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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

Dr. Egilman as Quantification Expert in Ongoing Talc Trial

A news source reports interesting testimony last Thursday at the ongoing 22 plaintiff talc trial. According to a June 15, 2018 summary from the St. Louis Record,  Mark Lanier (lead trial counsel for plaintiffs) used Dr. David Egilman to do some ostensible form of quantification of exposure to asbestos said to be present in the talc. Dr. Egilman has testified in hundreds of asbestos cases, usually for plaintiffs, but very occasionally for a defendant. According to the summary:

“Egilman told the jury he had determined the powder dosage and cancer risk of the 22 women by conducting personal interviews with 18 of them, or looking at the testimony of the others who had died since the suit was filed.

The information gathered from each woman included the number of years the J&J baby powder was used, the number of times used each day (including child diapering), and an estimate of the total number of asbestos fibers breathed in by each woman. The number of estimated fibers for each plaintiff was measured in the billions.

The end-result conclusion Egilman agreed was that the women had a “baseline”risk-factor greater than twice that for a normal person.

“Greater than twice the risk?”Lanier asked.

“It was,”Egilman said. “They all have exposure levels higher than that permitted by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) for a worker working with asbestos.”

In addition, the summary states that Dr. Egilman quantified the studies about the alleged presence of asbestos in talc:

There were 960 studies of J&J powder that showed asbestos in talc out of 1,400 studies,” responded Dr. David Egilman, medical doctor and an expert in asbestos exposure measurements. “Some of the studies were performed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), by Johnson & Johnson, competitors of J&J and companies like Johns Manville.”

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