$110 Million Verdict in Products Liability Claim Linked To Talc Powder
On May 4th, Johnson & Johnson and the talc mining firm that supplies the talc in the company’s products (Imerys) were ordered to pay more than $110 million to a woman who allegedly developed ovarian cancer as a result of using the company’s talc-based products for decades. Thus far, there have been approximately 2,400 product liability lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson for failing to adequately warn consumers about the cancer risks associated with its talc-based products, such as the Baby and “Shower to Shower” Powder.
Specifically, plaintiffs claim that companies like Johnson & Johnson and others that produced talc-based products ignored the scientific evidence and, instead, continued to place female consumers at risk in marketing and selling products without providing adequate warning labels on the products. Many of these claims are now pending in St. Louis, where three prior trials rendered verdicts close to $200 million against the company. Other juries have awarded $72, $55, and $70 million to families of those who have developed and/or died from cancer.
This isn’t the first products liability lawsuit for Johnson & Johnson: In December, a jury ordered the company to pay more than $1 billion to patients who had its Pinnacle artificial hips removed due to alleged defects that the company supposedly knew about but failed to warn both doctors and patients of.
History of Talcum Powder & Cancer
The discovery of the connection between the use of talc powder and ovarian cancer can be traced back to the 1990s. Years ago, experts started to see talc incorporated into the tissue of women with ovarian cancer. Around that time, many doctors starting advising mothers to stop using talc powder on their babies and/or for feminine hygiene uses.
Cases brought against Johnson & Johnson have cited to studies showing that women who regularly use talc on their genitals face up to a 40 percent higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. Although the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies the use of talc as possibly carcinogenic, they have specifically limited that classification to its genital use.
In the past, the talc used in talcum powder also contained asbestos, although this may or may not still be the case. The American Cancer Society has stated that, in its natural form, talc does contain some asbestos, and asbestos can cause cancers in and around the lungs when inhaled. While firms claim that they have been removing asbestos from talc products since the 1970s, there may still be a link between talc and various types of cancer.
Talc is still used in a variety of other products such as plastics and paint. Johnson & Johnson is still claiming that talc is safe to use in cosmetic products and that it plans to continue labeling products like its Baby Powder as it has been. Meanwhile, litigation against the company continues around the globe, with thousands of claimants coming forward.
Dedicated Products Liability Lawyers Serving Fort Lauderdale and Surrounding Areas
If you or a loved one has been injured or otherwise harmed by a product, contact one of our experienced product liability lawyers at Friedland & Associates in Fort Lauderdale today for a free consultation. We are here to help.