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Talcum Powder Exposure

Update: J&J Faces 25,000 Talc Powder Lawsuits, Reserves $4 Billion for Litigation

Johnson & Johnson said in a securities filing that it had set aside nearly $4 billion to cover settlements for the estimated 25,000 lawsuits alleging that its perineal talc powder caused cancer. The figure also includes $2.1 billion to cover a 2018 verdict in favor of 22 women who claimed that perineal talc particles caused their ovarian cancer. Most of the cases are pending in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in New Jersey federal court. Complaints have also been filed in New Jersey, Missouri and California state courts.

Overview

Cosmetic talc products are made from talc, a magnesium and silicon-based mineral that absorbs moisture and reduces friction, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These properties make it useful to the personal care industry, which uses talc in products including talc based baby powders, body powders, foot powders and intimate hygiene products for women.

In recent decades, it has become customary for women to dust their private parts, underwear and sanitary napkins with talc products, a practice associated with cleanliness and freshness. The substance has also been used with diaphragm or birth control and was once found in certain brands of condoms.

 

Ovarian Cancer Risk

What's the Problem?

More than 1,200 lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson on behalf of women who allegedly developed cancer after using J&J Talc Powder and Shower to Shower body powder. While these products contain warnings against inhalation, they do not warn women about the cancer risk of external use. Our lawyers are investigating allegations that J&J knew or should have known about the risks of talcum powder for women when used externally.

The American Cancer Society (1.), World Health Organization (2.) and other health agencies have expressed concerns that perineal talc use may place women at an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer (3.).

With genital talcum powder use, the particles can travel through the Fallopian tubes to the ovaries, causing irritation that could lead to ovarian cancer. It has been estimated that about 10% of ovarian cancer cases and deaths from the disease in the U.S. have been associated with talcum powder.

Mesothelioma or Ovarian Cancer

Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Studies

More than 2 dozen studies going back decades have identified links between the use of talcum powder and cancer:

  • 1982 - A case-controlled study published in the journal Cancer (4.) found that women who “regularly used talc-based baby powder either as a dusting powder on the perineum or on sanitary napkins” were 1.92 times (92%) more likely to develop ovarian cancer.
  • 1997 - Study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology (PDF) found that “women with a history of perineal dusting with genital talc” were 1.6 times (60%) more likely to develop cancerous tumors.
  • 2008 - Meta-study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (5.) pooled together more than 20 studies and found a 35% increase in the risk of ovarian cancer diagnosis in women who used talc powder.

Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

The following early symptoms of ovarian cancer diagnosis may be overlooked because they're similar to other common illnesses, and because they may come and go intermittently:

  • Abdominal bloating, pressure, and pain
  • Abnormal fullness after eating
  • Difficulty eating
  • Increased urination / urge to urinate

As the disease progresses, symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Back pain
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Painful intercourse

Developing Ovarian Cancer

J&J to Pay $120 Million Over New York Talc Lawsuit

Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $120 million in a lawsuit by a Brooklyn woman after developing ovarian cancer from asbestos in Johnson & Johnson's talc-based products, according to Reuters (6.). Plaintiff Donna Olson testified in the trial that she used Johnson & Johnson's Shower to Shower daily for more than 50 years, after which she tested positive for advanced stage mesothelioma. Supreme Court Justice Gerald Lebovits of the Missouri Appeals Court reduced the payout from the $325 million a jury awarded Olson, 67, and her husband in May 2019 following a 14-week trial.

J&J Discontinues Talc Baby Powder Sales in U.S., Canada

Johnson & Johnson has announced plans to stop the use of talc based baby powder in the U.S. and Canada, according to NBC News (7.). J&J said the decision was made as the result of declining sales, insisting it stands by the safety of its talc-based products. The company said that even though it is pulling the product, it will continue to "vigorously defend" its safety based on decades of scientific study.

Ovarian Cancer or Mesothelioma

J&J Ordered to Pay $750 Million Over Mesothelioma Lawsuit

A New Jersey jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $750 million in damages to 4 plaintiffs who alleged that their use of talcum products caused them to develop mesothelioma and/or ovarian cancer cells, according to MarketWatch (8.). Ana C. Viscomi, the judge who presided over the talc lawsuits, said she planned to reduce the award to $186.5 million, or about 5 times the $37.3 million in compensatory damages awarded by a separate jury earlier this year.

Study Re-Affirms Talcum Powder Link to Mesothelioma

Talcum powder that contains asbestos may cause malignant mesothelioma, according to a new study (9.) published in the Journal of Occupation and Environmental Medicine. A research team led by Jacqueline Moline looked at a cohort of 33 participants, most of whom are women, who were diagnosed with mesothelioma after repeated exposure to asbestos free through the use of Imerys talc or Johnson & Johnson's. The researchers detailed 6 cases wherein patients underwent tissue testing which showed fibers consistent with the type of asbestos and other dangerous drugs found in talc, but not in insulation or building supplies.

Plaintiff Awarded $40 Million in California Talc Suit

A federal jury in Los Angeles on Friday awarded $40.3 million in damages to a woman alleging that talc use caused her to develop mesothelioma, according to Law360 (11.). After nearly a full week of deliberations, the jury determined that Johnson & Johnson talcum powder was defective, and a "substantial factor" in causing the plaintiff's cancer. The 12-member panel also found Johnson & Johnson's products had potential risks that were known or knowable in light of scientific evidence at the time of manufacture or sale, that those risks presented a danger to consumers, and that J&J failed to adequately warn of the risks of talc use.

Talcum Powder Case

J&J to Pay $300 Million in Damages in Talc Cancer Case

Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $300 million in damages to Plaintiff Donna Olson, who blamed her development of mesothelioma in the lungs on asbestos contained in Johnson's Baby Powder. The verdict marks the 10th win for plaintiffs in talcum powder cancer suits, according to Benzinga (12.). J&J's stock dove sharply following news of the settlement, but rebounded quickly.

Talc Trials

Meta-Analysis concludes 20-30% Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer with Talcum Powder Use

An analysis of nearly 40 peer-reviewed medical studies has found that women who use talcum powder have a 20 to 30% increased risk of developing the most common form of cancer, a researcher told lawmakers.

The summary of data -- 38 epidemiological studies over the past 40 years that asked women about their use of talcum powder on their genital area and tested associations with cancer -- was compiled by University of Washington researcher Dr. Anne McTiernan, who determined that users of the products had a 22 to 31% increased risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer compared to non-users.

Judge Upholds Record $4.7 Billion Talcum Powder Cancer Verdict

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.

Lung Disease

Jury Awards $80 Million Damages in Talc Mesothelioma Suit

Less than a week after a jury in a New Jersey state court handed down a hefty $37 million judgement against J&J and Imerys S.A., the same group of jurors added $80 million in damages to the total damages in the case of Stephen Lanzo III and his wife. The jury ultimately concluded that the damages were warranted because the companies acted in reckless disregard of the rights of the plaintiffs.

What is Mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma, or mesothelioma cancer, is a disease that occurs in the lungs of talc miners and other people who are exposed to asbestos, according to the American Cancer Society. Mesothelioma typically affects the thin, protective membrane surrounding the lungs, heart or abdominal cavity. Each year, approximately 3,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the U.S, most of which are linked to job-related asbestos exposure (typically occurring in talc mines).

J&J Ordered to Pay $37 Million in Talcum Powder Mesothelioma Lawsuit

A state jury in New Jersey has ruled against Johnson & Johnson and one of its talc suppliers in a lawsuit filed by a man with mesothelioma, awarding him $37 million in compensatory damages after determining that his use of talcum powder caused the cancer.

It took a full day of deliberations after a 2-month trial for the jury to reach its verdict, siding with plaintiff Stephen Lanzo III and his wife, who claimed that asbestos contained in Johnson’s Baby Powder and other products manufactured by J&J caused his development of mesothelioma, a cancer that begins in the lining of the tissues of the lungs.

Jury Awards $80 Million Punitive Damages in Talc Meso Suit

Less than a week after a jury in a New Jersey state court handed down a hefty $37 million judgement against J&J and Imerys S.A., the same group of jurors added $80 million in damages to the total damages in the case of Stephen Lanzo III and his wife. The jury ultimately concluded that the damages were warranted because the companies acted in reckless disregard of the rights of the plaintiffs.

California Woman Awarded Record $417 Million in Talc Cancer Lawsuit

A Los Angeles jury has awarded $417 million to a California woman after developing ovarian cancer from talc in the company’s baby powder. The verdict, reached after a nearly 1-month trial in Los Angeles Superior Court, includes $347 million in punitive damages against J&J, according to USA Today (13.).

J&J Ordered to Pay $110 Million in 5th St. Louis Talc Cancer Lawsuit

A Missouri state court jury has awarded more than $110 million to a woman who claimed she developed cancer after using Johnson’s talc powder for decades, marking the largest verdict to date in 5 trials. Jurors deliberated for just over a day following the 3 week trial, awarding 62-year-old Lois Slemp $5.4 million in compensatory damages and $105 million in other damages. Imerys Talc America, the company that supplied the talc to J&J, was also ordered to pay $50,000 in damages.

California Jury Awards $18M in Talcum Powder Mesothelioma Lawsuit

A jury in Los Angeles has returned an $18.07 million verdict against talc supplier Whittaker Clark & Daniels for its role in causing a man’s development of mesothelioma.

According to the lawsuit, plaintiff Phillip Depoian, a 34-year veteran of the Los Angeles City government, was diagnosed with both peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma in May 2015.

Depoian claims he was exposed to asbestos first as a child in talc products at his father’s barber shop, and then again as an adult through his use of Old Spice, Clubman, King’s Men and Mennen Shave Talc. Asbestos and talc are both naturally-occurring silicate minerals often mined in the same talc deposits, but asbestos is a known carcinogen, and studies have linked the substance to lung cancer and mesothelioma.

The jury reached its verdict on Oct. 19 following a six week trial. A second phase for punitive damages was scheduled to resume before the remaining defendant – Whittaker, Clark & Daniels – reached a confidential settlement a week later. In settling the case, the company avoided the potential for additional penalties based on the jury’s ruling that it had acted with malice in marketing its talc as asbestos-free without adequately testing the product.

The verdict is believed to be the largest award on record for a lawsuit alleging mesothelioma from cosmetic talc exposure. The case is: Philip John Depoian and Julie Pastor Depoian vs. American International Industries, et al., filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, No. BC607192.

California Woman Awarded $70M in Johnson's Baby Powder Lawsuit

A jury has awarded $70 million in damages to Deborah Giannecchini, who developed stage IV ovarian cancer and chronic inflammation after using Johnson's Baby Powder on her genital area for decades. The award marks the third costly defeat in a row for J&J in lawsuits alleging cancer from its cosmetic talc hygiene products.

MDL Proposed for Talcum Powder Litigation

A motion has been filed to consolidate all federally-filed talcum powder lawsuits involving injuries allegedly caused by Johnson’s Baby Powder into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) for pretrial handling.

The complaints allege that Johnson & Johnson ignored studies which found a link between its talcum powder use products and ovarian cancer, and failed to warn about this risk. To date, at least 11 such lawsuits have been filed in 10 federal jurisdictions, according to court documents. Centralized litigations are currently underway in St. Louis, MO., and New Jersey Superior Court.

Plaintiffs in the currently pending lawsuits similarly allege that when regularly applied to the genital area, J&J’s talcum powder products increase the risk of ovarian cancer. Allegations also include that talc particles may travel into the vagina, becoming trapped in the ovaries. The buildup of talc may cause a form of chronic inflammation that encourages cancerous cells to develop.

Illinois Woman Alleges Talcum Powder Caused Ovarian Cancer

A woman from Chicago who claims she developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower has filed a lawsuit against J&J. Plaintiff Barbara Ross alleges that she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2014 at the age of 39 as the result of her daily use of the talc-based products for feminine hygiene since 1992. Ross is seeking a jury trial, as well as both compensatory and punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson.

Baby Powder Cancer Lawsuit Filed in California

A California woman who allegedly developed uterine cancer after using Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder products has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer. Plaintiff Dolores Gould claims she was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2006 as the result of her prolonged use of Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower.

J&J Seeks Dismissal of Talc Ovarian Cancer Lawsuit

J&J is seeking dismissal of a products liability lawsuit (Case No. BC 617311) filed by the husband of a woman who allegedly died from ovarian cancer in 2012 after using Johnson's Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower for years. The company argues that the complaint lacks personal jurisdiction, and that the plaintiff failed to establish that the decedent was a resident of California, ever purchased or used its talc-containing products in the state, or developed or was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in California.

Johnson Talc Products

J&J Ordered to Pay $55 Million in 2nd Lawsuit

Johnson & Johnson has been ordered by a St. Louis jury to pay $55 million to a woman who claims she developed ovarian cancer after using the company’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower talc powder for over 35 years. The verdict is the second straight loss for J&J, which is facing some 1,200 additional complaints accusing it of failing to adequately warn consumers of the cancer risks associated with its talc-containing hygiene products.

J&J to Pay $72 Million in St. Louis Talcum Powder Lawsuit

A St. Louis jury has awarded $72 million in damages to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer after using baby powder and other talc-containing products made by Johnson & Johnson.

The St. Louis Circuit Court jury found that J&J failed to warn the public and conspired to hide the truth about the health risks of talc-based feminine hygiene products, awarding the family of Jackie Fox $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages.

According to the lawsuit, Fox used Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder for over 35 years, which contributed to her development of ovarian cancer. The 62-year-old died last fall, about 2 ½ years after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Her son, Marvin Salter, became the plaintiff after her death.

Slater said his late mother, who was a foster parent, used J&J talcum powder products for decades. “It just became second nature, like brushing your teeth,” he said. “It’s a household name.”

Talc is a naturally occurring mineral made of of magnesium, silicon, oxygen and hydrogen. It is widely used in cosmetics and personal care products to absorb moisture, prevent caking and improve the product’s feel.

It’s important to note that in the past talcum powder contained talc that had asbestos in it, but modern powder does not, according to Eva Chalas, chief of Gynecologic Oncology and Director of Clinical Cancer Services at Winthrop-University Hospital.

"Some cancer may have been from years ago potential contamination with asbestos when they made the talcum powder," Chalas said.

During the trial, Fox’s lawyers claimed the manufacturer was aware of the potential health risks involved with using talcum powder. A 1997 internal memo from a J&J medical consultant said "anybody who denies” the risk of using hygenic talc and ovarian cancer is "denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary,” according to the Associated Press (AP).

The landmark decision marks the first talcum powder lawsuit to result in monetary compensation for the plaintiff. Fox’s case was part of a broader claim in the city of St. Louis circuit court involving nearly 60 people.

Talc Litigation

More Resources: Product Liability Lawsuits

Get a Free a Talcum Powder Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers

The Product Liability Litigation Group at our law firms is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Talcum Powder Lawsuits. We are handling individual talcum powder cases nationwide and currently investigating potential settlements in all 50 states.

Again, if you got ovarian cancer or mesothelioma after using talcum powder, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and we can help.

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