Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Cancer Lawsuit
An estimated 2,200 cases of ovarian cancer every year are caused by the frequent use of talc powders. The Missouri Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder-based products caused ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson will be paying out $2.1 billion in damages.
What is Talcum Powder?
Talcum powder’s main ingredient is talc, which is mined from rock and soil. While talc by itself is not dangerous, the concern is that when talc is mined, it is often contaminated with asbestos. Asbestos is a carcinogen frequently associated with mesothelioma.
The primary function of talcum powder is to absorb moisture. For that reason, Johnson & Johnson pushed talcum powder as a feminine hygiene product for more than a century. In the 1980s, Johnson & Johnson ran numerous ads encouraging women to use this product for personal hygiene.
In 2006, J&J began a campaign targeting minority and overweight women, encouraging them to use their talcum products as a genital antiperspirant. They put TONS of time and resources into this campaign, but they failed to warn customers about the connection to ovarian cancer.
Back in the 1960s, Harvard University researchers were already studying the possible link between talcum powder & ovarian cancer. Later, in 1982 a case study was able to link genital area use of talcum powders to ovarian cancer successfully.
Since then, numerous studies have confirmed that women who use talcum powder in the genital area are 30% more likely to develop ovarian cancer. This use of talc allows particles to migrate into the fallopian tubes and ovaries, where they can cause inflammation that leads to cancer.
Another likely culprit is the asbestos. As mentioned before, it is not uncommon for talc to be contaminated with asbestos. Due to asbestos’s potential to cause cancer, J&J recalled 33,000 bottles of contaminated baby powder. This recall resulted in Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid, and Target pulling all bottles of Johnson’s baby powder from their shelves.
The recall proved to be too little too late, as J&J faces nearly 12,000 lawsuits. The lawsuits allege that Johnson & Johnson knew its talcum powder could cause cancer and failed to notify regulators or consumers.
The Missouri Court of Appeals awarded $2.1 billion to plaintiffs. Later, in 2019 a California jury awarded millions to a plaintiff who said the company’s talcum powder gave her terminal cancer.
Due in part to the “constant barrage of litigation,” Johnson & Johnson is discontinuing all of its talc-based baby powders in the US and Canada.
Reynolds & Reynolds is would like to thank the courts for their decision to reward the suffering plaintiffs. For more information on our practice, or to speak to our dedicated attorneys, please contact Reynolds & Reynolds today.