Thousands of people are seeking compensation from pharmaceutical and personal care products manufacturer Johnson & Johnson because of cancer concerns with the company’s popular talcum powder products, including Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower. Those who filed lawsuits against the company alleged that the products increase the risk of mesothelioma in those who inhale the product and ovarian cancer in women who use the powders on their genitals.
There is pending litigation in many jurisdictions nationwide and pending multi-district litigation in a New Jersey court. Since the first case went to trial in 2016, talc lawsuit verdicts have cumulatively reached more than $5 billion. However, many verdicts were reduced in appeals.
Both scientific studies and the anecdotal evidence of thousands of claimants show that there may be a link between talcum powder and cancer, including mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. While Johnson & Johnson continues to contend their products were always safe, the lawsuits against the company claim it may have known about the possible issue for decades.
Based on case results, it seems there is enough evidence to convince juries in at least three states that the company manufactured a defective and dangerous product.
Those seeking compensation from Johnson & Johnson allege the company’s products played a causative role in their cancer, either because they inhaled asbestos-laced talc or used one of the company’s products on their genitals. If you or a loved one faced ovarian cancer or mesothelioma and previously used a talcum powder product, you may be eligible to file a claim. Get in touch with a talcum powder lawsuit lawyer today to learn more.
According to a Johnson & Johnson, as of September 2018, there were 14,200 talcum powder lawsuits pending in U.S. courts.
Reach out today to talk with a talcum powder lawsuit lawyer to learn more about your rights and legal options. The Zanes Law team can explain your next steps, and help you seek the justice you deserve. We can help you go after a payout and hold the powder manufacturer liable.
You can get started today by calling a talcum powder lawsuit lawyer from our office at (833) 214-0917. We offer no-obligation consultations and will review your case for free.
Thousands of people, mostly women, are putting the legal pressure on talcum powder product manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. The medical device and personal hygiene company is the defendant in multi-district litigation that alleges it manufactured and marketed defective and dangerous products—its talc-based powders.
The MDL, No. 2738, “Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Products Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation,” claims that not only do popular products including Baby Powder and Shower to Shower cause cancer but that the company has known about the possibility for decades.
Multi-district litigation, often referred to as MDL, is a type of mass tort that consolidates cases against the same defendant and based on the same primary allegation. In this case, the allegation is that its products cause an increased risk of mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. There will not be a one-size-fits-all answer for these cases, though. Unlike a class-action lawsuit, an MDL allows plaintiffs whose damages are very different to take part.
MDLs save money by allowing all the qualifying claimants to navigate the pretrial process together. This not only keeps additional cases out of the state courts, but it allows the plaintiffs to approach Johnson & Johnson as a team during discovery and the case-building phase.
You may be eligible to join the pending MDL against powder manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. If you have a diagnosis of mesothelioma or ovarian cancer, and you used a talcum powder product, we will review the facts of your case for free. We may be able to help you join the multi-district litigation already in progress.
If you regularly used talcum powder products, you may be at risk for mesothelioma or ovarian cancer. In general, the risk is highest for those who used this type of product regularly over a long period of time.
Unfortunately, talcum powder products such as Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower have been popular for decades, and consumers used them in many different ways. If you are a woman who applied them to your genitals or if you inhaled the powder during use, you could be at risk for developing mesothelioma or ovarian cancer.
While Johnson & Johnson continues to deny the link between its products and ovarian cancer, many epidemiological studies covering thousands of cases confirm an increased risk of ovarian cancer in women who were regular, long-term users of a talc-based powder. This often includes applying it to their genitals and some women relied on the products for decades.
In addition, thousands of women who were regular users of these products have come forward with their anecdotal evidence to demonstrate a concerning link between this type of powder and ovarian cancer.
If you received an ovarian cancer diagnosis and regularly used any type of powder product for feminine hygiene purposes or to prevent chafing, you may have a valid case against Johnson & Johnson or another talcum powder company.
Because talc-based products can have some asbestos content—the minerals often occur together in geologic formations where they are mined—breathing in too much of these products on a regular basis could trigger asbestos-related disease.
Asbestos was a commonly used material in the United States, but during the 1970s and 1980s, several laws worked together to greatly reduce its use and phase it out because of the cancer risks it posed.
If you used talc-based powders on your face or in a way that caused you to inhale them regularly, you may be at an increased risk for asbestos-related cancers. This may include mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancers.
The American Cancer Society warns consumers to abstain or at least minimize their use of talc products, due to its possible causal relationship with ovarian cancer.
Talc, the soft mineral ingredient in talcum powder, is mined from parts of the earth that also tend to contain asbestos. Both talc and asbestos are naturally occurring minerals that have seen widespread use across the world, especially since the 1940s, despite its being linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma. Asbestos was found to be carcinogenic and many asbestos manufacturers are now defendants in lawsuits by hundreds of thousands of people who have become deathly ill after being exposed to the mineral.
Due to the proximity of talc to asbestos, there is a belief that mined talc may be contaminated by the asbestos, thereby retaining its carcinogenic properties. Federal law does not require testing of cosmetic products, so consumers have been using products like talcum powder on babies, on skin, and genital areas to absorb moisture, with no idea of the cancerous risk they are introducing into their bodies.
A 1976 study reported in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health analyzed consumer talcums and powders, including baby powders, body powders, and facial talcums. Ten of the 20 products tested contained “detectable amounts of tremolite and anthophyllite, principally asbestiform.”
When talcum powder is applied to the genital area, either directly or via diaphragms, sanitary napkins, or condoms, the powder particles can move through the vagina and pass on to the uterus and fallopian tubes, on to the ovary. Within the ovaries, the particles may cause inflammation.
According to Dr. Adetunji Toriola, a Washington University epidemiologist at Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis, the connection between talcum and ovarian cancer rests on the logic supported by two known scientific facts:
Although scientists are still exploring the talcum powder-ovarian cancer connection, a study that appeared in the journal Epidemiology concluded that when used in the genital area, talcum powder could elevate a woman’s likelihood of developing ovarian cancer by 33%. The results were especially marked in cases where the study subjects used talcum powder every day.
The studies that have been conducted in the area have yielded results that prompted the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer to classify talcum powder on the genitals as being as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
In general, studies of the relationship between genital powder use and risk of ovarian cancer have concluded the strongest connection to exist with the development of serous invasive tumors.
A 2013 Harvard analysis further concluded that genital talc powder use links to an increase in some types of ovarian cancer and suggested that women avoid use of the products to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
The statute of limitations for talcum powder-causing ovarian cancer or mesothelioma claims depends upon the state where the plaintiff resides. Each state has its own laws that specify the amount of time a plaintiff has to take legal action against talc manufacturers after being diagnosed with illness related to talc exposure. This date could be affected by when their illness was diagnosed and the date it was discovered that the cancer or mesothelioma could be connected to talcum powder.
Although the statute of limitations for most personal injury lawsuits begins to tick on the date of injury, this rule usually does not apply to asbestos-based illness claims. Rather, with these and other “latent disease” injuries, most states abide by a “discovery rule,” which specifies that the clock for the state’s statute of limitations in these cases starts to count down on the date the person is diagnosed with the illness.
Mesothelioma has an unusually long latency period. Victims might not be diagnosed with their illness for as many as 50 years after their exposure to the talc that caused it. Furthermore, harm from talcum powder and asbestos tends to happen as the result of many years of exposure, so pegging a precise date for the “injury” is impossible. A typical statute of limitations would disable victims from filing their personal injury claims in the specified time constraints. The “discovery rule” corrects this problem.
In cases of wrongful death, the statute of limitations, regardless of state, begins on the date of the death of the individual who died due to their asbestos-caused ovarian cancer or mesothelioma.
Potential plaintiffs may also be affected by how their filing state considers statutes of repose in latent illness cases. In some states, despite the extended latency period, a statute of repose may relieve the defendant of long-term liability.
It can be confusing to decipher which state’s statute of limitations apply to an individual case and how to strategize around those rules. Typically, the cancer or mesothelioma patient files their claim in their state of residence or in the state in which they were exposed to the talcum that caused their illness. But many factors come into play when making this determination.
Overall, it holds true that the sooner an individual reaches out to a talcum powder lawyer to begin legal action, the more likely these and other important filing strategies can be developed and deadlines will be met, so the plaintiff is able to retain their legal rights to file a lawsuit and recover damages.
When crushed into powder form, talc offers several beneficial traits that make it useful across industrial and consumer product manufacturing industries. For example, talc:
Talc is also the softest mineral that has been documented by scientists. This characteristic enhances its appeal for a broad range of products, both industrial and consumer.
Cosmetics: On the consumer end, the mineral has been mined for use in the manufacturing and production of cosmetics, including foundation, face powder, lipstick, eye shadow, mascara, blush, and even some brands of makeup made for kids. Its function in these products is to absorb moisture, prevent caking, give cosmetics an opaque finish, and to lend a characteristic of silkiness to the makeup.
The mineral appears in these products’ lists of ingredients under several names:
Although the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act requires manufacturers to properly label their cosmetics and make them safe for public use, they do not have to share the safety data of their products with Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In March of 2019, the FDA announced results from its testing of cosmetic products from Claire’s and Justice suspected of containing asbestos. The agency discovered that three products from Claire’s and one product from Justice did, in fact, contain asbestos. Although Justice had already recalled its asbestos-based product in 2017, Claire’s refused to recall its asbestos-containing products, despite the FDA’s urging that they do so.
The Claire’s products found to contain asbestos are:
Body Powders and Hygiene Products: A 1976 article in The New York Times listed 10 of 19 baby and body powders tested by Mount Sinai Hospital were contaminated with between two and 20 percent asbestos fibers. The highest concentrations (eight to 20 percent) appeared in:
Smaller concentrations (less than five percent) occurred in:
Soapstone Applications: Talc also occurs in the form of soapstone, an easily carved soft rock that is ideal for sculptures, sinks, bowls, countertops, and other practical and ornamental objects.
Common, Less Known Uses: The unique properties that talc brings to industry have made it the go-to substance for fillers, pigment, coating, and dusting in a dizzying number of industrial applications, including the manufacture of:
Evidence of early knowledge about the link between talc and mesothelioma can be seen as far back as the mid-1970s, coinciding with a spike in concerns about asbestos as a carcinogen paired with knowledge that talc minerals were found to be contaminated with asbestos.
Asbestos had already been connected to mesothelioma, with mostly male victims who regularly breathed in the mineral fibers as they worked their jobs in construction, mining, shipyards, and factories. The question of how women were developing mesothelioma remained a mystery, until the talcum-powder connection was made. Suddenly, it became clear that by breathing in the ultra-light powder particles from talc-based products like talcum powder, make-up, and sanitary napkins, women could absorb any asbestos fibers from the talc in the tissues surrounding their lungs, thereby causing mesothelioma.
Of course, this connection meant that men who worked in talc mining operations and factories where talc was part of the manufacturing process were also breathing in the carcinogen, in heavy and regular doses, where it lodged around the lungs, with the potential to develop as mesothelioma.
In 1976, the cosmetics and personal care products industry’s organization—known then as the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association—appealed to the cosmetic industry and its members to manufacture their products using only asbestos-free talc. The group paired its requests with voluntary guidelines for taking this step.
However, because the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 never mandated that cosmetic companies share data regarding the safety of their products, the industry was left to make this change on a voluntary basis, and information regarding potential hazards was never revealed to consumers.
In 1982, a Harvard epidemiologist, Daniel Cramer, published his findings linking talc with ovarian cancer in the American Cancer Society’s Journal, Cancer. 215 women with epithelial ovarian cancers were assessed for regular talcum powder use. In 92 percent of the cases, the woman admitted to regular use of talc as a dusting powder in the genital area or on sanitary napkins.
The study stated that these results supported a link between talc and ovarian cancer “because of the similarity of ovarian cancer to mesotheliomas and the chemical relation of talc to asbestos, a known cause of mesotheliomas.”
Today, Cramer serves as a paid consultant who gives testimony on behalf of plaintiffs who sue talc product manufacturers for their development of cancer. In 2000, he conducted a study of data published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and connected talc with an 40 percent increased risk for one type of ovarian cancer.
In 2015, Cramer and his team led a case-control study on the talc-ovarian cancer link published in Epidemiology and reported a 33 percent uptick in ovarian cancer risk in women who applied talcum powder to the genital area.
In 2013, Katie Terry, an epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, conducted another study concerning talc use and ovarian cancer risk in Cancer Prevention Research. She compiled data from eight distinct case-control studies and concluded there was a 24 percent heightened risk for epithelial ovarian cancer in subjects who had applied talcum powders to their genital areas.
The symptoms of ovarian cancer do not manifest in the early stages of the disease. Later, in the more advanced stages of the cancer, patients may experience several symptoms, many of which can be erroneously associated with other, benign conditions.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some of these symptoms include:
The difference between these symptoms occurring in connection with benign diseases, with diseases of other organs, and with ovarian cancer is that in the latter case, the symptoms display a persistence and a departure from what the patient normally experiences.
A rule of thumb recommended by the American Cancer Society is if a patient experiences the above symptoms in excess of 12 times per month, they should report the condition to their doctor for assessment and treatment, if necessary.
In some cases, a woman’s doctor will identify something out of the ordinary during a pelvic exam. In this situation (or if the patient reports symptoms of concern to her doctor), the physician might order exams and tests to determine the cause.
The doctor will likely begin this diagnostic process by asking you about your medical history and conducting a physical exam to check for enlarged ovaries or signs of abdominal fluid. Based on what the doctor finds, they may send the patient to meet with a gynecologic oncologist. This specialist will use imaging tests, like ultrasounds, CT scans, X-rays, MRIs, and PET scans to check for signs of tumors and spreading of any cancer that is located.
The fact that symptoms manifest later—and often go unrecognized—do the patient a great disservice, as ovarian cancer is most successfully treated in early stages, before the disease has migrated beyond the ovary.
Stages of ovarian cancer are classified according to three factors, according to the American Cancer Society:
The stage of a patient’s ovarian cancer plays an important role in determining how much cancer is present in the body and making a prognosis about responses to treatment.
Tests used for the purpose of staging include imaging, blood tests, laparoscopy, colonoscopy, and biopsy.
With talcum powder’s connection to mesothelioma and ovarian cancer, people who have suffered from either condition after talcum powder use or exposure fall into a pool of individuals who are likely candidates for recovering damages. Cases may vary widely, but an eligible claim for either illness usually comprises several common characteristics.
Ovarian Cancer: The typical talcum powder case for ovarian cancer patients consists of the following elements:
Mesothelioma: When an individual develops mesothelioma from talcum powder, they do so by inhaling powder that has been contaminated with asbestos. The facts a plaintiff must be able to prove include:
Medical science has developed many treatments that have the potential to cure ovarian cancer in certain situations. Although survival rates for ovarian cancer can be as high as 92 percent, according to the American Cancer Society, several factors influence the effectiveness of available treatment. These variables include:
When gynecological oncologists develop treatment plans for their ovarian cancer patients, they may use local treatments like surgery or radiation therapy—which target only the tumors—or systemic treatments, which consist of drug treatments that can work on cancer cells anywhere in the body. Examples of systemic therapies are:
Usually, the oncologist will strategically combine these therapies based on the following:
The American Cancer Society gathers data from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and uses it to calculate “5-year relative survival rates.” These figures represent survival rates for distinct types and stages of ovarian cancer. To illustrate what the numbers mean, consider a 75 percent 5-year relative rate. With this rate, patients who have a specific type and stage of ovarian cancer are approximately 75 percent as likely to survive five years after diagnosis as people who do not have this cancer.
Based on NCI data from 2008-2014, the 5-year relative survival rates for invasive epithelial ovarian cancer are as follows:
Combining all the above epithelial ovarian cancer stages produces a 5-year relative survival rate of 47 percent.
In the simplest terms, ovarian cancer can be treated and even cured. Cure rates are much higher in cases where the ovarian cancer is in its early stages and has not spread outside the ovary.
You may be able to file a product liability lawsuit for ovarian cancer caused by talcum powder. Product liability arises from the duty that manufacturers have to assume accountability for their products and any injury they may cause. When their products are harmful to users and cause injury, these companies are liable for damages.
When talcum powder product manufacturers became aware of the inherent risks of talc—information was made available in the 1970s for mesothelioma risks and the early 1980s for ovarian cancer—and failed to warn the public of this danger, they entrenched themselves deep within a position of liability for injuries resulting from consumers’ use of the products.
Requirements for proving product liability vary from state to state, but the general components of a product liability case stay consistent regardless of venue. Generally, as a plaintiff, you would need to prove:
To help your lawyer construct a winning case, you can help by considering and documenting the following:
Your diagnosis: You can obtain copies of your medical diagnosis of ovarian cancer from your oncologist, which will include the type of ovarian cancer you have (some are easier to connect to talcum powder than others)
When you used the talcum powder: Talcum powder is the type of product that is often used as part of a personal care regimen, so your use probably spans back several years, if not decades. Try to recall which talcum powder products you used, when you first started using them, how you used them, and how frequently you used them.
Your lawyer will need to be aware of the statutes of limitations in your state of residence. If the amount of time lapsed since the date of your diagnosis exceeds your state’s statute of limitations for product liability, your attorney can advise you if you are eligible to file your lawsuit in another state.
The aim of your talcum powder product liability lawsuit is to receive monetary compensation for your ovarian cancer or mesothelioma. You may be eligible to receive many different types of compensatory damages, depending upon not only your unique circumstances, but also the product liability laws established in the state in which you file your lawsuit.
Compensatory, sometimes referred to as “actual”, damages are intended to get you back to the condition you enjoyed prior to suffering injury. Your lawyer will explore and itemize all the ways in which you experienced a loss because of your ovarian cancer or mesothelioma. Each of these losses will be associated with a dollar figure, then totaled to arrive at your total demand amount.
These actual damages consist of both economic losses and noneconomic losses.
Economic Losses (or “Special Damages”) – With these damages, you are compensated for money or property that you lost because of your illness or things you would have enjoyed were it not for your illness. These losses include the following:
Noneconomic Losses (or “General Damages”) These damages account for less quantifiable losses you experience as the result of your illness. The following are the most common types of this type of damage:
Settlement amounts for mesothelioma and ovarian cancer talcum powder product liability lawsuits range widely. Often, when product manufacturers agree to settle out of court, they attach a confidentiality clause to the settlement, which keeps the details of the settlement out of public view.
Until 2019, Johnson & Johnson, one of the most commonly named defendants in talcum powder lawsuits, had consistently rejected opportunities to settle with plaintiffs. However, the company embarked on a completely different legal strategy early in 2019 when it settled with four plaintiffs—some of the settlements being announced while the juror had already begun deliberations.
In some talcum powder cases, however, the plaintiffs and defendants do not agree on settlement terms, leaving the matter for a jury to decide. Juries have decided in favor of the plaintiffs in many of these cases, rendering verdicts that honored damages in generous amounts. Consider the following verdicts against Johnson & Johnson:
$25.75 Million Compensatory and Punitive Damages – 2018: The plaintiff was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma after she had used the company’s talcum powder on herself and her children. The jury awarded $21.75 million in compensatory and $4 million in punitive damages.
$4.6 Billion in Damages – 2018: In St. Louis, a jury awarded this amount to 22 ovarian cancer patients when internal Johnson & Johnson documents indicated that the company was aware that its talcum products had tested positive for asbestos but failed to warn consumers. The plaintiffs all testified to regularly dusting their genital areas with Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.
$325 Million Compensatory and Punitive Damages – 2019: The plaintiff developed mesothelioma after using the company’s talcum baby powder, prompting a Manhattan jury to order a payment of $25 million in compensatory and $300 million in punitive damages.
$29 Million in Damages – 2019: A California woman was awarded $29 million in compensation for developing mesothelioma, linked to a lifetime of using Johnson’s baby powder as a child and an adult.
Cases against Johnson & Johnson continue to take place in courtrooms across the country. As of March 2019, the mega corporation still awaited 13,000 legal actions from plaintiffs who claim that their mesothelioma and ovarian cancer resulted from asbestos contained in the company’s popular baby powder. More than 24 trials are scheduled throughout the U.S. in 2019.
If talcum powder caused your ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, you can join the thousands of other victims who have taken a stand against these corporate giants for putting their profits ahead of consumers’ health.
The recent wins—both in settlements and via jury verdicts—strongly suggest that the handwriting is on the wall in corporate headquarters. Every victory chips away at these companies’ ability to claim that their products do not pose health risks to regular users.
When you file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturers of the talcum powder products that caused your illness, you join the fight against this type of corporate greed and you also put yourself in a position to recover your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, pain and suffering, and a host of other losses you have experienced and may continue to endure for the rest of your life.
The first step to consider in this undertaking is the hiring of a lawyer who can represent your interests to lawyers, juries, and all parties involved in your compensation. Finding the right lawyer is paramount not only to the outcome of your case, but also to your comfort and peace of mind throughout this process.
Zanes Law has committed itself to helping people like you fight for justice for over 15 years. Throughout this time, we have recovered nearly $140 million in damages for victims of personal injury.
Everything we do is centered on simplifying your life and making this journey toward justice as convenient for you as possible. Our team will meet at a location that works for you, whether it be a hospital room, your home, your work, or anywhere in the area.
When you call us, we can often meet with you that same day. During our meeting, we will go over your case and review with you your legal options. You will gain a complete understanding of the path we plan to take, any obstacles we may encounter along the way, and our strategy for overcoming those challenges.
When you hire us to represent you in this important case, you can count on us to handle every detail. We can even connect you with a medical physician who can examine you, issue a diagnosis, and document your illness so you meet all the legal requirements of eligibility for the lawsuit you are filing.
This is not the time for you to worry about lawyers’ fees. This is why we work on contingency, meaning you pay us only if and when you get paid via a settlement or a jury verdict in your favor.
On our end, our legal staff will gather solid evidence, file your lawsuit, and represent you to lawyers, judges, and jury to get you the compensation you deserve.
Call Zanes Law today at (833) 214-0917 for your free, no-obligation case review.