HONOLULU (KHON2) — The attorneys representing a Hawaii Island woman diagnosed with mesothelioma are suing Johnson & Johnson and Foodland Super Market, Ltd., for selling talc-based Johnson & Johnson baby powder which was contaminated with asbestos. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer whose only known cause is asbestos exposure.

The lawsuit was filed in the First Circuit Court Thursday morning on behalf of Jacqueline Becker who was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in February which her attorneys allege was caused by her regular use of Johnson & Johnson’s asbestos-containing talcum powder.

Becker was raised in Australia and moved to Hawaii in 1991. An avid equestrian and show rider, she used Johnson & Johnson talc-based baby powder for decades, both on her own body and to care for her horses.

According to the World Health Organization, all types of asbestos cause mesothelioma, lung, larynx and ovarian cancers, and fibrosis of the lungs. In July 2019, the U.S. Justice Department launched a criminal investigation to determine if Johnson & Johnson misled the public about asbestos fibers in its talcum powder. In October 2019, Johnson & Johnson issued a voluntary recall of 33,000 bottles of Johnson’s Baby Powder after FDA testing found asbestos contamination.

Courtesy Jacqueline Becker

“Johnson & Johnson’s own internal testing showed as early as the 1950s that the talcum powder it marketed to women and children was contaminated with asbestos. The company had a responsibility to warn the public, but they failed to do so and now thousands of people are sick,” said Ilana Waxman, managing partner of Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman.

A court date for Becker’s case against Johnson & Johnson is pending.