Talcum Powder Lawsuit
If you or a loved one consistently used Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products and were diagnosed with ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, you may be eligible to file a Talcum Powder lawsuit. You might be entitled to compensation.
For decades, Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”) marketed its Baby Powder, Shower to Shower body powder, and other talcum powder products as safe, even for infants. Many women grew up using these products not only to care for their babies, but also for their own personal hygiene based on the recommendation of their mothers and grandmothers.
In 1982, a case-controlled study was the first to link genital use of talcum powder to ovarian cancer. Since then, dozens of studies involving thousands of women have found that genital use of talcum powder increases the risk for the deadly disease, including one that found women who have used talcum powder on their genitals were 30% more likely to develop ovarian cancer than those who haven’t. For years, J&J has known about the increased risk of ovarian cancer in women who used its talcum powder products but did nothing to warn them about this risk.
Manufacturers of consumer products are required to perform safety tests, meet all quality standards and provide adequate warnings of potential risks before releasing them to the public. If there’s a risk associated with using the product, they must provide warning labels so consumers understand the dangers they could encounter. J&J falsely claimed that its talcum powder products were safe for everyday use despite the growing body of peer-reviewed research showing a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. J&J has denied this link for decades and has spent millions trying to keep this negative information from reaching the public.
At FrancoLaw, we understand the consequences of suffering from an illness or disease brought on by a dangerous product. If the manufacturer didn’t provide adequate warnings about the harmful effects of using their product, then they can be held liable for their negligent conduct.
For a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your injury and determine the available legal options, call FrancoLaw today at (888) 213-0761.
What Is Talcum Powder?
Talcum powder is made from the mineral talc, which is an ingredient in a wide variety of products we use each and every day. When talc is crushed into a powder, it can absorb moisture, oils and odor, making it popular for use in bath and body products. Talcum powder can also be used as a lubricant or an astringent on human skin.
Some products that contain talcum powder:
- Baby powders
- Body powders
- Perfumed powders
- Pressed cosmetic powders, including face powder, eye shadows and blush
- Some deodorants
Popular brand names:
- Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder
- Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower Powder
- Gold Bond Medicated Powder
- Summer’s Eve Body Powder
- McKesson Baby Powder
- Nivea Pure Talc
In recent years, research has linked talcum powders to deadly cancers, specifically ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.
Possible Link Between Talcum Powder and Cancer
Studies show talcum powder is linked to ovarian cancer, which thousands suffer from annually. The devastating link was first discovered in the early 1970s. Baby powder is made from talcum powder, which is a mineral primarily comprised of magnesium, silicon and oxygen. When talcum powder is used on the genitals, talc particles can easily migrate from the vagina into the ovaries, where they remain trapped. These trapped talc particles cause inflammation, which can lead to the growth of cancer cells. According to a Bloomberg article, researchers discovered the possibility of a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer about 45 years ago.
Below are some of the major talcum powder cancer studies:
- 1971 – Researchers found talc particles while studying the ovarian cellular tissues of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The study, which was published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, warned that the “potentially harmful effects of talc…in the ovary…should not be ignored.” This is when the medical community first became aware that talc particles can easily migrate from the vagina into the reproductive organs when baby powder is used for feminine hygiene.
- 1982 – A study published in the medical journal Cancer showed the first statistical link between feminine hygiene talcum powder use and ovarian cancer. This study found that women who used sanitary napkins with talcum powder were three times more likely to develop ovarian cancer when compared to those who didn’t use sanitary napkins with talcum powder.
- 1992 – A study in Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that frequent use of baby powder increases a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer threefold. The same year, an internal Johnson & Johnson memo stated that “negative publicity from the health community on talc (inhalation, dust, negative doctor endorsement, cancer linkage) continues.” While acknowledging this negative publicity surrounding reported health risks, the memo also made a recommendation to “investigate ethnic (African-American, Hispanic) opportunities to grow the franchise,” noting that African-American and Hispanic women account for a large proportion of J&J’s baby powder sales.
- 1997 – A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology affirmed that perineal talcum powder use contributes to the risk of developing cancer. The baby powder cancer study further suggested that the use of talcum genital deodorant sprays also contribute to cancer growth.
- 2003 – Anticancer Research performed a meta-analysis of 16 talcum powder studies and found “statistically significant” data suggesting that feminine hygiene use of talcum powder increased the risk developing ovarian cancer by 33 percent. Nonetheless, the study reported no causal relationship.
- 2008 – In a study published by Cancer Epidemiology, researchers from Harvard University compared approximately 1,400 women, who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, to 1,800 healthy women. The baby powder cancer study found that the use of talcum powder was associated with a 36 percent increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
- 2013 – A Cancer Prevention Research study found that feminine hygiene use of talcum powder was associated with a 20 to 30 percent increased risk in developing ovarian cancer.
The results of the last three studies prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to classify talc as a “possible human carcinogen.” It should be noted that the studies listed above are not the only ones to find a link between baby powder and ovarian cancer. Since 1982, there have been 20 other epidemiological studies finding that long-term use of baby powder for feminine hygiene increases one’s risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Despite the volume of studies pointing to the connection between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, neither J&J nor the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ever warned consumers in the United States about the health risks.
Asbestos in Talcum Powder
A report from Reuters published in December of 2018 revealed that the raw talc and talcum powder in J&J’s baby powder tested positive for trace amounts of asbestos on several occasions between 1971 and 2003. The article cited numerous internal company memos, reports and other documents disclosed during talc lawsuits that suggest the company knew of the danger.
Asbestos is a known carcinogen that causes mesothelioma, a cancer that is linked exclusively to the inhalation of the substance. The World Health Organization (WHO) and other health agencies recognize there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. In October 2019, J&J recalled 33,000 bottles of its baby powder after the FDA found asbestos in one of the bottles it tested.
If you or a loved one regularly used J&J talcum powder products for feminine hygiene and were diagnosed with ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, call FrancoLaw to discuss your legal options. We can review the circumstances of your injury and determine if you qualify for a Talcum Powder lawsuit.
Johnson & Johnson Stopped Talcum Powder Sales in May of 2020
In May of 2020, Johnson & Johnson announced it would no longer sell its baby powder in the U.S. and Canada. This decision came after facing thousands of J&J talcum powder lawsuits alleging the product causes cancer. Multiple lawsuits have resulted in massive awards from juries for women and their families, who alleged their ovarian cancer or mesothelioma was caused by the regular use of talcum powder products.
Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Litigation
More than 25,000 women across the country have filed talcum powder lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson–the world’s largest manufacturer of health care products–claiming the pharmaceutical giant failed to warn the public about the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. These lawsuits have been consolidated and are currently pending before Judge Freda Wolfson in federal court in New Jersey. Litigation is also taking place in state courts around the country including California, Delaware, Missouri, Illinois, New Jersey and elsewhere.
Billions of dollars in damages have already been awarded to victims in multiple talc cases against J&J, although many cases are on appeal. The largest verdict to date is $4.7 billion awarded in July 2018 to 22 women who say J&J’s talc products led to their ovarian cancer.
Recent verdicts include:
- $4.69 Billion Verdict – In July 2018, a St. Louis jury awarded $4.69 billion in punitive and compensatory damages to 22 plaintiffs, including the families of six women who died before the six-week trial. The women’s attorney argued that asbestos in talcum powder caused the women’s ovarian cancer. J&J attempted to overturn the verdict, but it was upheld.
- $417 Million Jury Verdict – The largest single verdict came in the first California trial in August 2017 in the case of Eva Echeverria. The jury awarded her $417 million – $70 million in compensatory damages and $347 million in punitive damages. Echeverria used Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for more than 40 years. She died from ovarian cancer a month after winning the trial. But in October 2017, California Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson overturned the verdict. She said the evidence failed to support a finding of malice as required for punitive damages. Echeverria’s lawyers are appealing that decision.
- $110 Million Jury Verdict – In May 2017, a jury in St. Louis awarded $110 million in compensatory and punitive damages to a 62-year-old woman who developed ovarian cancer after using J&J’s talcum powder products for more than 40 years. caused her ovarian cancer. A judge reversed the verdict in October 2019 based on jurisdictional grounds.
- $72 Million Jury Verdict – Jacqueline Fox was the first woman to win an ovarian cancer verdict against J&J. Before she died, Fox stated that she used J&J products containing talcum powder for 35 years. In February 2016, a St. Louis jury awarded Fox’s family $72 million; however, the award was later vacated on jurisdictional grounds.
- $70 Million Jury Verdict – In October 2016, jurors ruled in favor of Deborah Giannecchini. The jury ordered J&J to pay roughly $70 million and ordered codefendant Imerys Talc America, Inc., to pay $2.5 million. Giannecchini had used J&J’s powder for about 40 years.
Is There a Statute of Limitations?
Talcum powder lawsuits are product liability cases, and the statute of limitations is different in each state. Generally, these statutes run from two to 10 years. The majority of states have two-year statutes. In Texas, there is a two-year statute of limitations for tort cases.
Depending on the situation, the clock may start ticking either from the date of the cancer diagnosis or from the date you found out talcum powder might have contributed to your cancer.
In some cases, family members may file a wrongful death claim for the loss of a loved one from mesothelioma or ovarian cancer. These statutes of limitations are shorter – most average two years.
Contact Us Today
If you or a loved one regularly used J&J talcum powder products for feminine hygiene and were diagnosed with ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, you may be eligible to file a Talcum Powder lawsuit. You can discuss your case with us during a free consultation and receive the legal advice you need to make an informed decision about what to do next. Let us fight for you to hold the manufacturer accountable for your injuries and recover the compensation you deserve. Our firm is experienced in handling personal injury cases and we welcome any questions you may have. Call us now at (888) 213-0761 for a free consultation.