Talcum-Based Powder on a Medical Paper With a StethoscopeMesothelioma is a rare and often fatal form of cancer that is almost always caused by asbestos exposure. When asbestos fibers are breathed in, inflammation and scarring can occur. The inflammation and scarring can change a cell’s DNA, which can cause mesothelioma.

$325 Million in Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Mesothelioma Case

In May 2019, a jury awarded a woman $25 million in compensatory damages and $30 million in punitive damages for the mesothelioma she suffered from using Johnson & Johnson talcum-based baby powder.

The woman, Donna Olson, regularly used the baby powder after her shower. He husband testified that she would pour some of the baby powder into her hands and apply it to her chest and underarms. Mrs. Olson says she began using baby powder at age eight, and it would often form a cloud when she used it, which caused her to inhale the powder. She stopped using baby powder in 2015 after learning of the potential link between baby powder and cancer. In 2016, she was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Mrs. Olson claimed that the talc used in Johnson & Johnson baby powder was tainted with asbestos. Talc and asbestos are naturally found close together underground and some talc may be contaminated with asbestos. Currently, there is no known level of asbestos that is safe, and any asbestos exposure could result in mesothelioma.

Johnson & Johnson refutes Mrs. Olson’s claims and the jury verdict. The company plans to appeal the May 2019 verdict.

Living With Mesothelioma​

Often, symptoms of mesothelioma do not occur for decades after exposure to asbestos. Symptoms of mesothelioma include:

  • Chest pain
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Nausea

If you exhibit these symptoms and your doctor suspects mesothelioma, then a chest x-ray or CT scan may be ordered. After that test, a biopsy may be done. A biopsy is the only way to definitively diagnose mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is typically incurable. Treatment may extend life in some circumstances and treatment options include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Clinical trials

More than one type of treatment may be recommended. Your doctor will advise you of all of your options so that you can make informed medical decisions.

Even with treatment, however, life expectancy is limited. According to the American Cancer Society, mesothelioma generally has about a 9% five-year survival rate. That means that people with mesothelioma are about 9% as likely as people who don’t have mesothelioma to live for five more years. More specifically, there is an 18% five-year survival rate for people with localized mesothelioma, an 11% survival rate for people with regional mesothelioma, and a 7% survival rate for people with distant mesothelioma.

Call a Talcum Powder Injury Lawyer to Protect Your Rights

For more than a century, people have been using Johnson & Johnson baby powder on themselves and their children. They have trusted the brand and Johnson & Johnson has a significant financial interest in maintaining that trust. Now, Johnson & Johnson is fighting allegations that its talcum-based baby powder causes cancer.

However, the jury in Donna Olson’s case found that Johnson & Johnson acted so egregiously that the company should be punished with $300 million in punitive damages in addition to the $25 million in compensatory damages for Mrs. Olson’s injuries. Other juries have also issued significant financial awards to people who developed ovarian cancer from Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-based baby powder.

If you have mesothelioma or ovarian cancer because of your regular talcum-based baby powder use, then we encourage you to protect your rights. You should expect that Johnson & Johnson will aggressively defend itself, and you deserve equally aggressive legal representation.

Contact Keefe Disability Law today to discuss your potential case. We would be pleased to provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation so that you can learn more about your rights. Call us or fill out our online contact form now to learn more.

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John L. Keefe
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