Talcum PowderA St. Louis jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $72 million to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer after using talc-containing products including Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder.

Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talcum powder, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit against the manufacturer and our lawyers can help.

Update: Judge Upholds Record $4.7 Billion Talcum Powder Cancer Verdict

December 27, 2018 – Johnson & Johnson’s attempt to have a landmark $4.7 billion verdict overturned has been shot down by a judge in St. Louis Circuit Court, who sided with a group of female plaintiffs claiming the company’s Baby Powder contributed to their development of ovarian cancer. In his written ruling, St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison cited evidence of what he called “particularly reprehensible conduct” by J&J, writing that “defendants knew of the presence of asbestos in products that they knowingly targeted for sale to mothers and babies, knew of the damage their products caused, and misrepresented the safety of these products for decades.”

What’s the Problem?

February 22, 2016 – J&J was found to be negligent and liable for the ovarian cancer death of Jackie Fox, according to Bloomberg News. Fox died in October 2015, about 2 ½ years after being diagnosed with the disease, which occurred after decades of using Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder.
Her attorneys were able to prove that the talc contained in these products not only presented a danger to Fox’s health, but that J&J was aware of the risks and not only chose to hide them from consumers but actively hid them. After the verdict was announced, jury foreman Krista Smith stated: “It was really clear they {Johnson & Johnson} were hiding something.”

What is Talcum Powder?

Talcum powder is made from talc, a mineral composed of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. As a powder, it absorbs moisture and helps reduce friction, making it useful for keeping skin dry and preventing rashes. It is widely used in cosmetic products such as baby powder and body powders, as well as in various other consumer products.

What’s the Problem?

In its natural state, some talc contains asbestos, a toxic substance that can cause cancer when inhaled. However, according to the American Cancer Society, all talcum products used in the U.S. have been asbestos-free since the 1970s.
Most concerns about the potential link between talcum powder and cancer have focused on:

  • Whether people who are exposed to natural talc fibers in the workplace are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer, and
  • Whether women who apply talc-containing products around the genital area have an increased risk of getting ovarian cancer.

Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

As early as the 1970s, scientists had identified a potential association between the dusting of female genitals with talcum powder and ovarian cancer. They theorized that talc particles entered a woman’s reproductive tract through the vagina and traveled through the cervix into the uterus, then moved through the fallopian tubes to the ovaries.
Research published in The Lancet found that most ovarian tumors had talc particles deeply embedded in them. Another study published in the journal Cancer in 1982 provided additional support for the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Since then, over 20 studies have identified similar causal relationships.

Most recently, a June 2013 study published in Cancer Prevention Research analyzed data from 8 research papers on nearly 2,000 women. The researchers found a 20-30% increased risk of ovarian cancer for women who used talcum powder for intimate personal hygiene.

These findings confirmed the results of an earlier study published in Anticancer Research in 2003, in which researchers concluded that the use of talcum powder on female genitals increased the risk of ovarian cancer by approximately 30%. Researchers drew that conclusion after looking at data from 16 separate research papers.

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

Ovarian cancer often produces no symptoms in its early stages. However, as the disease progresses, patients may experience varying degrees of:

  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Bloating
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Fluid/lump in the abdomen
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

J&J Loses 2nd Talcum Powder Cancer Lawsuit

May 3, 2016 – Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a St. Louis jury on Monday to pay $55 million to a woman who claims that using the company’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower caused her to develop ovarian cancer. The verdict is the 2nd straight trial loss for the company, which is facing about 1,200 additional complaints accusing it of not adequately warning consumers about the cancer risks associated with its talc-containing hygiene products. Following a 3 week trial in Missouri state court, jurors deliberated for about a day before returning a verdict in favor of plaintiff Gloria Ristesund, who was awarded $5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.

Internal Docs Reveal J&J Hid Evidence of Baby Powder Dangers

Interviews with jurors following the recent verdict in St. Louis reveal they were heavily influenced by damning internal correspondences presented at the trial. Among the documents was a 1997 letter written by a doctor who was consulting for Johnson & Johnson. The letter addressed to J&J’s manager of preclinical toxicology, claimed that research the company had used to prove there was no association between talcum powder and ovarian cancer was “outright false.” The letter was one of the central pieces of evidence that led to the jury’s judgment against the defendant.

No Cancer Warning on Talcum Powder

The internal memo weighed heavily with jurist Jerome Kendrick, who said it helped convince him Johnson & Johnson had prior knowledge of the ovarian cancer risk with talcum powder. Kendrick was also troubled by the fact that J&J never affixed warning labels to its talc-containing products, which he considered deliberate and cruel.

J&J Still Facing 1,200 Lawsuits

The St. Louis trial marked the second products liability case J&J has faced for ovarian cancer stemming from the use of talc products for feminine hygiene, with both trials resulting in verdicts against the pharmaceutical giant. The verdict in the St. Louis case, which came after just 4 hours of deliberation by the jury, is for $10 million in compensatory damages and $62 million in punitive damages. Johnson & Johnson must now defend itself in about 1,200 other lawsuits citing similar allegations.

Do I Have a Talcum Powder Lawsuit?

The Class Action Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in talcum powder lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury and death cases in St. Louis, Missouri, and all 50 states.

Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you got cancer from Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder, Shower to Shower or other talc product, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.

FREE Confidential Case Evaluation

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