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This is the next of a series of columns on how the law can impact your life.  Each month we will focus on various aspects of the law relating to personal injuries, those that happen both on-the-job and otherwise, including mishaps which occur in driving vehicles, using products and receiving medical care.  The column will also respond to legal questions relating to personal injury that are sent to us.

HealyScanlon, formerly The Healy Law Firm, is comprised of eight trial attorneys, one of whom practiced law in Ireland.  We are located downtown at 111 West Washington Street, Suite 1425, Chicago, Illinois 60602 (800-922-4500 or 312-977-0100). www.HealyScanlon.com.  The firm concentrates in the representation of injured victims of all types of accidents.
Consumer

Product Dangers
    In past articles, we have discussed the often-hidden dangers of certain consumer products.  Most recently, we discussed claims against Monsanto alleging a link between certain cancers and exposure to the weed-killer Roundup.  Farm workers and landscapers are most at risk for developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukemia, or B-cell lymphoma due to exposure to the chemicals in Roundup.  

The first bellwether trial involving an individual diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma resulted in a $289 million jury verdict against Monstanto in August 2018.  There have been at least three jury verdict totaling more than $2 billion in damages.  

There are a number of other consumer products that can cause severe injuries and illnesses that may not necessarily be readily apparent to the average consumer.  

Valsartan
Valsartan is a prescription angiotensin II receptor blocker used to treat high blood pressure, recent heart attacks, and heart failure.  Several drug companies have voluntarily recalled blood pressure and heart medications containing valsartan after it was discovered that certain batches have been contaminated with N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a known carcinogen.  Short-term exposure to NDMA can cause liver damage (such as liver fibrosis and scarring).  Long term exposure can increase the risk of liver, kidney, and lung tumors.  

You may have a claim if you took valsartan and have been diagnosed with liver, kidney, stomach, esophageal, pancreatic, prostate, or intestinal cancer, or non-Hodgkin lymphoma or other blood cancers.    

Zantac  
In September 2019, the FDA also reported the discovery of the carcinogenic contaminant N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in Zantac, a common over-the-counter heartburn medication.  Scientific research has demonstrated a clear link between ranitidine, the active ingredient in Zantac, and NDMA.  Specifically, when ranitidine comes in contact with water, it creates a chemical reaction that causes the formation of NDMA.  NDMA can cause liver, intestine, esophageal, pancreatic, and prostate cancer, as well as non-Hodgkin lymphoma.  

Symptoms of NDMA overexposure include headaches, fever, nausea, jaundice, abdominal cramps, reduced liver, kidney, and lung function.  If you have taken Zantac for a period of 30 days or more and developed any of these conditions or symptoms, you may have a claim against Zantac’s manufacturer, Novartis.

Talcum Powder
Individuals who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer or mesothelioma and who have had significant exposure to talcum powder, including Johnson’s Baby Powder, may be entitled to compensation.  Talcum powder lawsuits claim the manufacturers of talcum powder have known for more than 40 years that there is a link between using the product and ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, but intentionally made the decision not to warn consumers of these dangers.  Women who use talcum powder on a frequent basis for personal hygiene have a 30% higher chance of getting cancer.  The main talc products used for personal hygiene are: Johnson’s Baby Powder by Johnson & Johnson, Shower to Shower by Valeant Pharmaceuticals, and Baby Magic Baby Powder.  

Over the past several years, there have been numerous multimillion-dollar jury awards in talcum powder cases, including in July 2018 when a St. Louis jury awarded a group of 22 women $4.6 billion.  As of October 2019, more than 13,000 lawsuits were pending in federal court against the manufacturers of talcum powder.  

Juul
Juul products are the most common form of electronic cigarette being utilized.  The FDA has received numerous reports of Juul users, primarily teenagers and young adults, who have become addicted to the devices and even some who have suffered seizures and convulsions as a result of nicotine poisoning and toxicity.  The chemicals found in vape fluid can cause the development of bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious irreversible lung disease, commonly known as “popcorn lung.”  If you have become addicted to nicotine after using Juul, and suffered an addiction related injury, overdose, or poisoning, you may be entitled to compensation.  

Hernia Mesh
Hernia mesh lawsuits claim that these medical devices are defectively designed and the manufacturers have failed to properly warn medical providers of serious adverse complications and device failures.  Several types of hernia mesh have been recalled, or silently removed from the market.  

Mesh used during abdominal surgery to repair hernias sometimes result in infection, pain, recurrence, intestinal obstruction, and additional surgeries, and may be the basis for compensation for these injuries.  Some of the symptoms to watch for include constipation, fatigue, and severe pain.

If you or a family member or friend has been injured, as described above, kindly call our Consumer Products Call Center at (877) 354-9055.

By Martin Healy, Jr. 

and Patrick C. Anderson

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