Talcum Powder Litigation

Talcum powder has been linked to forms of cancer including mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer after using talcum powder, the team at Smith & Johnson can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Talcum Powder Personal Injury Attorneys

In 1894, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) introduced what would become one of its most commonly used household products: talc-based baby powder. Made of crushed talc, a naturally occurring mineral, J&J’s baby powder was widely used as both a way to prevent diaper rash in babies and as a moisture-wicking personal hygiene solution for women. Trusting the product to keep them healthy and safe, women sprinkled talc-based powder on their underwear, genital area, or on sanitary napkins. Some did so on a daily basis for years to decades.

But as ongoing litigation against Johnson & Johnson has revealed again and again, talc powder is not a safe, risk-free product. In fact, a growing body of research and influx of personal injury lawsuits have brought light to the fact that talcum powder has been linked to multiple types of cancer.

Talcum Powder is Often Contaminated with Deadly Asbestos

Talc naturally forms alongside asbestos, a known carcinogen. And although not every talc deposit is contaminated with asbestos, those that are pose deadly health risks for those exposed to it.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization (WHO), classifies talc containing asbestos is carcinogenic to humans. Asbestos is widely known to cause lung cancer and a rare stomach cancer called mesothelioma, but a growing body of reputable research has linked talc powder and its byproducts to ovarian cancer as well.

While Johnson & Johnson has been publicly claiming that its baby powder has been asbestos-free for decades, documents released in late 2018 showed that J&J managers, doctors, lawyers, and executives have known about trace amounts of asbestos in its talc powder since the early 1970s.


Talcum Powder’s Link to Ovarian Cancer

Research has also linked the use of talcum powder to ovarian cancer in women. Regular talcum powder use over the course of a lifetime nearly doubles a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer. While research on talc powder without asbestos is less clear, the IARC has classified the genital use of talc powder as “possibly carcinogenic” based on human studies. This means that even without the presence of asbestos, talcum based powder could be causing ovarian cancer.

This is not new information: talcum powder use was first linked to ovarian cancer in a 1982 study published in the scientific journal Cancer. Despite this, J&J and other companies continued to insist that it was safe to use. More recent research has suggested that the buildup of talc silica particles in ovarian tissue can cause inflammation that leads to cancer.

Ovarian cancer is not easily detectable and is often discovered too late or after it has spread elsewhere in the body. This makes it one of the deadliest and most aggressive forms of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society:

  • Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women.
  • Ovarian cancer accounts for more deaths than any other cancer involving the female reproductive system.
  • Even with advances in ovarian cancer treatment, the prognosis for ovarian cancer is poor, with an overall 5-year relative survival rate of less than 50%.

Talcum Powder Lawsuits 

Today, Johnson & Johnson is facing more than 20,000 talc baby powder lawsuits, some of which point to asbestos contamination and others claiming the talc itself caused a plaintiff’s cancer diagnosis. The number of cases continues to rise as more victims come forward.

Some plaintiffs have seen enormous verdicts in response to their lawsuits:

  • In 2013, a jury found that J&J should have warned women of the risk of developing ovarian cancer when using talcum powder near the genitals, awarding a plaintiff $55 million.
  • In 2016, a woman’s family was awarded $72 million after a jury determined her daily use of talc powder caused the ovarian cancer that led to her death.
  • In 2018, J&J was ordered to pay $4.69 billion in punitive damages to 22 women who developed ovarian cancer after using its talc products.

While Johnson & Johnson announced in May 2020 its plans to stop selling talc-based baby powder in the United States and Canada, thousands of women are still being forced to suffer with the aftermath of the company’s decades of inaction.

Were You or a Loved One Diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer After Talcum Powder Exposure?

If you or a loved one developed ovarian cancer after regularly using talc powder, contact the experienced defective drug and toxic chemical exposure attorneys at Smith & Johnson to discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to receive compensation for medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering and other damages associated with your cancer diagnosis. Contact personal injury attorney Tim Smith at (231) 946-0700 or through our online contact form to discuss your legal options.

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