Talcum Powder Lawsuits: What You Need to Know

On Monday, August 21st a Los Angeles Superior Court jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million to a woman who claimed she developed ovarian cancer after using the company’s talc-based products as part of her feminine hygiene practice for more than five decades.

For years millions of women have been using the products on themselves and their children for hygienic purposes, and talcum powder is also in a multitude of consumer products including cosmetics, surgical gloves, foods, contraceptives, antacids, medications, flea and tick powders, deodorants, chalk, textiles, and more.

No doubt women who have heard about the talcum powder lawsuits and who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer have many questions concerning these cases. Here are answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

Talcum Powder FAQs

Q: Does talcum powder cause cancer?
A: Although medical studies have been inconclusive concerning whether Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower causes ovarian cancer on women who apply the substance to their genitals, published scientific papers have suggested a link between talcum powder and cancer as far back as the 1960s, says the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Moreover, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has concluded that there is persuasive proof of a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer.

Q: What did Johnson & Johnson know about the possible link between the talcum powder in its products and cancer?
A: The company asserts that it has not found a conclusive correlation between the use of its Baby Powder or its Shower to Shower products with the development of cancer. However, lawyers for plaintiffs who have successfully argued cases and have won judgments have based their suits on the fact that Johnson & Johnson knew of the potential risk, but failed to warn its customers or perform a proper investigation into the allegation.

Q: How many talcum powder cancer lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson? Have there been any verdicts?
A: At least 1,400 suits have been filed. Awards paid by Johnson & Johnson resulting in four trials in Missouri have totaled $307 million and the plaintiff in the most recent case in Los Angeles was given $417 million.

Q: What should I do if I have developed ovarian cancer and suspect long-term use of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder or Shower to Shower is the cause?
A: If you have received a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, then first make certain that you are receiving the proper care. It is also suggested that you gather as much information as possible about your condition and how you used the Johnson & Johnson product or products and then contact The Eichholz Law Firm at 855-551-1019 to schedule an appointment for a free consultation. The firm is interested in your concerns and is here to help.

Who Are Johnson & Johnson?

Founded in 1886 and located in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Johnson & Johnson manufactures and distributes Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, which include talcum powder in their ingredients. The powder is derived from a soft mineral called talc, which consists of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. It is used as an after-bath or shower solution to absorb excess moisture and prevent rashes.

Starting in 2013, talcum powder lawsuits claiming that the powder causes ovarian cancer have been issued against Johnson & Johnson. Documents on which the lawsuits are based show that the company has been aware of scientific studies that assert that the product causes ovarian cancer and has not warned its customers.

The first talcum powder lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson occurred in 2013 in South Dakota, which resulted in a judgment in favor of the plaintiff, Deane Berg. A user of Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for more than 30 years, Berg was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and claimed that the Johnson & Johnson products were the cause.

In February 2016, a jury in St. Louis, Missouri awarded $72 million to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer and claimed that the Johnson & Johnson products were the cause. As a part of their case, Berg’s attorneys revealed a Johnson & Johnson company internal memo that admitted the link.

Moreover, five trials have occurred in Missouri where many plaintiffs have filed talcum power lawsuits. In May 2017, a jury awarded $110.5 million to the plaintiff who claimed that she used the company’s talcum powder products for more than 40 years resulting in her ovarian cancer.

Johnson & Johnson has lost four trials in Missouri and were ordered to give awards totaling $307 million.

The judgment of the jury in the California case is expected to encourage more talcum power lawsuits.