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Johnson & Johnson defends itself in trial over baby powder asbestos claims


By Tina Bellon

(Reuters) - A trial for a lawsuit alleging that was responsible for the death of a woman due to her exposure to cancer-causing began in South Carolina on Monday in the latest case against the and a supplier over their talc-based products.

J&J said that its widely-used never contained asbestos, a known carcinogen linked to

The case also names as a defendant a local unit of , one of the largest U.S. drugstore chains, which allegedly sold the used by the woman.

The case marked the first time a drugstore was involved in a talcum powder liability trial and for the company, Sarah Johnston, said there was no reason for to be part of the suit.

In opening statements, for the family of Bertila Boyd-Bostic, who died of a rare form of in 2017 at the age of 30, told a jury in the that J&J had known for decades that its baby powder contained

J&J and its supplier, a unit of , deny the allegations, and their lawyers said their product did not cause any form of cancer, according to an of the trial by Courtroom View Network.

The case is one of several in recent months that alleged in products caused .

A state court jury in April ordered J&J and Imerys to pay $117 million to a man who alleged he developed due to asbestos exposure from J&J Baby Powder. An appeal is pending.

J&J has also been battling some 6,000 cases claiming its baby powder caused ovarian

Boyd-Bostic used baby powder nearly all her life, her family's lawyer, Christopher Swett, said on Monday. In 2016, she was diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma, an extremely rare form of that develops in the lining around the heart.

"J&J's choices are why we're here," Swett said. He accused the company of concealing knowledge of asbestos contamination since the 1970s and choosing not to warn consumers of the risks.

Bruce Bishop, for J&J, said there was no evidence in Boyd-Bostic's medical records that her mesothelioma was in any way related to asbestos exposure.

Michael Brown, another J&J lawyer, said millions of people had used Baby Powder without developing any "And that's because it does not contain asbestos," he said.

(Reporting by Tina Bellon)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 15 2018. 03:59 IST