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Talcum baby powder products are ubiquitous in the beauty and hygiene industries, but they may also be harmful. Many people who used baby powder for decades developed cancer, including mesothelioma and ovarian cancer, and some of them have filed and won lawsuits against the manufacturers, winning significant settlements.
How is Talcum Baby Powder Linked to Cancer?
It may seem unusual that such an innocuous product, one that is used on babies, could be harmful or cause cancer. Exactly how or why, or even to what extent, talcum powder has contributed to or caused cancer is not fully understood.
But, research evidence concludes there is a strong possibility it can be implicated in cases of mesothelioma and ovarian cancer and provides an explanation for how:
- The main ingredient in baby powder is talc, a soft, natural mineral that is mined.
- Mined talc often contains contaminating minerals, including asbestos, known to cause mesothelioma.
- Federal regulations from the 1970s are supposed to ensure any asbestos is removed before talc goes into consumer products, but traces of asbestos have been found in talcum powder.
- Contaminating asbestos could be a factor in causing cancer.
There have been cases of plaintiffs going after talcum baby powder manufacturers because of ovarian cancer and others because of mesothelioma. Evidence from studies backs them up, showing that there is a greater risk of developing cancer with regular, long-term talcum baby powder use.
How Do I Get a Baby Powder Settlement?
A settlement is an agreement between the defendants and plaintiffs in a lawsuit. To get compensation through a settlement, you need a lawyer to help you file a lawsuit.
Many defendants in these cases are willing to negotiate with the victim’s lawyers to agree on a settlement amount. If the two sides cannot agree, your lawsuit goes to trial. There you may win a jury award for compensation.
Examples of Talcum Powder Settlements
Some of the cases that victims of mesothelioma or ovarian cancer have won have been for astounding amounts.
$117 Million New Jersey Settlement
One recent case finished in New Jersey. The plaintiff was Stephen Lanzo and the jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for his mesothelioma. The jury awarded $80 million in punitive damages, $30 million to Lanzo, and $7 million to Lanzo’s wife.
Lanzo and his lawyers argued in the case that his use of Johnson’s brand Baby Powder and Shower to Shower talcum powder caused him to develop the rare type of cancer, mesothelioma, which is almost always caused by asbestos exposure.
They argued that his use of the products for more than 30 years caused him to inhale the harmful asbestos fibers contained in the baby powder. An important piece of evidence that Lanzo’s lawyers used against the company was internal documentation from the company in the 1960s that indicated executives knew asbestos could be in the talc.
$26 Million Settlement in California
Another recent case also ended in favor of the plaintiff, a California woman named Joanne Anderson. She was diagnosed with mesothelioma after decades of using Johnson & Johnson baby powder products. The jury awarded $26 million, deciding in her favor.
Not all the blame went to Johnson & Johnson. The company is responsible for about two-thirds of the amount, but the rest goes to other companies, including those related to her husband’s work with cars and car parts. Several car parts have contained asbestos in the past, and many still do.
$417 Million for Ovarian Cancer
Eva Echeverria, of California, used baby powder for feminine hygiene for over 60 years and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007. Echeverria and her lawyers argued that Johnson & Johnson did not warn consumers that talcum powder could contribute to or increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
The jury in the case ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a huge amount. The total $417 million includes $68 million for compensation to Echeverria and $340 million in punitive damages. Unfortunately in this case, the settlement amount was overturned on an appeal and the company was awarded a new trial.
While not all cases are won, enough have landed big settlements to show that there is merit to the idea that talcum powder can contribute to or cause cancer. If you believe your cancer, or that of a loved one, is related to baby powder, talk to an experienced products liability lawyer. This expert can help you make the right decisions, make a case, and take steps to try to win a fair 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.