Earlier this month the Food and Drug Administration announced that lab
tests had found trace amounts of chrysotile asbestos fibers in a bottle
of Johnson & Johnson’s talc baby powder. J&J issued a recall
of 33,000 bottles of baby powder in response but has vehemently denied
the accuracy of the tests. The samples were contaminated. The baby powder
They were framed!
J&J said it hired outside third-party labs to conduct testing of the
recalled powder as part of their investigation. They say those tests came
back negative for the presence of asbestos. Upon further investigation
Johnson & Johnson says that the air conditioning unit in the auxiliary
room where testing was performed was contaminated with asbestos. What
are the chances!
In another bizarre twist, the Maryland lab that discovered the asbestos
contamination in the baby powder happens to be run by an expert J&J
has hired to testify on their behalf in asbestos litigation cases. Andreas
Saldivar had been hired by J&J as a defense expert in 20 to 30 asbestos
cases in 2017 alone.
J&J is in a difficult position. By denying the accuracy of Saldivar’s
lab tests, they are calling into question the credibility of their own experts.
“This positive test turns up the heat on J&J,” said Nora
Freeman Engstrom, a Stanford University law professor who studies complex
litigation. “And their expert lit the match.”
Reuter’s Exclusive: J&J's own expert, working for FDA, found
asbestos in Baby Powder
Just hours after the baby powder recall was announced on October 18, a
plaintiff lawyer representing a 71-year-old woman at trial requested that
the judge allow him to share news of the recall with jurors. J&J objected
but the judge agreed to his request. Within days a settlement was reached
between plaintiffs and counsel for J&J.