Jurors are set to weigh an investment banker’s claims that using Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder for more than 30 years caused him to develop a deadly cancer linked to asbestos.
A New Jersey jury will begin deciding Wednesday whether Stephen Lanzo III can legitimately blame J&J’s iconic product for his mesothelioma, an often-fatal cancer tied to asbestos exposure. Lanzo, a 46-year-old banker with U.S. Trust Corp., accuses the world’s largest health-care company of hiding that its talc-based products have contained asbestos for nearly a half century.
J&J is seeking to fend off Lanzo’s claims as it grapples with a wave of cases targeting the company’s baby powder and former Shower-to-Shower product for allegedly causing life-threatening illnesses. About 6,600 women have sued the company blaming baby powder for causing their ovarian cancers.
Company officials denied Tuesday in closing arguments that its product has ever been tainted with asbestos and pointed to decades of testing that found talc purchased from units of Imerys SA, a French-based supplier, is clear of the carcinogen. Imerys also is a defendant in the case.
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