Early February 2017 a non-profit cosmetic trade association attempted to escape litigations in the current Johnson & Johnsons talcum powder lawsuit, claiming they do not make or sell the powder products.
Johnson & Johnson are currently under investigation for a correlation between their talcum powder and ovarian cancer, as discussed in Pirls article from last October, found here.
As stated in the article, in 1971 a Whales Scientist discovered particles of talcum embedded in ovarian and cervical tumors. Despite the original scientific findings and many that soon followed, talc mining companies and Johnson & Johnson continue to argue against the connection stating insufficient evidence so they could continue on with their multi-million businesses.
The first ovarian cancer talcum powder lawsuit was won in 2013 and since then thousands of woman have pursued their own lawsuits. These women claim the manufacturers were aware of the risks but hid the information from customers to continue to increase profits.
According to the Johnson & Johnson lawsuit, the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) formed a committee to lobby the government and influence regulators on the safety of talc. However, PCPC argues that their lobbying and public relations activists are protected under the First Amendment, more specifically the Noerr-Pennington doctrine. According to PCPC, “The doctrine ‘protects First Amendment rights by affording immunity to those who petition the government for redress.’”
However, there are two exceptions to the doctrine: 1) If a lobbyist is found to be a sham and 2) If a lobbyist is involved in corrupt behaviors. The group claims that neither of these cases applies to them.
According to the plaintiffs lead counsel, “…this is an entity largely funded by industry, including Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America. (PCPC)’s broadly defined mission is to influence public opinion on a national scale, and promote the purported safety of talc to both consumers and regulatory authorities, despite the ample scientific evidence linking the use of talc to ovarian cancer.”
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