Ovarian Cancer Talcum Powder Lawsuits

Out of nowhere, talcum powder ovarian cancer cases became the hottest mass tort case.  What happened and where are we now in these lawsuits?

The Product and the Big Question

For many decades, talcum powder has enjoyed great success as a consumer product. While young mothers often eagerly sprinkle it on their infants during diaper changes to help absorb wetness and prevent diaper rash, other women used the powdery substance as a regular part of their feminine hygiene practices. Also, both male and female

ovarian cancer talcum powder

Juries have not been impressed with Johnson & Johnson’s Arguments

athletes routinely use talcum powder products to try to lower their chances of developing athlete’s foot and other fungal infections.

Only limited complaints have been lodged for many years about the possibility that talcum powder could cause ovarian cancer. However, many women are now challenging their earlier beliefs about this product’s safety. In fact, the first successful lawsuit against talcum powder product giant, Johnson & Johnson, has now been filed and won. The question — the big question in these J&J cases is the Nixon question: What did J&J know and when did they know it?  We started asking this question in an innocuous post seven years ago reporting on the North Dakota lawsuit.  Juries have had an opportunity to answer this question recently. The answer has been unequivocal: too much.

Exactly What is Talcum Powder?

The American Cancer Society website reports that talcum powder consists of silicon, magnesium, and oxygen. When these substances are bound together and used in products as a powder, it can help keep different body parts dry – helping them remain free of moisture that can lead to various infections. Before it’s altered in any way, some talc can contain asbestos – a known cancer-causing substance. When asbestos is breathed in regularly, some people will develop lung cancer. For this reason, most homes and office buildings have had asbestos removed from all ceilings and other exposed areas during recent decades. Many consumers still use talcum powder. However, recent litigation is now making them aware that routine use of the powder can may cause ovarian cancer.

How Many U. S. Women Now Suffer from Ovarian Cancer?

Every year, about 22,000 American women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. As serious and significant as all of these cases are – they only account for a small fraction of the 1.7 million new cancer diagnoses expected annually. The most common, proven causes of ovarian cancer are now thought to include: a woman’s age, her reproductive history; her weight; whether she has any family members who have ever been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer, and if she used estrogen following menopause.

Women’s Varied Usage of Talcum Powder

Wanting to feel dry, clean, and odor-free, many women now report that they’ve been sprinkling various amounts of talcum powder on themselves in outer vaginal areas for years.  Some have sprinkled the powder on the surface of sanitary pads — while others just liberally applied it to their outer female genitalia while using tampons and other hygiene products. However, more women are now wondering if there is a distinct link between the use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer. They now know that doctors have discovered and identified talc particles in some women’s ovarian tissues found to be cancerous. How does talc powder reach that area? Just as women’s reproductive areas have long made it possible for male sperm to travel upwards and fertilize eggs in a woman’s uterus, talc powder appears also to be traveling upwards into those same areas.

Are There Many Conclusive Studies Supporting a Link Between Talcum Powder and Cancer?

The American Cancer Society and various researchers keep reporting that a very direct, causal relationship between using talcum powder and developing ovarian cancer is still trying to establish.  Johnson & Johnson points to 16 “case-control” studies suggesting that that talcum powder cannot be clearly shown to cause ovarian cancer.  Nevertheless, the discovery of talc in women’s cancerous ovarian tissues (already referenced above) is troubling.  But juries are looking at the science and using common sense. What they are telling us is that J&J, the ACS, and this literature is on the wrong side of history. There’s an ongoing need for many more studies on the possible links between talcum powder and human ovarian cancer since so many of the past studies have just been lab-based. However, today’s researchers and clinicians now speak of an apparent “increased risk” of developing ovarian cancer if a woman self-reports a long-term, high use of talcum powder in her vaginal area.

Big Verdicts in Talcum Powder Cases

    YEAR / STATE

    CASE / INJURY SUMMARY

    RESULT

    2018 – Missouri

    Twenty-two women developed ovarian cancer. Six died before the case finished. The women claimed their longtime use of talcum powder products caused their cancers. They alleged that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers of the asbestos levels in their products. Johnson & Johnson denied liability. They argued that asbestos exposure did not cause ovarian cancer. The jury ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor and awarded a $4,690,000,000 verdict.

    $4,690,000,000 – Verdict

    2017 – Missouri

    A 62-year-old woman developed ovarian cancer. She claimed this resulted from her lifelong exposure to talcum powder products. The woman alleged that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers of high asbestos levels in its products and failed to properly test them. A St. Louis jury awarded the woman a $110,000,000 verdict.

    $110,000,000 – Verdict

    2016 – Missouri

    A woman developed stage 4 ovarian cancer. She claimed this occurred after 45 years of exposure to talcum powder products. The woman also claimed she had no family history of ovarian cancer. She alleged that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers of the asbestos levels in their products. A St. Louis jury awarded her $70,000,000.

    $70,000,000 – Verdict

    2016 – Alabama

    A 62-year-old woman died from stage 3 ovarian cancer. Her son claimed her 35 years of exposure to talcum powder products caused it. He alleged that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers of the asbestos levels in their products. The jury awarded a $72,000,000 verdict.

    $72,000,000 – Verdict

    2019 – California

    A 52-year-old woman developed mesothelioma. She claimed that her lifelong use of asbestos-containing Johnson & Johnson talcum powder caused this. The woman alleged that Johnson & Johnson knew of this defect but failed to warn consumers. Johnson & Johnson denied liability. It argued that her asbestos exposure was unrelated to her use of its products. The jury ruled the woman’s favor and awarded a $29,490,000 verdict.

    $29,490,000 – Verdict

    Talcum Powder Lawyer

    If you’re currently suffering from ovarian cancer — and know that you’ve been using Johnson & Johnson talcum powder in your vaginal area for years — you should immediately contact our law firm so we can help you decide whether we need to file a lawsuit for damages on your behalf.  Like life, there are not guarantees in litigation.  But there is a very real possibility that these cases will resolve with extremely large settlements to victims and their families who will never see the insides of a courtroom. Why?  Because the history of these types of cases often end in a global settlement that resolves almost all of the pending lawsuits. To find out if you might have a case, call 800-553-8082 or get an absolutely FREE on-line consultation.

    2016 – South Dakota

    A woman received an ovarian cancer diagnosis. She claimed she developed it after using talcum powder products for 30 years. Her treating physicians observed talcum particles embedded in her cancerous tissues. The court did not rule that the powder caused her cancer. Instead, they ruled that Johnson & Johnson should have posted cancer risk warnings. The woman received a $55,000,000 verdict.

    $55,000,000 – Verdict

    These verdicts have pushed the expected settlement value of these case through the roof. As often occurs while lawsuits are being pursued, Johnson & Johnson keeps denying that it’s talcum powder products have played any role in these women’s cancer diagnoses and deaths. The company claims that “science” is on its side. Nevertheless, it’s likely to remain in court for many years to come since roughly 2,000 women have now filed similar lawsuits.

    Mesothelioma Talcum Powder Cases 

    These mesothelioma talc verdicts are also of interest. 

    YEAR / STATE

    CASE / INJURY SUMMARY

    RESULT

    2020 – Florida

    A woman developed terminal peritoneal mesothelioma. She claimed this occurred after decades of exposure to asbestos-containing talcum powder products. The woman alleged that their manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, knew of this defect and failed to warn consumers. Johnson & Johnson denied selling asbestos-containing products during the woman’s exposure period. The jury awarded the woman a $9,000,000 verdict.

    $9,000,000 – Verdict

    2020 – New Jersey

    Three individuals between the ages of 41 and 65 received mesothelioma diagnoses. They alleged that their childhood exposure to talcum powders caused this. The three alleged that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers of high asbestos levels in their products despite having prior knowledge of it. Johnson & Johnson denied liability. It argued that the three could not prove that the products contained asbestos. The jury awarded a $787,300,000 verdict.

    $787,300,000 – Verdict

    2019 – California

    A 68-year-old woman developed malignant pleural mesothelioma. She claimed this occurred after 50 years of exposure to asbestos-containing talcum powder products. The woman alleged that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers of this defect despite having known about it. Johnson & Johnson denied liability. They argued that the asbestos levels in their products were not sufficient to cause mesothelioma. The jury found Johnson & Johnson 67 percent liable and a non-party 33 percent liable. They awarded the woman a $40,137,769 verdict.

    $40,137,769 – Verdict

    2019 – California

    A woman developed mesothelioma after using talcum powder products throughout her life. She alleged that Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive failed to warn consumers and concealed information on the asbestos levels in their products. The jury found

    • Avon Products 20 percent liable,
    • Colgate-Palmolive 40 percent liable,
    • Johnson & Johnson 30 percent liable, and
    • Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 10 percent liable.

    They awarded a $12,003,006 verdict.

    $12,003,006 – Verdict

    2019 – New York

    A 63-year-old woman developed mesothelioma. She claimed that her lifelong exposure to Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products caused this. The woman alleged that Johnson & Johnson knew that the products contained asbestos and failed to warn the public. Johnson & Johnson denied liability. They argued that their products did not contain asbestos. The jury ruled in the woman’s favor and awarded a $325,000,000 verdict.

    $325,000,000 – Verdict

    2019 – California

    A 52-year-old woman developed mesothelioma. She claimed that her lifelong use of asbestos-containing Johnson & Johnson talcum powder caused this. The woman alleged that Johnson & Johnson knew of this defect but failed to warn consumers. Johnson & Johnson denied liability. It argued that her asbestos exposure was unrelated to her use of its products. The jury ruled the woman’s favor and awarded a $29,490,000 verdict.

    $29,490,000 – Verdict

    Getting a Talcum Powder Lawyer

    If you’re currently suffering from ovarian cancer — and know that you’ve been using Johnson & Johnson talcum powder in your vaginal area for years — you should immediately contact our law firm so we can help you decide whether we need to file a lawsuit for damages on your behalf.  Like life, there are not guarantees in litigation.  But there is a very real possibility that these cases will resolve with extremely large settlements to victims and their families who will never see the insides of a courtroom. Why?  Because the history of these types of cases often end in a global settlement that resolves almost all of the pending lawsuits. To find out if you might have a case, call 800-553-8082 or get an absolutely FREE on-line consultation.

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