Talc Cancer Litigation in the US: An Update

INTRODUCTION

Over the past 20 months, we have been observing a trans-Atlantic trend of talcum powder-inducing cancer claims. It has been alleged that talc products contain asbestos and that years of continuous exposure to talc has caused claimants to develop ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

In this feature article, we update our readers with the latest developments that have impacted on talc claimants and talc defendants, as talc claims continue to rise.

The number of talc cancer claimants is expected to double in 2019.[1]

ARE TALC-BASED PRODUCTS CARCINOGENIC?

In its natural form, talc mineral, comprising mainly of magnesium, silicon and oxygen, is mined in close proximity to asbestos. Asbestos, of course, can be in the form of tremolite, chrysotile, actinolite, amosite, anthophyllite and crocidolite.

Established in 1886, New Jersey-based talc product manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), bought talc from mining operations in the US (Vermont), Italy and Korea.[2] Talcum powder has the effect of absorbing moisture, reducing friction, keeping the skin dry and preventing rashes and chafing.[3] J&J company documents estimate that 239 million babies were powdered with Johnson & Johnson between 1930 and 1990.

In the early 1970’s, J&J became aware of the dangers of talc contaminated with asbestos, i.e. the risk of mesothelioma.

Since talc-based products are classified as cosmetics, they never required Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review or approval before they went on the market,[4] although Baby Powder does exhibit a warning, cautioning against inhalation and prescribing external use only.

In 2006, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified use of talc on genitals as ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’, though there was not much evidence to back-up this assertion. There was also inadequate evidence to suggest that inhaled talc was carcinogenic and inconsistent evidence in support of an increased risk of cancer among workers occupationally exposed to talc.

The American Cancer Society, on their website, proposes that:

‘... talcum powder might cause cancer in the ovaries if the powder particles (applied to the genital area or on sanitary napkins, diaphragms, or condoms) were to travel through the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes to the ovary’.

Meanwhile, Ovacome, the ovarian cancer charity, says that:

‘Ovarian cancer is a rare disease, and increasing a small risk by a third still gives a small risk ... even if talc does increase the risk slightly, very few women who use talc will ever get ovarian

cancer. Also, if someone has ovarian cancer and used talc, it seems unlikely that using talc was the reason they developed the cancer’.

EPIDEMIOLOGICAL STUDIES ON TALC-INDUCED CANCER

Studies on asbestos-free talc and cancer have produced contradictory results, such that Professor Paul Pharoah, epidemiologist at Cambridge University, has stated that:

‘The evidence of a causal association between genital talc use and ovarian cancer risk is weak’.

In support of this, a Harvard University study on 121,000 women, in which 307 out of 78,630 talc users were struck by ovarian cancer, displayed ‘no overall association’.

However, a 2008 meta-analysis, which pooled the results from 20 studies, found an increased cancer risk of 35% among talc users.

In a later 2015 study, which compared 2,041 cancer patients with 2,100 controls, researchers found that the use of talc on the genitals was associated with a 33% increased risk of ovarian cancer. Some ovarian cancer sub-types were associated with a greater risk than others.

Another meta-analysis, published in January 2017, analysed 24 case-control and 3 cohort studies and found a weak but statistically significant 22% increase in risk between genital use of talc and serous carcinoma, an ovarian cancer sub-type. As was the case with most talc cancer research, there was no definitive trend for duration or frequency of use and a causal association could not be interpreted.

PREVIOUSLY REPORTED LITIGATION

Until now, much of the litigation, which has attracted extensive media attention, has involved multinational corporation, J&J. Claimants have frequently alleged that the company failed to warn consumers about the cancer risk.

In edition 184 of BC Disease News (here), we reported that a Missouri jury had found J&J liable for a 62-year-old claimant’s ovarian cancer, which had subsequently spread to her liver. The claimant had applied J&J products for 40 years. Of the $110 damages awarded, $4.5 million were compensatory and $105 million were punitive.

Then, in edition 199 (here), we reported on a Californian jury verdict, which also found in favour of an ovarian cancer claimant. Here, the 63-year-old claimant, who began using J&J Baby Powder aged 11 and stopped in 2016, was awarded $417 million. This was broken down into compensatory damages of $70 million and punitive damages of $347.

At the time, J&J sought to appeal both decisions and in 199 (here), we reported that J&J had been successful.

At the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Judge Maren Nelson granted J&J’s request for a new trial, given that there had been errors and jury misconduct in the preliminary trial of liability. What is more, the judge found no convincing evidence that J&J acted with malice and the level of damages ($417 million) was deemed to be excessive.

In the same article, we reported on more J&J success, after a Missouri court ruling, which originally awarded $10 million for compensatory damages and $62 million in punitive damages, was also overturned. In this instance, Missouri was the incorrect jurisdiction to hear the case, as the claim was brought by a non-resident (a resident of Alabama) against a company not based in the state where alleged injuries occurred.

J&J success was followed by defeat, however. In edition 226 (here), we reported that a New Jersey verdict had resulted in more compensation being paid out. A claimant, who alleged that his mesothelioma was caused by regular use of talc products since 1972, when he was born, was successful at trial. J&J was liable for 70% of the $37 million award and Imerys Talc was liable for the remaining 30%.

We reported on the largest award to-date, in edition 239 (here), when J&J were ordered to pay $4.7 billion in compensation for 22 ovarian cancer claims, after asbestos fibres and talc particles were found in the ovarian tissue. $4.1 billion of this settlement were punitive damages. At the time, we reported that J&J intended to appeal.

Lastly, in edition 256 (here), we discussed that J&J had defended a Californian claim, in which the claimant had been exposed to asbestos in talcum powder, but this was not a ‘substantial factor’ in her mesothelioma development.

In a South Carolina decision, which was a re-trial of a hung-jury decision, we reported that the jury had failed to reach a unanimous verdict on a claim, brought by the spouse of a 30-year-old mesothelioma victim, who sought $62 million.

Elsewhere, we raised awareness that the appeal of the $4.7 million ovarian cancer lawsuit had begun, with J&J seeking to overturn the ‘excessive and unconstitutional’ punitive damages award.

See the figure below to observe a timeline of J&J trial activity.

Figure: J&J Trial Activity

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(Source: Bloomberg)

What about litigation in the UK?

In edition 236 (here) we considered the risk of talc litigation migrating to the UK from the US, after the Guardian reported that Phillip Gower, of Simpson Millar, had teamed up with talc litigation specialist, Brendan Tully, of Phillips Paolicelli Attorneys.

Mr Tully was the first lawyer to forge a link between talc and asbestos-related cancer, obtaining an order for $7 million (£5.4 million) in compensation, against talcum powder supplier, Whitaker Clark and Daniels.

Mr Gower has argued that talc-based products, ‘shipped to the UK from America with no health warnings on their packaging’, has created a 'ticking timebomb' of cancer among middle-aged British women.

J&J KNEW ABOUT ASBESTOS IN BABY POWDER? – THE REUTERS REPORT

The Report

On 14 December 2018, Reuters published a Special Report,[5] which examined J&J memos, international documents, along with deposition and trial testimony. It was a potentially damaging revelation.

Ultimately, the report discloses that the company knew of raw talc, Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products that tested positive for ‘small amounts of asbestos’, from 1971 onwards. Further, that senior executives, mine managers, scientists, doctors and lawyers purposely concealed their concerns from consumers and the FDA.[6]

J&J assured the regulator that no asbestos was ‘detected in any sample’ of talc, produced between December 1972 and October 1973. Nonetheless, J&J masked the results of at least 3 tests by 3 different labs, between 1972 and 1975, which found asbestos in its talc – in 1 case, asbestos levels were reported as ‘rather high’.

Would the FDA have implemented limits on asbestos in talc if all information had been disclosed?

J&J immediately condemned the Reuters report as ‘one-sided, false and inflammatory’:[7]

Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder is safe and asbestos-free. Studies of more than 100,000 men and women show that talc does not cause cancer or asbestos-related disease. Thousands of independent tests by regulators and the world’s leading labs prove our baby powder has never contained asbestos’. 

In J&J’s defence, throughout testing conducted by the Colorado School of Mines, the McCrone Group and the University of Cardiff, no asbestos was ever detected in talc samples.[8]

Financial Implications

In the 7-month period between 29 May 2018 and 13 December 2018, J&J’s share price rose by 25%, despite the risk posed by ongoing litigation.[9]

However, after the publication of the Reuters report, the share price fell by around 14% within several days, wiping out more than $45 billion in J&J's market capitalisation?[10] [11] By the end of 2018, the dip in share price had improved to 9%.

13.png

(Source: Bloomberg)

More Questions

With notice of the Reuters publication, member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labour and Pensions, Senator Patty Murray, sent a letter to J&J’s CEO, Alex Gorsky, requesting more information about past product testing and communication with the FDA about product safety.[12] She is awaiting a response.

LATEST J&J LITIGATION

Motions for Summary Judgment

In the penultimate and final months of 2018, J&J unsuccessfully attempted to dispose of several lawsuits by filing motions for summary judgment.

The Supreme Court of New York County denied these motions, granting permission for mesothelioma claims of 65-year-old, Donna A,[13] and 77-year-old, Anna Zoas,[14] to proceed.

In respect of Ms Zoas’ proceedings, the court deemed that J&J had failed ‘to specifically identify or make any arguments or provide evidence in support of summary judgment’.

However, just 2 weeks before jury selection was set to begin and shortly after the Reuters publication was released, J&J settled Ms Zoas’ claim for $1.5 million. J&J described this as a ‘one-off’[15] and in a prepared statement, maintained that:

‘The decision … in no way changes our overall position that our talc is safe, is asbestos free and does not cause cancer. We do not have any organized program to settle Johnson’s Baby Powder cases, nor are we planning a settlement program’.[16]

In another New York County court ruling, Desree Hooper-Lynch, who brought a claim against the talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, Inc. and Cyprus Amax Minerals Companies (read more about the Imerys Talc America development below), was also granted permission to proceed to trial.

The defendants argued that Ms Hooper-Lynch lacked jurisdiction, as neither company ‘is based, mines, manufactures, researches, develops, designs or tests’ talc or talcum powder in New York State.

However, it was sufficient that both defendants transacted business in the state where the claim was heard and, for a minimum of 6 years, had ‘sold talc and shipped it to Colgate-Palmolive in New York on a continuous basis’.

It is Ms Hooper-Lynch’s pleading that her mesothelioma diagnosis, in 2015, was onset by use of Colgate Palmolive’s Cashmere Bouquet Body Powder, between 1968 until 1985.[17]

Another motion for summary judgment was denied in January 2019, as Edward Rothlein’s peritoneal mesothelioma claim was allowed to move forward. [18] Mr Rothlein claims to have used J&J’s Baby Powder from birth, in 1946, throughout childhood and intermittently during his adult and parenting life.

Despite J&J’s persistent contention that claimants are bringing claims with evidence which is insufficient, incorrect, or improperly presented, the Supreme Court of New York County considered that claimant ‘sufficiently raised credibility issues and issues of fact as to general and specific causation, requiring a trial’.

New Claims Filed

In December of 2018, a new talc cancer claim was filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey. Here, the claimant alleges that use of J&J Baby Powder and Mennen talcum powder, between 1960 and 1981, as well as additional exposure to his wife’s White Shoulders talcum powder, caused him to develop mesothelioma.[19] The claimant may have been exposed to alternative sources of asbestos during his employment as a labourer, however.

Decisions on Appeal

At the close of 2018, a Missouri trial judge was not persuaded to set aside the landmark July 2018 judgment by jury verdict (discussed above), in which 22 Baby Powder users with ovarian cancer were awarded $4.7 billion in damages.[20]

St. Louis Circuit Court Judge, Rex Burlison, considered that the large punitive damages award ($4.1 billion) was justified. The formula for calculating a figure of punitive damages in talc cancer claims is supposedly derived from the number of years since the IARC classified talc as a possible carcinogen, in 2006.[21]

J&J will continue with their appeal, however, and remain confident that the 1st instance ruling can be reversed:

‘The same judge has denied similar motions on prior verdicts in his court that were ultimately overturned by the appellate courts. We are confident this verdict will also be overturned on appeal’.

New Trial Underway in 2019

In January of this year, the case of Leavitt v Johnson & Johnson began at Almedia Superior Court in Oakland, California. Every session of the trial, before Superior Court Judge Brad Seligma, has been streamed live on the Courtroom View Network (here).

The claimant, Terry Leavitt, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017 and attributed her condition to asbestos exposure, having used J&J products (Korean-mined talc[22]) from the 1960’s until 1990. [23]

In addition to J&J, the claimant brought joined Cypress Mines and Imerys Talc America to the litigation, though Imerys was dismissed from proceedings in the wake of the company’s recent bankruptcy petition (see below section for more detail).

For many years, the claimant had lived next to a vermiculite processing factory – vermiculite is an insulation and roofing material and is a possible cause of mesothelioma.

At trial, Dr. Jerrold Abraham, a Syracuse, New York-based pathologist, gave evidence that he had identified asbestos in the claimant’s lung tissue and lymph tissue.[24]

Alleging that J&J had been guilty of negligence, the claimant has argued that J&J failed to use a more comprehensive heavy-liquid testing method for detecting asbestos in Baby Powder.

A ‘concentration’ technique for testing asbestos in Baby Powder, which is akin to the process of ‘centrifugation’, was developed in the 1970’s. By this method, Baby Powder is spun in a test tube with heavy liquid to separate the components in order of density. These differentiated elements that could then be examined under a microscope. In 1991, Alice Blount, a Rutgers University researcher, published a scientific paper on the ‘concentration’ technique, which consistently found tremolite in J&J Baby Powder.

It has been argued that without the ‘concentration’ method, J&J would not be able to effectively screen for ‘trace’ levels of asbestos in Baby Powder.

According to the claimant’s lawyers, the method that they did use – high-powered microscopes and X-ray diffraction – was ‘not fool-proof’.[25] Under cross-examination, Dr David Egilman, a physician and Brown University epidemiology researcher, averred that ‘2 percent chrysotile ...  would not be detected’ using diffraction.

Mr William Longo, an electron microscope researcher, agreed that the ‘concentration’ method was not practical for detecting chrysotile, but was practical for spotting asbestos-contaminated tremolite and anthophyllite. He also stated that the FDA never adopted the ‘concentration’ method:

‘They never put out a method using any analytical technique’.

In addition, he opined that polarized light microscopes could had the capacity to detect trace level of asbestos and John Hopkins, ex-Research & Development Director at J&J, concurred:

‘The transmission electron microscope (TEM) could detect much lower levels (than concentration). The TEM was seen as more accurate’.

J&J’s lawyers have also submitted that positive tests of asbestos in Baby Powder could have been mistakenly identified. Asbestos contamination can occur in storage or in a laboratory, though Mr Longo’s explained that he would look in detail at the crystalline nature of a mineral and its structure before recognising an asbestos fibre bundle.

Nevertheless, a U.S. Bureau of Mines document exhibited that broken-off shards, or ‘cleavage fragments’ of non-asbestos minerals, could have been mistaken as asbestos fibres.

THE KNOCK-ON EFFECTS OF AGGREGATING TALC-LITIGATION

Sri Lankan Import Ban

As a result of the current claims climate surrounding J&J, Sri Lanka has stopped importing J&J Baby Powder.[26] Although existing stock can still be sold across Sri Lanka, this restriction will remain in place until the company proves that the J&J product is asbestos-free.

Kamal Jayasinghe, Chief Executive of Sri Lanka's National Medicine Regulatory Authority (NMRA), has informed J&J’s distributor that, given J&J’s failure to report the results of chemical testing in the 1970’s, ‘quality reports from an accredited laboratory to ensure there is no asbestos in their product’ will need to be submitted before the import license can be renewed.

However, J&J maintains that most laboratory testing of J&J talc in recent decades has tested negative for asbestos.

Talc Supplier and Common Co-Defendant Files Bankruptcy Papers

On 13 February 2019, talc supplier Imerys Talc America Inc., which has been a co-defendant in most of the talc lawsuits brought, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[27]

On the same day Imerys Talc Vermont and Imerys Talc Canada Inc. also sought Chapter 11 protection.[28]

Imerys Talc America is a subsidiary of the French Group company, Imerys SA.

The US unit’s bankruptcy papers cite more than 14,000 claims (14,600[29]) that the company faces in US courts as grounds for bankruptcy, in addition to the multi-billion dollar verdict against J&J, in July 2018. Pre-trial, Imerys settled its share for an undisclosed figure.[30]

Giorgio La Motta, Imerys Talc America’s President, stated that:

‘After carefully evaluating all possible options, we determined pursuing Chapter 11 protection is the best course of action to address our historic talc-related liabilities and position the companies for continued growth’.

Under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code, the Imerys Talc subsidiaries can set up a trust to deal with current and future litigation. The litigation will be heard under a single judge and claimants may be pressured into accepting lower settlement offers, so that the company can escape ‘millions of dollars in projected legal costs’.

Imerys maintains its contention that the talc litigation is without merit, despite recent activity.

News of bankruptcy filing caused J&J’s share price to drop by a further 0.7% on the New York Stock Exchange, but this recovered to 0.2% when trading closed. Meanwhile, Imerys SA’s share price dropped by 0.75% in Paris.

J&J spokesman, Ernie Knewitz, declined to comment on Imerys corporate tactics.

CONCLUSION

Apart from the ‘one-off’ settlement agreed in mid-December, around 40 talc-cancer lawsuits involving J&J have been decided so far. Either through success at 1st instance, summary judgment, or success on appeal, J&J states that it has been the winning party in 35 cases.[31]

However, the Reuters report has clearly damaged J&J’s defence, in respect of its knowledge of asbestos in talc. It will be interesting to examine whether critical scientific opinion on talc carcinogenicity can protect the company from additional liability.

With Imerys Talc America Filing for Bankruptcy Protection in the past week, will J&J (and/or Colgate-Palmolive) amend their legal strategies to cope with a growing number of talc-cancer claims, which currently stand at around 11,700?

 

[1] Tim Povtak, ‘Senator Probing Johnson & Johnson About Asbestos in Talc’ (4 February 2019 Asbestos.com) <https://www.asbestos.com/news/2019/02/04/johnson-johnson-asbestos-talc-probe/> accessed 21 February 2019. 

[2] John Sammon, ‘J&J ignored warnings, sold baby powder anyway, expert witness says’ (24 January 2019 Northern California Record) <https://norcalrecord.com/stories/511740706-j-j-ignored-warnings-sold-baby-powder-anyway-expert-witness-says> accessed 21 February 2019.

[3] ‘Exactly How Dangerous Is Baby Powder?’ (IFL Science) <https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/exactly-how-dangerous-is-baby-powder/> accessed 21 February 2019

[4] ‘Talc’ (FDA) https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/productsingredients/ingredients/ucm293184.htm> accessed 20 February 2019.

[5] Lisa Giron, ‘Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder’ (14 December 2018 Reuters) <https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/johnsonandjohnson-cancer/> accessed 22 February 2019.

[6] Lisa Giron, ‘Special Report: J&J knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder’ (14 December 2018 Reuters) <https://www.reuters.com/article/us-johnson-johnson-cancer-special-report/special-report-jj-knew-for-decades-that-asbestos-lurked-in-its-baby-powder-idUSKBN1OD1RQ> accessed 22 February 2019.

[7] ‘Johnson & Johnson Issues Statement on Reuters Talc Article’ (14 December 2018 Johnson & Johnson) <https://www.jnj.com/our-company/johnson-johnson-issues-statement-on-reuters-talc-article> 14 December 2019.

[8] John Sammon, ‘J&J star witness says company stuck with talc in baby powder because they believed it safe’ (4 February 2019 Northern Californian Record) <https://norcalrecord.com/stories/511756327-j-j-star-witness-says-company-stuck-with-talc-in-baby-powder-because-they-believed-it-safe> accessed 21 February 2019.

[9] Joe Nocera, ‘Science Favors J&J in Talcum Powder Lawsuits’ (27 December 2018 Bloomberg) <https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-12-27/johnson-johnson-jnj-talcum-powder-suits-not-backed-by-science> accessed 20 February 2019.

[10] Tina Bellon, ‘J&J loses bid to have $4.7 billion talc verdict set aside, vows to appeal’ (20 December 2018 Yahoo) <https://finance.yahoo.com/news/j-j-loses-bid-4-184633949.html> accessed 21 February 2019.

[11] Tina Bellon, ‘Latest trial in J&J talc litigations gets under way in California’ (8 January 2019 Reuters) <https://www.reuters.com/article/us-johnson-johnson-cancer/latest-trial-in-jj-talc-litigations-gets-under-way-in-california-idUSKCN1P2046> accessed 21 February 2019.

[12] Tim Povtak, ‘Senator Probing Johnson & Johnson About Asbestos in Talc’ (4 February 2019 Asbestos.com) <https://www.asbestos.com/news/2019/02/04/johnson-johnson-asbestos-talc-probe/> accessed 21 February 2019. 

[13] ‘New York City Asbestos Litigation Court to Hear Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder Mesothelioma Lawsuit’ (23 November 2018 Mesothelioma.net) <https://mesothelioma.net/mesothelioma-news/new-york-city-asbestos-litigation-court-to-hear-johnson-johnsons-baby-powder-mesothelioma-lawsuit/> accessed 21 February 2019.

[14] ‘Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Stand Trial In New York Mesothelioma Baby Powder Case’ (10 December 2018 Mesothelioma.net) <https://mesothelioma.net/mesothelioma-news/johnson-johnson-ordered-to-stand-trial-in-new-york-mesothelioma-baby-powder-case/> accessed 21 February 2019.

[15] Lisa Martine Jenkins, ‘Johnson & Johnson agrees first talc settlement for over $1.5m’ (9 January 2019 Chemical Watch) <https://chemicalwatch.com/73095/johnson-johnson-agrees-first-talc-settlement-for-over-15m> accessed 21 February 2019.

[16] Daniel Fisher, ‘Watch New York City For Crucial Talcum Powder Verdicts In 2019’ (2 January 2019 Forbes) <https://www.forbes.com/sites/legalnewsline/2019/01/02/watch-new-york-city-for-crucial-talcum-powder-verdicts-in-2019/#4450b5842f9e> accessed 21 February 2019.

[17] New York Supreme Court Allows Woman’s Mesothelioma Talc Case to Move Forward’ (11 December 2018 Mesothelioma.net) <https://mesothelioma.net/mesothelioma-news/new-york-supreme-court-allows-womans-mesothelioma-talc-case-to-move-forward/> accessed 21 February 2019.

[18] ‘Another Baby Powder Mesothelioma Lawsuit Moves Forward in New York City’ (9 January 2019 Mesothelioma.net) <https://mesothelioma.net/mesothelioma-news/another-baby-powder-mesothelioma-lawsuit-moves-forward-in-new-york-city/> accessed 21 February 2019.

[19] ‘Arkansas Man Files Talcum Powder Mesothelioma Lawsuit in New Jersey Court’ (5 December 2018 Mesothelioma.net) <https://mesothelioma.net/mesothelioma-news/arkansas-man-files-talcum-powder-mesothelioma-lawsuit-in-new-jersey-court/> accessed 21 February 2019.

[20] Tina Bellon, ‘J&J loses bid to have $4.7 billion talc verdict set aside, vows to appeal’ (20 December 2018 Yahoo) <https://finance.yahoo.com/news/j-j-loses-bid-4-184633949.html> accessed 21 February 2019.

[21] Christina Morales, ‘Asbestos in Baby Powder: Johnson & Johnson’s Deception Put Consumers at Risk’ (Periscope) <https://www.periscopegroup.com/talcum-powder/asbestos-in-baby-powder> accessed 21 February 2019.

[22] Tina Bellon, ‘Latest trial in J&J talc litigations gets under way in California’ (8 January 2019 Reuters) <https://www.reuters.com/article/us-johnson-johnson-cancer/latest-trial-in-jj-talc-litigations-gets-under-way-in-california-idUSKCN1P2046> accessed 21 February 2019.

[23] ‘Baby Powder Mesothelioma Lawsuit in California Begins’ (8 January 2019 Mesothelioma.net) <https://mesothelioma.net/mesothelioma-news/california-baby-powder-mesothelioma-lawsuit-begins/> accessed 21 February 2019.

[24] John Sammon, ‘Fifth day at talc trial, sides continue to spar over cause of woman's mesothelioma’ (16 January 2019 Northern California Record) <https://norcalrecord.com/stories/511721396-fifth-day-at-talc-trial-sides-continue-to-spar-over-cause-of-woman-s-mesothelioma> accessed 21 February 2019.

[25] John Sammon, ‘Defense attorney for J&J debunks separation method in mesothelioma trial’ (15 February 2019 Northern California Record) <https://norcalrecord.com/stories/511775201-defense-attorney-for-j-j-debunks-separation-method-in-mesothelioma-trial> accessed 21 February 2019.

[26] Alexandra Thompson, ‘Sri Lanka BANS imports of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder until it proves it is asbestos free amid long-running battle over 'cancer-causing' talc’ (31 January 2019 Daily Mail) <https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6651909/Sri-Lanka-halts-imports-Johnson-Johnson-Baby-Powder-pending-asbestos-tests.html> accessed 5 February 2019.

[27] Jef Feeley, Margaret Cronin Fisk and Steven Church, ‘Imerys Talc Units File Bankruptcy as Cancer-Suit Risk Soars’ (13 February 2019 Bloomberg) <https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-13/imerys-sa-unit-seeks-bankruptcy-protection-over-talc-lawsuits> accessed 21 February 2019.

[28] Tina Bellon and Tom Hals, ‘J&J Talc Supplier Files for Bankruptcy Over Lawsuits’ (14 February 2019 Insurance Journal) <https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2019/02/14/517751.htm>  accessed 19 February 2019.

[29] Katy Stech Ferek and Sara Randazzo, ‘Johnson & Johnson Talc Supplier Files for Bankruptcy’ (13 Ferbuary 2019 The Wall Street Journal) <https://www.wsj.com/articles/johnson-johnson-talc-supplier-files-for-bankruptcy-11550079713>  accessed 21 February 2019.

[30] Tina Bellon and Tom Hals, ‘Johnson & Johnson supplier seeks bankruptcy over talc lawsuits’ (13 February 2019 Reuters) <https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-imerys-bankruptcy/johnson-johnson-supplier-seeks-bankruptcy-over-talc-lawsuits-idUKKCN1Q22TB> accessed 20 February 2019.

[31] Joe Nocera, ‘Science Favors J&J in Talcum Powder Lawsuits’ (27 December 2018 Bloomberg) <https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-12-27/johnson-johnson-jnj-talcum-powder-suits-not-backed-by-science> accessed 20 February 2019.