Talcum Baby Powder Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits
There is mounting evidence that talcum powder products can increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer in women who use it regularly for years. Evidence is also coming to light that Johnson & Johnson, the multi-billion dollar company knew for decades that it could cause cancer in some women and that there were issues with its baby powder.
Those women who were harmed by talcum powder and are now living with or have passed away from ovarian cancer are filing and winning lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson. If you have been diagnosed with this cancer and you used baby powder or another talcum powder product, contact a lawyer to find out if you have a case to make for getting justice and compensation.
Talcum Powder, Asbestos, and Ovarian Cancer
Talcum powder products, including baby powder, are largely made up of the mineral talc. When talc is ground up into a fine powder it is useful in personal and hygiene products because it absorbs moisture, improves texture, and reduces friction. While many beauty products, like eye shadow and pressed powder, contain talc, baby powder is the product that is currently under scrutiny as a potential contributor to or cause of ovarian cancer.
Several studies have correlated years of regular use of talcum powder in the genital area with later development of ovarian cancer. Not all women who used the product regularly were diagnosed with cancer, but research including thousands of women has concluded that the risk is greater for them. There have even been studies that found talc particles in the cancerous tissue of women who died from ovarian cancer.
The most likely reason that talcum powder could cause cancer is that it may be contaminated with asbestos. This mineral is sometimes found mixed with talc in mines, and if the talc is not completely purified, traces can remain in the final product. There is evidence that asbestos does sometimes show up in talcum powder products and asbestos is a known carcinogen.
Why File an Ovarian Cancer Lawsuit?
If you used talcum powder for years or decades, and you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, there may be a connection. Several women have already been successful in filing lawsuits against manufacturers of talcum powder, mostly Johnson & Johnson, and have won justice and compensation for medical expenses and other costs.
Filing a lawsuit could mean that you are able to hold the company accountable for liability in your illness. This can’t reverse your diagnosis or cure your cancer, but it can feel good to get legal justice, especially if it helps to prevent future harm to consumers.
With a successful lawsuit you could end up with a settlement or you may go to trial with your legal team fighting for a jury award. The compensation you may get in this case could cover your medical expenses, lost wages if you can no longer work, travel costs associated with care, and emotional and physical pain and suffering. If you lost a loved one to ovarian cancer and believe talcum powder may be to blame, a lawsuit could provide compensation for medical and funeral expenses and even loss of companionship.
Examples of Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits
Recently there have been successful lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson over talcum powder and ovarian cancer. One very important case was won by the family of Jackie Fox who died from ovarian cancer after decades of using talcum powder. The family and their legal team were able to get a positive verdict from a jury and an award of $72 million. This was a big win for the family but also for other victims as it brought to light internal Johnson & Johnson memos that indicated executives and others knew cancer could be a risk of using their baby powder products.
This successful case was followed by a big win for 22 women and the families of some who had already passed away from ovarian cancer. The women were part of a case that resulted in a jury award of $4.14 billion in punitive damages and $550 million for compensation. The company tried to get the award reversed, but a judge denied that request and upheld the jury’s decision and award.
Another case in California resulted in a jury award to the victim of $417 million. Unfortunately in this case Johnson & Johnson was able to get the result overturned. However, there is now more concrete evidence of the company’s liability in women developing ovarian cancer and with that evidence there are expected to be more lawsuits and more wins for victims.
Talcum Powder Lawsuits Expected to Continue
There is currently no end in sight for Johnson & Johnson’s woes. With evidence that the company knew about issues with talcum powder, experts expect lawsuits over ovarian cancer to increase in the future. The evidence is clear that the company is at least partially liable even though there is some debate over whether it can truly be proven that the baby powder products caused women’s ovarian cancer diagnoses.
Evidence that Johnson & Johnson has long known about the risks of cancer associated with talcum powder has emerged in some lawsuits, but there is more. Reuters conducted an investigation and turned even more proof in December of 2018. The news agency made public documents that give a clearer picture of what the company knew.
There is now documentation that shows talc used by Johnson & Johnson, as well as finished products made with talcum powder sometimes tested positive for asbestos. The evidence, in the form of memos and reports, stretches from the 1970s through 2000. It shows that executives, research scientists, managers at mines, and other employees knew about the problem and were unsure of how to handle it.
Recent Talcum Powder Lawsuits
In May of 2019 a jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $300 million in punitive damage. The plaintiff is a woman from New York who developed mesothelioma after decades of using the company’s talcum powder products. This is in addition to $25 million the company was already ordered to pay in the case brought by Donna Olson. The $325 million is one of the highest totals that Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay in talcum powder cases in recent years. The company plans to appeal the result.
In California a jury agreed with Patricia Schmitz and ordered several companies to pay $12 million in the case of her mesothelioma. Schmitz’s legal team successfully argued that the companies failed to warn her of the risks of using talcum powder regularly and for a long period of time. The jury ordered Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive to each pay 40 percent of the award, while Avon was held responsible for 20 percent. The awards are all compensatory because the jury could not agree if punitive damages were warranted.
A trial in South Carolina ended in a win for Johnson & Johnson. The plaintiff, Beth-Anee Johnson, claimed that use of Baby Powder, dating back to the 1960s, caused her mesothelioma. The company’s legal team was able to successfully make the case that her case of cancer was a natural form, not triggered by the talcum powder or any potential contaminants. The jury ruled in favor of Johnson & Johnson after just two hours of deliberation.
Because all of this evidence has come to light, it could support even more lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson. The company could be facing billions of dollars in jury and settlement awards. If you used talcum powder for many years and now have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you could potentially be a recipient of some of that settlement money. Contact an experienced lawyer who has worked with these kinds of personal injury cases to ensure you know what to do next and have the best chance of getting justice.
Page Edited by Dave Foster
- Hsu, T. (2018, July 12). Johnson & Johnson Told to Pay $4.7 Billion in Baby Powder Lawsuit.
Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/12/business/johnson-johnson-talcum-powder.html
- Johnson & Johnson to pay $72M in Case linking Baby Powder to Ovarian Cancer. (2016, February 23). The Guardian.
Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/24/johnson-johnson-72-millon-babuy-talcum-powder-ovarian-cancer
- Girion, L., (2018, December 14). Johnson & Johnson Knew for Decades that Asbestos Lurked in its Baby Powder.
Retrieved from: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/johnsonandjohnson-cancer/
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Retrieved from: https://blog.cvn.com/breaking-south-carolina-jury-finds-no-asbestos-in-johnson-johnsons-cosmetic-talc-products
- J & J Told to pay $300 Million More by Talc-Cancer Jury. (2019, May 31). Bloomberg.
Retrieved from: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-31/j-j-told-to-pay-300-million-more-by-jury-in-talc-cancer-suit
- California Jury Awards $12M in Talcum Powder Case Against J&J, Colgate-Palmolive. (2019, June 12). The Recorder.
Retrieved from: https://www.law.com/therecorder/2019/06/12/california-jury-awards-12m-in-talcum-powder-case-against-jj-colgate-palmolive/?slreturn=20190524145352