Health Highlights: March 15, 2019


Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Jury Awards $29.4 Million in Talcum Powder/Cancer Case

A woman who said her mesothelioma was caused by her regular use of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder was awarded $24.4 million by a California jury, which also awarded $5 million to her spouse.

The verdict Wednesday in favor of Teresa Leavitt and her spouse, Dean McElroy, came after a trial that started in January, CNN reported.

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the tissue that lines lungs and other organs.

The award is only to repay the couple for their loss. The jury did not award punitive damages — designed to punish defendants — from Johnson & Johnson and the other companies involved in making the talcum powder.

Nearly 14,000 cases involving people who believe that J&J’s talc powder caused their cancer are making their way through the U.S. legal system. Many of those cases allege that the talc is contaminated with asbestos and that Johnson & Johnson knew that its products were contaminated for decades, CNN reported.

J&J says its products do not contain asbestos, and said it will appeal Wednesday’s jury decision.

On Tuesday, the science that may link talc to cancer was discussed at a hearing of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy. It also looked at the possibility of creating a law that would more closely regulate the cosmetic and personal products industry, CNN reported.

There is growing debate in the scientific community about a link between talcum powder and cancer. Some studies have concluded there is a connection, while others have not.

Most suggest that further research is needed, CNN reported.

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Butterball Ground Turkey Recalled Due to Possible Salmonella

Nearly 39 tons of Butterball raw ground turkey products have been recalled due to possible salmonella contamination, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service says.

The agency said the recalled products were distributed across the United States to institutions and major grocery chains, including Kroger and Food Lion, CBS News reported.

Consumers with the recalled products should throw them away or return them to the place of purchase, officials said.

“Because these products were packaged nine months ago, it is highly unlikely any of the product will be found in retail stores, but it is possible that consumers may have product in their freezers,” Butterball said in a news release, CBS News reported.

The recalled products would have a use-or-sell-by date of July 26, 2018, but turkey can be stored unopened in the freezer for up to three years and still be safe to cook.

The contamination was discovered by federal and state health officials investigating a salmonella outbreak that sickened four people in Wisconsin and one in Minnesota, CBS News reported.

Salmonella can cause symptoms such as abdominal cramps and fever 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. The illness typically lasts four to seven days, but can be more dangerous for the elderly, infants and people with weakened immune symptoms.

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Posted: March 2019