Jury awards $29M in J&J baby powder cancer case

California jury orders J&J to pay US$29 million in latest talc cancer trial

The New Jersey-based company is likely to appeal the verdict, which was made in California Superior Court in Oakland.

Johnson & Johnson says tests by regulators worldwide have shown that its talc is safe and asbestos-free.

Asbestos is found insulation, roofing and some plastics, but according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the naturally occurring minerals also turn up in the pure form of talc, which is the basis for talcum powder like that used in Johnson & Johnson's products.

But while talc is used for the skin, thanks to its moisture-absorbing properties, asbestos was used for insulation. He said the specific type of asbestos wasn't industrial grade, which would have indicated she was exposed to it on the job.

"We respect the legal process and reiterate that jury verdicts are not medical, scientific or regulatory conclusions about a product", J&J said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that lawyers for the woman had fundamentally failed to show its baby powder contained asbestos.

The jury deliberated for two days before delivering its verdict. The jury declined to award punitive damages.

Joseph Satterley, Leavitt's lawyer, said "another jury has rejected the decades-long deception by Johnson & Johnson claiming that their baby powder was free of asbestos".

Despite the verdicts, Johnson & Johnson maintains that its baby powder formula does not contain asbestos, and set up a website called "Facts about Talc" to try and dissuade the public from continuing to think one of its most popular products contains the harmful mineral.

Leavitt's trial originally included Johnson & Johnson talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, a unit of Imerys SE, as a co-defendant.

A court in the USA state of California ordered Johnson & Johnson to compensate a woman to the tune of $29 million for cancer complications she developed from using the company's talcum powder, according to media reports.

Recent cases have focused on talc's link to mesothelioma, but many additional cases allege the powder has caused ovarian cancer.

Last year, a Los Angeles jury awarded $25.7 million to a woman and a Missouri jury awarded $4.69 million to 22 women. The jury did not award punitive damages - created to punish defendants - from Johnson & Johnson and the other companies involved in making the talcum powder.

The conglomerate said it would appeal the order and cited "serious procedural and evidentiary errors" in the trial's proceedings.

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