Walmart has been hit with a proposed class action over the alleged sale of its remaining inventory of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, whose primary ingredient, talc, has been shown to cause cancer, without warning consumers that use of the product poses severe health risks.
The 14-page suit alleges Walmart sold Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, which the manufacturer stopped selling in May 2020, despite being well aware of the product’s carcinogenic nature and the mountain of litigation nationwide over talcum powder’s link to ovarian cancer and/or mesothelioma.
“Despite the wealth of scientific research revealing the carcinogenic effects of asbestos and thousands of lawsuits against the Product’s manufacturer elucidating its hazards, Defendant continued to market the Product as safe for consumer use,” the complaint, filed in New York on September 2, alleges. “Defendant provided no warning or disclaimer that the Product had been shown to contain asbestos and posed severe health and carcinogenic risks.”
Per the case, the plaintiff, a Buffalo, New York consumer, bought Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder from Walmart, who touts itself as a leader in customer health and wellness, based in part on the retail giant’s representation that the product was not unreasonably dangerous. The plaintiff and other buyers expected to buy a safe product and instead were deprived of the benefit of their bargain by purchasing something that can, and often does, cause cancer, the lawsuit says.
The complaint relays that Walmart, in recognizing that customers want to know more about what’s in the products they buy, has made a priority its Sustainable Chemistry Policy, which aims to reduce chemicals of concern and “[r]educe, restrict and remove [the] use of high-priority chemicals” using informed substitution principles. Where high-priority chemicals cannot be substituted, the suit says, Walmart has instructed suppliers to reformulate their products; when reformulation is not possible, Walmart can and has in the past required such products be removed from its stores, the lawsuit shares.
Despite the foregoing, at no point did Walmart initiate or develop a campaign to educate customers on the harms of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder, the suit says, claiming the product was worth less than what consumers paid for it.
The lawsuit looks to represent all New York residents who bought Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder from any Walmart within the state or ordered the product for delivery within the statute of limitations period.
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