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Daniels vs. J&J and PCPC

samantha severyn

The first day of testimony, early February 2017, in a case involving cancer survivor, Nora Daniels, over the alleged link between Johnson & Johnson talcum (baby) powder and ovarian cancer, opened with the plaintiffs lawyers proving that Johnson & Johnsons category manager, Lorena Telofski and Luzenac America’s Shripal Sharma, were owned by the mining giant Rio Tinto for over 20 years, and is now the forerunner of co-defendant Imerys Talc America.

The plaintiffs Lawyer argues that the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA, now known as Personal Care Products Council or PCPC), an industry lobbying group, were able to shut down serious regulator concerns through intensive lobbying efforts. According to Steve Jarvis, the head of health and safety for Luzenac, “We also became very aggressive in our communication with NTP (National Toxicology Program) and other federal agencies. [We] didn't let the windows of 'formal comment periods' become restrictive. We sent emails, faxes, overnight letters and even telephone calls to key players in this battle … right up until hours before the final executive committee meeting,” These efforts came in response to the National Toxicology Program's overwhelming nomination by two groups of scientists to classify Talcum as a carcinogen, in 2000.

Also presented to the court was proof of scientific documentation of case studies and statements from both CTFA and Alfred Wehner, a Toxicology consultant on retainer to J&J. In 1992, in response to negative scientific studies, the CTFA, now the PCPC, released a public statement saying that talc posed no risk. And again in 1994, claimed the scientific evidence that suggested this powder was linked to cancer was “insufficient” and “inaccurate”. However, in 1997 Alfred Wehner, wrote a letter to J&J preclinical toxicology head that those statements were indeed false!

 

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