Second Major Asbestos-Talc Trial Now Underway

Talcum powered is a powdered form for talc which is a naturally occurring mineral.  It has been found to develop in the same geological conditions as asbestos and for this reason, talcum powder products can contain deadly asbestos fibers. There is also evidence talcum powder itself can cause ovarian cancer and other serious medical conditions. According to a recent news article from NJ.Com, a jury has heard the opening arguments in a case with a plaintiff who claims he developed malignant mesothelioma in his abdomen and lungs.

Boston Asbestos ExposureIn an opening statement, his attorney alleged his 46-year-old client used baby powder manufactured by Johnson & Johnson for much of his life.  It was this baby powder which he claims caused him to development malignant mesothelioma. He was diagnosed in with malignant mesothelioma in 2016.  This is the second products liability lawsuit in which a plaintiff has alleged exposure to Johnson’s Baby Powder caused mesothelioma. Both cases were filed in the jurisdiction in which defendants corporate headquarters is situated.As our Boston mesothelioma lawyers can explain, this particular plaintiff is many years younger than a typical mesothelioma victim.  This is because most mesothelioma cases involve occupational exposure over the years in which plaintiff is working.  However, once deadly asbestos fibers are inhaled or even ingested, they do not form cancer right away. Like any cancer, it takes time for the tumors to metastasize. Unlike many other cancers, there are no symptoms until it has metastasized into an advanced stage cancer. This process can take anywhere between 20 and 60 years depending on various factors, but there is an average of 40 years.

Symptoms of Malignant Mesothelioma in Boston Asbestos Cases

According to the American Cancer Society, symptoms of malignant mesothelioma can include  some or all of the following:

  • Chest pain or lower back pain
  • Chronic cough
  • Fatigue
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Hoarseness in the throat
  • Swelling in the limbs or extremities
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal fluid accumulation
  • Various other symptoms

Exposure to Asbestos Early in Life in Boston Mesothelioma Cases

As discussed-above, a patient does not generally develop many of these symptoms until the cancer has advanced to nearly the end-stage.  By the time a mesothelioma patient goes to doctor and receives a mesothelioma diagnosis, there is a high probability they only have a short while left to live.  There are various treatment options to extend life, but there is no cure.  If a plaintiff decides to undergo treatment, it will likely involve chemotherapy, radiation and radical bisection. This means in the best of cases, a patient may be given a few more years, but it will come a very high cost in terms of quality of life and comfort.  All of this pain and suffering and the tremendous cost of these procedures can be included in any calculation of damages in a Boston mesothelioma lawsuit.

Since it takes most patients 40 years to develop these symptoms and receive a diagnosis, we are dealing with much older plaintiffs on average. There are however, reasons why a patient would get diagnosed with mesothelioma at a much younger age. Some of these cases involve exposure to deadly asbestos fibers through the use of talcum powder products. While you do not typically start working full-time, in any environment that might contain friable asbestos, you get exposed to baby powder from the day you were born.  Shaving 18 or 20 year off the date of initial exposure, as compared to occupational exposure, will result in plaintiffs who tend to be much younger as we have seen in the allegations in this case.

Incidental Discovery of Mesothelioma Tumors

Another reason for a Boston mesothelioma patient being much younger is when they are having an unrelated medical problem and the doctor inadvertently observes a tumor.  For example, a person might have suffered serious personal injury in a car accident and need abdominal surgery to repair internal organ damage. Once the surgeon has opened the patient, he or she will also see the mesothelioma tumor.  They are not likely to be discovered otherwise because white blood cells may are not likely to be triggered to the point where a standard blood test will flag any abnormalities as doctors tend to see in more advanced cases of malignant  mesothelioma. While sees any good news in being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, in the rare case where it is caught earlier, treatment is often much more effective and the cancer may actually go into remission.

Boston Take Home Asbestos Cases

In some cases, it is not the plaintiff’s work environment which caused malignant mesothelioma to develop though occupational exposure, but rather occupational exposure of someone who lived at home with plaintiff during childhood. We have seen many instances where a worker would come at the end of the day wearing the same boots and work attire they had been wearing all day.  There way no reason for these workers to leave any contaminated clothing at work and take proper safety measures because they were not told they were handling a deadly substance. If they were, they would not likely be willing to be exposed themselves all day and they certainly would not want to expose their husbands, wives, and children. However, this is exactly what happened for many years of our country’s history because those in the asbestos industry went to great lengths to hide these dangers.  This is also the reason punitive damages are awarded in some mesothelioma case due to defendant’s willful and wanton disregard for employee safety.

In these cases, like those involving baby powder, victims were often exposed as children and continued to be exposed to asbestos fibers for many years in this manner.  Even if they did not come in contact with fibers directly from their parents, they would be sucked up in older vacuums without HEPA filters or bagless vacuums where the fibers would interact with the air in the home. These victims also tend to be much younger than those who were exposed to deadly asbestos fibers during years of working in construction or in a factory.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:

2nd trial underway in N.J. claiming Johnson & Johnson powder causes mesothelioma, January 30, 2018,

More Blog Entries:
Montana Settles Asbestos Claims for $25M, Feb. 19, 2017, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog

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