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Mesothelioma, the aggressive and deadly cancer that most commonly attacks the tissue around the lungs, is most often caused by asbestos exposure in the workplace. A lesser-known potential cause of exposure and resulting cancer is regular and long-term use of talcum baby powder hygiene products. Baby powder should be free of this harmful mineral, but companies have exposed people and triggered cancer diagnoses. Those victims are now suing and recovering damages.
Where is Talc Used?
Talc is a soft mineral that can easily be made into a powder. It absorbs moisture and reduces friction between surfaces. Because of these properties, talc has long been popular as an ingredient in beauty and hygiene products:
- Baby powder
- Body powder
- Eye shadow
- Blush and bronzer
- Dry shampoo
- Children’s cosmetics
How is Talcum Baby Powder Linked to Mesothelioma?
Federal regulations put in place in 1973 required that all talcum powder products be free of asbestos contamination. This regulation was put in place because it was found that people who used talcum baby powder were at a greater risk of developing mesothelioma and other cancers.
Subsequent research found that many baby powder products are contaminated with asbestos, which was likely found in the same mine as the talc used to make the products.
Even long after the regulations, some studies have found that modern talcum products may still be contaminated with asbestos. Baby powder has been linked to pleural mesothelioma diagnoses, likely caused when users inhale the powder that contains asbestos fibers.
Some women who used talcum baby powder products for feminine hygiene later developed ovarian cancer. In studies, these women were found to have particles of talc in their ovaries, leading to the conclusion that talcum powder is connected to the development of ovarian cancer.
Notable Asbestos-Mesothelioma-Talcum Baby Powder Lawsuits
Several people who were able to trace their cancers to the use of talcum baby powder have filed and won lawsuits against manufacturers of talc-containing products:
- Judith Winkel, took Colgate-Palmolive to court in California over her mesothelioma. She used Cashmere Bouquet, the company’s talcum powder product, for at least fifteen years and before the 1973 federal regulations were put in place protecting consumers from asbestos. The jury awarded her $13 million.
- Another lawsuit ended in an $18 million jury award in 2016. Philip Depoian filed the lawsuit in California against Whittaker, Clark, & Daniels, a talc supplier behind the baby powder products he claimed caused him to develop mesothelioma. Depoian worked in his father’s barbershop where talcum powder products were used every day. At the time this was the largest award in any talcum powder mesothelioma case.
Other Talcum Powder-Cancer Lawsuits
In addition to the mesothelioma and talc lawsuits there have also been plenty of lawsuits targeting companies that may have contributed to ovarian cancer. One such case was filed by the family of Jacqueline Fox who died from ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum baby powder products, Shower to Shine and Baby Powder for 35 years.
The jury returned a verdict that the company was in fact liable for Fox’s illness and death and awarded her family a whopping $72 million. This was the first lawsuit win for a case related to baby powder and ovarian cancer.
Not long after Fox’s case another trial ended with Johnson & Johnson again being forced to pay out a big settlement. In this case it was a $55 million jury award to Gloria Ristesund, who developed ovarian cancer after using the company’s talcum powder products shower to Shower Powder and Baby Powder. There are now over 1,200 pending lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson for similar cases of ovarian cancer.
How to File a Talcum Baby Powder Lawsuit
If you believe talcum baby powder is responsible for your mesothelioma or other type of cancer, you have a right to file a lawsuit to seek justice and to recover damages.
- The first step to take is hiring a lawyer.
- Choose a lawyer with relevant experience and expertise in these kinds of cases.
- Provide your lawyer with your medical records and information about how you used talcum powder.
- Your lawyer will file a lawsuit, notifying the defendants.
- Your lawyer may be able to negotiate a settlement for compensation.
- If the defendants will not settle, you will go to trial where your lawyer will argue your case and the jury will make the final decision.
People who used talcum baby powder for decades are at risk of developing cancer. Although laws are in place to protect consumers from contaminating asbestos, companies have not always been rigorous about testing their products. The result has been a number of lawsuits, with many more pending. If you believe your cancer diagnosis could be blamed on a talc product, contact a mesothelioma lawyer to help you make a case and give you a good chance of winning a settlement.
Page Edited by Patient Advocate Dave Foster
Dave has been a mesothelioma Patient Advocate for over 10 years. He consistently attends all major national and international mesothelioma meetings. In doing so, he is able to stay on top of the latest treatments, clinical trials, and research results. He also personally meets with mesothelioma patients and their families and connects them with the best medical specialists and legal representatives available.