In 1894, Johnson and Johnson’s talcum-based baby powder went on the market in the United States. Over the past century and a quarter, baby powder has been used by generation after generation of people to help keep skin soft and dry. Few people may have been concerned about the safety of talcum powder in the past, but today there is growing concern that talcum powder may be linked to cancer.
Thousands of people have sued Johnson & Johnson and the makers of other talc-based products. The plaintiffs allege that they have developed cancer, or that their loved ones have died from cancer, and that they were not warned about the risk.
Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, research about whether talcum powder causes ovarian cancer is still ongoing. However, the evidence of a potential connection between talc and ovarian cancer goes back many years. For example, in 2006 the company that provides Johnson & Johnson with talc included a possible risk of ovarian cancer on its safety data sheet. Some studies—dating back to the early 1970s—confirm this risk, while other studies do not. Since 1999, the American Cancer Society has recommended that women use cornstarch-based baby powder, rather than talcum-based baby powder, on their genitals.
Some of the women who allege that they have developed ovarian cancer from talc-based baby powders have sued the companies that mine talc and the companies that use talc in baby powder. To date, more than 5,000 people have filed lawsuits. Some of those lawsuits have been resolved in favor of the plaintiff with multi-million dollar verdicts being awarded, some have been resolved in favor of the defendant with no damages being awarded, and the majority of cases are still pending.
Talcum Powder and Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that is almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos. Talc may naturally contain some asbestos. However, since the 1970s, the United States has required that the talc used in consumer products, such as baby powder, be free from asbestos. Even with this regulation in place, it is possible that some of the talc used since the 1970s has contained asbestos. Additionally, mesothelioma has a long latency period, and people who were exposed to asbestos in the 1970s may just now be developing the disease.
In April 2018, a jury awarded a New Jersey couple approximately $117 million in compensatory and punitive damages after the husband successfully proved that his mesothelioma was caused by talc in Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder.
Take Care of Yourself If You Have Cancer and You Have Used Talcum Powder
Cancer cases can be difficult to prove. In order to recover damages, you must be able to prove that the talc-containing product was the cause of your cancer and that your cancer would not have occurred if not for your use of the product. This requires a detailed investigation and a skilled review of scientific data.
If you have used a talcum-based product and you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer or mesothelioma—then you deserve to know more about your rights. Please contact our mass tort lawyers today for a free, no-obligation consultation and more information about your potential recovery.