Stores all over the country are pulling bottles of Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) Baby Powder off their shelves after FDA testing found trace amounts of asbestos in the product on October 18, 2019. The contaminated samples were purchased from an online retailer. The company’s baby power has been at the center of various lawsuits for years. In 2018, a jury in St. Louis awarded $4.69 billion to over 20 women who blamed their cancer on the baby powder. On October 29, J&J had two different third-party labs investigate these new claims. Those labs could not find any asbestos in the product.
What should you make of the conflicting test results on baby powder?
When the FDA was asked about the discrepancy, they said they stand by their results and explained how it is possible both the positive and negative test results were accurate.
In a statement, the FDA said, “Sampling of talc-containing cosmetics is done on a small amount of product…Given the powdered nature of the product, we expect non-uniformity in the distribution of any contaminated fibers…Different samples may provide different results.”
Check your baby powder products to see if they’re recalled.
If you have Johnson & Johnson baby powder at home, make sure to check and see if your bottle has been recalled. The recalled products have the lot number#22318RB found on the back of the bottle, directly under the cap. If your bottle has that exact lot number, do not use it.
If you continue using other baby powder products, it is recommended that you keep an eye on recent developments regarding asbestos.
How the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin Can Help?
According to the FDA, “If consumers have concerns about their cosmetic products, they should stop using those products immediately.” More than a third of the United States population has used baby powder this year. According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, dangerous products account for 28,000 deaths and 33.6 million injuries annually. Product liability claims can be very complex, so experienced representation is key. We have helped more than 43,000 injured North Carolinians, and the firm has been involved in a number of product liability cases including Baycol, Vioxx, and Fen-Phen.
If you believe that you or a loved one came into contact with asbestos because of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 or contact us here for a free case evaluation.
Driver aids have been around for a long time. Designed to make the task of driving easier, automakers have steadily introduced convenience features with various levels of success. The feature we all know as “cruise control” was invented in the 1940s, and appeared first in Chrysler automobiles in 1958. By 1960, it was standard equipment in all Cadillacs.
Fast forward to the modern era and you’ll find more robust versions of that original speed control system. Radar-guided cruise control is available in many cars, allowing the driver to set the desired speed, and to choose a “following distance” – the distance they want the system to maintain between their car and the car ahead. Automatic braking, lane departure warnings, and all manner of computer-controlled equipment combine to make driving easier and safer.
The Rise of Semi-Autonomy: “No, We Aren’t There Yet”
It’s only natural that these exponential advances in automobile technology have led to the idea of autonomous driving. According to techopedia.com, an autonomous car is a car that can guide itself without human conduction. Here’s the issue: as of December 2019, no such cars are available for purchase. Massive amounts of money are being invested in the technology by companies like Alphabet and its Waymo unit, Apple, GM, and Tesla, but true autonomous driving is not available.
Simply put, we’re not there. Yet.
That does not keep companies from adding semi-autonomous features to road-going products. General Motors offers SuperCruise in its Cadillac products, and Tesla offers the Autopilot system in all of its cars that are ordered online. Semi-autonomy, however, comes in forms as different as its makers – with surprising results.
The Many Roads to Autonomy, and the Dangers Along the Way
The different companies offering semi-autonomous features arrive at their results in very different ways. This leads to confusion about which systems do what. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has defined its own . Emerging technology often has competing definitions as companies seek to brand their semi-autonomous driving systems, and the methods for evaluating the technologies are in development as well. This lack of clarity becomes a safety issue at times.
The easiest example to cite is that of Tesla’s “Autopilot” system, though they are not alone when it comes to safety issues, confusing terminology or accidents involving their products.
Tesla and Autopilot – Problems by Design?
Tesla is as much a technology firm as an automaker, and as such, they collect and use massive amounts of data. The company tracks their cars and releases a quarterly vehicle safety report, which contains data on accidents involving their vehicles. Specifically, it covers accidents involving their Autopilot system. In Q3 of 2019, the company registered one accident for every 4.34 million miles of driving with Autopilot engaged, versus one accident for every 2.7 million miles without it. Both numbers include the other active safety features of the cars in use.
In this case, the numbers are impressive, but may hide a problem. It starts with how the Autopilot requires driver input, how it differs from other systems on the market, and how the company markets it.
Tesla specifically instructs drivers to maintain control of their vehicles, even when autopilot is engaged. The company uses steering wheel input to monitor driver engagement, not simply contact with the steering wheel, as is widely reported. That system, however, is more simplistic than competitors who use cameras to monitor drivers’ eyes and focus.
Tesla relies on radar and a camera to sense road conditions. Other makers, including Ford, Waymo and others, use something called LIDAR. The difference in sensors is significant. Tesla’s system uses radar, the camera, and computer software to detect hazards. A road sign and a guard rail require different responses than a car in the lane ahead. But radar can be fooled, as has apparently happened in crashes over the last few years in Connecticut and Florida. In these and other cases, the system has failed to react to other vehicles blocking the road. And, in the Connecticut case, the driver was not even watching the road, but had turned to attend to a dog in the back seat. Also worth noting is that Tesla uses a single forward-facing camera. Stereo cameras would have detected the difference in at least one case, and have been tested to be nearly as accurate as the more expensive LIDAR sensors by researchers at Cornell University for much lower cost.
Tesla does seem to contradict itself in how it markets its system versus how it instructs users to behave with it. On one hand, the system is actually called “Autopilot,” which implies that the piloting of the vehicle is automatic, and Tesla claims the vehicles have all the equipment necessary for future autonomous driving. Tesla founder Elon Musk even famously misused the system in a demonstration, and people may be more apt to copy the man who owns the company than to read pages of instructions. On the other hand, the company makes a point of explaining that the system requires driver attention. Even so, there are many owners who have thought up “hacks” to defeat the monitoring method that the car uses to prompt them to pay attention.
When It All Goes Wrong
Even with millions of miles of pre-market testing, the real world with real owners is a different animal for autonomous driving systems. How a company claims a product works may not be accurate to how users employ it, and even the most tested technology is sometimes flawed.
If you or someone you love is involved in an accident with a vehicle with autonomous driving features, here are some things to note.
If you are driving, your behavior behind the wheel is still your responsibility. These vehicles are packed with sensors. By definition, the car is watching you. Regardless of what you see online or how much confidence the system instills, use these systems in accordance with the owners’ manual. If an accident still occurs, you want to eliminate yourself as a possible cause, and therefore, a source of liability.
If you are a passenger, make sure to use all of the safety features available to you. If the driver wants to show you the autonomous driving features, ask that they be employed responsibly. Preventing a dangerous situation is preferable to a lawsuit or a life-changing injury.
If you are struck by an autonomous vehicle, try to record the conditions that led up to the accident. It may be important later on for your potential claims, depending on how the vehicle behaved during the accident.
If you are injured, regardless of your role, it may be wise to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as you’re able. Because of the sense of confidence these autonomous driving systems create, it is easy for drivers to become careless.
Seek Representation From an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we are advocates for those who are injured in North Carolina. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash involving an autonomous vehicle, please contact us for a free case evaluation. We pride ourselves on fighting for victims, and working to try to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve. We’re not afraid to fight the big cases.
While Juul has recently been under fire for shady marketing techniques, including marketing to underage users, another serious issue has emerged for those using Juul products. The possibility of contaminated pods being shipped out to users was made public by former Juul Exec Siddharth Breja. At least 1,600 cases of lung damage cases have been reported in relation to vaping, including more than 30 deaths. It is currently unknown whether contaminated pods are related to this issue but it’s safe to say the use of vaping products isn’t as safe as originally thought.
Siddharth Breja, who was originally a finance executive at the e-cigarette company Juul, was fired earlier this year. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday by lawyers that represent Breja, they claim Breja was terminated after opposing company practices such as shipping contaminated flavored pods and not listing expiration dates on Juul products. The lawsuit does not specify the contamination issue, or go into further detail on how it occurred. Lawyers for Breja have declined to speak further on the issue.
A Juul spokesperson responded to the claims stating that they were “baseless” and that Breja was terminated because he failed to “demonstrate the leadership qualities required for the job.” No further statements have been issued since then.
Breja described a “reckless” and “win at all costs” mentality at Juul, and he aims the majority of the criticism at the company’s former CEO, Kevin Burns, who was recently replaced.
According to the lawsuit, Breja states that he learned in March that some batches of nicotine solution had been contaminated, and claims that roughly one million of these contaminated pods were shipped without a recall or public health warning. Breja says he protested shipping the pods, but his supervisor continued forward because they were more concerned with stockholders’ profits.
After pulling Mango, Fruit, and other flavors under the pressure of health authorities, Mint pods were the contaminated products according to Breja. A majority of vape users used Mint pods as a substitute for the fruity flavors that were pulled off-market. According to the lawsuit, Burns stated, “You need to have an IQ of 5 to know that when customers don’t find mango they buy mint.”
Breja claims that he was wrongfully terminated after bringing health concerns related to the contaminated pods to Burns. Breja states that Burns responded to his concerns with “half of our customers are drunk and vaping like mofos, who the f— is going to notice the quality of our pods?” The lawsuit was filed in Northern California seeking $10 million.
For safety concerns, users should consider halting any use of Juul vaping products and schedule a precautionary visit with a doctor. If users have any symptoms of EVALI, the name given to the vape related illness, they should immediately seek treatment. These symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pains.
Contact a North Carolina Injury Attorney
Working with an experienced North Carolina injury attorney can potentially make or break your case. If you have used vape products and believe you may be suffering illness from them, let’s talk. Our mission is to help those who’ve been harmed by defective products and ensure that businesses are held accountable for producing them. For a free, confidential case evaluation, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078.