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Johnson & Johnson to Discontinue Talc-Based Baby Powder

Among growing lawsuits against the company for talc-caused cancers and other health issues, Johnson & Johnson will discontinue the sale of talcum powder-based products in North America. This decision is a major concession for the company, as it has long marketed its talc-products as safe and gentle. The company will still sell its cornstarch-based baby powder. Source: New York Times

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Major Pharmaceutical Company Loses Appeal in Missouri

Plaintiffs’ accusations that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder products caused cancer were upheld by a Missouri appeals court.  The lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson was brought by women who have ovarian cancer and link their tumors to their use of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder. The court ordered the company to pay $2.1 billion to the women; however, the company says it plans to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Source: New York Times

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Johnson & Johnson to Pay $100 M In Talcum Powder Suits

After accusations that it targeted cancer-related products to black communities, Johnson & Johnson will settle 1,000 lawsuits for $100 million. Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder, which contains mostly talcum powder, continues to be linked to cancer. Further, Johnson & Johnson’s continuation to market the products to the black community sounded alarms among the public. The pharmaceutical company faces an additional 19,000 lawsuits over potential carcinogens in its talcum products. Source: Forbes

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Johnson & Johnson Loses Asbestos-Related Appeal in Missouri

Johnson & Johnson plans to appeal to the United States Supreme Court after the Missouri Supreme Court held a decision against the pharmaceutical manufacturer. Johnson & Johnson faces talcum lawsuit claims regarding its baby powder and other talcum-containing products. Multiple women claim their ovarian cancer is linked to asbestos found in these products. Currently, Johnson & Johnson is required to pay $2.12 billion in damages, lowered from $4.69 billion after a lower court ruled out 22 plaintiff’s cases. Source: Reuters

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Firefighters Demand Unbiased Testing And Action Be Taken Against Cancer-Linked AFFF

May 28, 2021 — America’s largest firefighter’s union, the International Association of Fire Fighters, faced an unprecedented movement in January 2021 as members demanded that the cancer-linked chemicals in their gear, PFAs, be tested independently and that their union cease sponsorships from those involved in the making of both PFAs and AFFF.  Delegates representing the over 300,000 members of the union were expected to vote on the issues at hand in the coming days.  Such a vote had never been held by the union before. DuPont expressed that it was “disappointed” with those seeking to stop sponsorships and that its commitment to firefighting was “unwavering.” 3M had a similar stance, stating that it had “acted responsibility” on PFAS. Though PFAs may appear to be a meager foe compared to the brutal situations firefighters must be prepared to face every day, statistics reveal just how dangerous a firefighter’s gear can be to them.  Cancer has become the leading cause of death for firefighters in America within the last 30 years.  In 2019, it caused 75 percent of active-duty firefighter deaths.  Such tragic numbers can be explained by the studies undertaken by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health:  the institute found that firefighters have a 9 percent higher risk of getting cancer and a 14 percent higher risk of dying from cancer than the United States population.  Rates have not declined despite firefighters in the United States now using air packs comparable to scuba gear. Firefighters’ new demands emerged with the heightened challenges they faced resulting from climate change and higher temperatures.  Two dozen firefighters in California, home to some of the most devastating fires the United States has witnessed in the past year, filed suit against 3M, Chemours, E.I. du Pont de Nemours, and other manufacturers this past October 2020.  The firefighters claimed that the companies knowingly manufactured and sold gear loaded with toxic chemicals without warning for decades. References: Tabuchi, Hiroko. “Firefighters Battle an Unseen Hazard: Their Gear Could Be Toxic.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 26 Jan. 2021, www.nytimes.com/2021/01/26/climate/pfas-firefighter-safety.html.“Firefighter Resources, Cancer and Other Illnesses.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 Aug. 2018, www.cdc.gov/niosh/firefighters/health.html.

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D.A. in Delaware County Sues Chemical Companies

The Delaware County District Attorney filed a lawsuit against more than 10 chemical manufacturers after harmful “forever chemicals” were found contaminating soil and water in the county. Specifically, the lawsuit concerns toxins that were found in fire facilities and associated with AFFFs.  The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages to remove and mitigate the contamination. Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Ohio Bill Makes Progress Toward Outlawing Toxic Firefighting Foam

An Ohio bill that seeks to outlaw the use of firefighting foam that contains harmful “forever chemicals” passed committee and is awaiting a vote in the Ohio House of Representatives. House Bill 158, sponsored by Representative Brian Baldridge, makes use of firefighting foam that contains PFAS illegal. If it passes the House, firefighters will need to find an alternative to the foam. Furthermore, firefighters will also only be able to use the foam for training in areas where the chemicals from the foam will not harm the surrounding environment. Although it is unclear as to when HB158 will reach the House floor, the addition of Representative Phil Plummer as a co-sponsor is expected to be announced soon.  Baldridge wants to see the bill passed, as PFAS, referred to as “forever chemicals,” remain in the atmosphere long after use. They have been linked to increased cholesterol levels and cancer, as well as increased risk during pregnancy.  The use of foams that contain these toxins is also linked to contaminated water sources in cities in Ohio.  Source: Dayton Daily News, Firefighter Nation

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Man Died of Asbestos Exposure from Childhood; Family Awarded $8 M

An appeals court in Oklahoma held that manufacturing companies in the state were negligent and liable for a 38-year-old man’s mesothelioma. The man, Brennen James Atkeson, died of the cancer. The court ruled his estate can collect the $8 million settlement. When Atkeson was a child, his stepfather – Ronnie Pratt – worked in an oil field and was exposed to products manufactured by Union Carbide Corporation and National Oilwell Varco. When Pratt came home from work, he exposed Atkeson to raw asbestos particles on his clothing from the field. In a 2019 trial, the jury found the manufacturing companies liable for this exposure, as they said the companies did not warn workers of the products’ risks.  The appeals court upheld the decision. Source: PR News Wire

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Two Atlanta Firefighters Survived Cancer, Attribute Tumors to Firefighting Foam

A growing number of firefighters are airing concerns about Aqueous Film Forming Foams (AFFFs) and their potential link to numerous health issues. AFFFs, which are used to fight oil- and fuel-based fires, have long been used in the firefighting industries to combat fires at airports and production plants. Additionally, most fire departments require yearly, up to week-long trainings on using AFFFs. So, while the exposure to AFFFs is not frequent, the cadence is enough to cause concern amongst newfound research.Recently, the CDC said AFFFs, and the PFAS contained in them, could be linked to cancer, organ damage, weakened immune system, and reproductive defects.  Two Atlanta-based retired firemen shared their experiences with FAAAs and the health problems that followed. Mark Johnson, who joined an Atlanta fire department in 1980, is recovering from prostate cancer. Craig Chait recently had surgery to remove a stage 4 thyroid cancer tumor. Both retired public servants handled FAAAs often during their careers, and both believe that interaction is to blame for their declining health.  Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the companies that produce and sell AFFFs. No change has yet to come from the suits.  Source: 11Alive

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California Firefighters Sue Chemical Manufacturers

49 active and retired firefighters in San Jose, California filed two lawsuits against major chemical manufacturers like 3M and DuPont. The firefighters accuse the manufacturers of knowingly providing them with gear and substances that contain harmful per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS. PFAS are linked to cancer and various other health conditions. The firefighters believe they deserve compensation for their interaction with the harmful substance. Source: San Jose Spotlight

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