of exposure to asbestos are just now coming to light years later.
Those who have possibly been exposed to asbestos can undergo regular medical monitoring and screening. While there is no cure for mesothelioma, the medical and scientific communities have made great strides in treatment options to reduce painful symptoms and help improve longevity and quality of care for patients living with the deadly disease. In the case of Colgate-Palmolive's Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder, the product was discontinued years ago, but because asbestos-related illnesses can occur decades after exposure, many more people might have been exposed and may develop cancer. This is true for all asbestos-containing products.
Have You Been Diagnosed with an Asbestos-related Illness?
Cooney & Conway has obtained some of the highest verdicts and settlements in the country for our clients. Some of our more notable accomplishments relating to asbestos-related diagnosis' include:
- $200,000,000 settlement in a consolidated asbestos case. At the time, this settlement was the largest in the history of Illinois.
- $35,100,000 verdict for a refinery worker exposed to asbestos at Shell Oil
- $12,300,000 verdict for an insulator exposed to asbestos on the job
- $3,500,000 verdict for an electrician exposed to asbestos on the job
- $3,000,000 verdict for an insulator exposed to asbestos on the job
If you believe you or someone you care about has been exposed to asbestos through the use of talcum powder, fill out our free case evaluation and we'll determine how we can help you get compensation.