What is Talcum Powder?
Talc is a naturally occurring mineral. It is also the softest of all the minerals. That quality makes it attractive to manufacturers of consumer products such as talcum powder and cosmetics. On its own, talc is not believed to cause cancer.
Asbestos, however, is a known carcinogen. In nature, talc and asbestos deposits tend to be found close to each other. Many times, talc and asbestos veins intersect. This leads to dangerous cross-contamination when mined. Some of this asbestos makes its way into consumer products such as talcum powder. Even the smallest amount of asbestos is dangerous to humans; there’s universal agreement on that. Observed under a microscope, asbestos has sharp edges that can pierce human tissue.
Johnson & Johnson introduced Baby Powder to the consumer market in 1894. A simple combination of talcum powder and fragrance, it was immediately popular and to this day is one of the company’s most recognizable products. Originally, millions of women around the world purchased Baby Powder to prevent their babies from developing diaper rash. It proved to be absorbent and effective at controlling odor. Clever marketing after World War I did an excellent job of positioning it as extremely safe to use, which the public and health care professionals did not question at the time.
With the overwhelming success of their Baby Powder, Johnson & Johnson set its sights on adults, particularly women. They successfully launched Shower to Shower in the 1960s. This powder was also made from talc. They eventually sold the Shower to Shower brand in 2012.
Today, the Johnson & Johnson name is still synonymous with talcum powder due to its most iconic product, Baby Powder. Even the scent of Baby Powder is instantly familiar to consumers around the world. However, consumers are becoming more concerned about the dangers of talcum powder use. That coupled with headline-grabbing cases against Johnson & Johnson for talc-related cancers has hurt sales. Their entire baby care division has seen a 20% drop in sales since 2011.
What are the Negative Effects of Talcum Powder?
The use of talcum products, such as Baby Powder for feminine hygiene, have been linked to an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. This appears to be especially true for women who have been using Baby Powder in their genital region regularly for years.
The nonpartisan, nonprofit National Center for Health Research (NCHR) recently published their results regarding the connection between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer. They found that on average, a little over 1% of the female population will develop ovarian cancer during their lifetimes. But for women who use talcum powder, the chances of developing ovarian cancer increase dramatically to 30%.
One of the better-known theories as to why ovarian cancer develops is that when a woman applies talcum powder to her genital area, particles travel up the fallopian tubes, into the pelvic cavity and then ultimately the ovaries. Once in the ovaries, the particles cause inflammation. This damages the DNA of any surrounding tissue and causes cells to mutate into cancer cells.
What Are Some Notable Cases Regarding Talcum Powder?
For decades, various government and private entities around the world raised concerns about the use of talcum powder and the frequency of ovarian cancer in the women who used it. But Johnson & Johnson didn’t face any lawsuits until 2009. Since then, over 12,000 lawsuits have been filed by women in the U.S. against Johnson & Johnson. Some of the most notable are listed below:
2009: Berg v. Johnson & Johnson – Deane Berg was the first woman to sue Johnson & Johnson after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer following years of talcum powder use. The case was tried in South Dakota Federal District Court.
Johnson & Johnson offered to settle out of court for $1.3 million as long as Ms. Berg signed a confidentiality clause. She refused to do so because of her strong belief that the public should be made aware of the strong tie between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer. The jury found in favor of Deane Berg but did not award any monetary damages.
2016: Fox v. Johnson & Johnson – In February of 2016, A St. Louis jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for the death of Jacqueline Fox from ovarian cancer and awarded her family $72 million. Ms. Fox had been using Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder for feminine hygiene for over 35 years. She passed away right before the start of her trial at the age of 62.
2016: Ristesund v. Johnson & Johnson – A St. Louis jury awarded Gloria Ristesund $55 million and found Johnson & Johnson liable for contributing to her development of ovarian cancer due to talcum powder use. The plaintiff had been using both Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene for more than 40 years.
2017: Echeverria v. Johnson & Johnson – A Los Angeles jury awarded Eva Echeverria $417 million and found Johnson & Johnson liable for failing to warn of the connection between its talcum powders and ovarian cancer. At the time, this was the largest verdict against the medical device/consumer goods giant.
Ms. Echeverria began using Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder at 11 years of age. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007 and endured multiple surgeries and chemotherapy treatments before passing away from the disease in 2018.
2018: Ingham et. al. v. Johnson & Johnson – In this landmark case, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $4.14 billion in punitive damages and $550 million in compensatory damages to 22 women. This was also the first time that Imerys, the French company that supplies all of the talc used in Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder, was also found liable. All of the women claimed to have developed ovarian cancer due to evidence of asbestos in Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder.
The settlement amount is one of the largest ever awarded for a personal injury case. This trial was also noteworthy because of the explosive evidence presented by the plaintiffs’ attorneys. Several internal Johnson & Johnson documents were made public before the court. Memos between company executives, some dating as far back as 1971, expressed concerns over the possible contamination of their best-selling talcum powder with asbestos.
The evidence was indisputable: Johnson & Johnson was aware of the possibility of asbestos contamination in its Baby Powder but chose to keep that information from the public for decades.
Why Should I File an Ovarian Cancer Lawsuit?
If you were diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using any Johnson & Johnson talcum powder product, know that we at the Dominguez Firm are here for you. We’ll fight for your rights and the compensation that you’re entitled to. A fair and just amount offers you the ability to obtain the medical care you need without worrying about the cost. If you believe a loved one died due to talcum powder use, obtaining justice can help your family and you during the healing process and provide closure at such a difficult time.
The monetary damages are vital, of course. But it’s also important to hold Johnson & Johnson, and to a lesser degree, the FDA, accountable for knowingly putting the lives of millions of women in danger. As noted in the evidence presented during the Ingham et. al. v. Johnson & Johnson trial, the company knew about the possibility of asbestos in its talcum powder products for decades. Instead of taking action to replace talc as the main ingredient in their Baby Powder or measures to assure consumer safety, executives chose to suppress this information. This is a case of profits over people.
An executive at Johnson & Johnson displayed the height of corporate arrogance when he demanded that an official from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stop damning evidence from going public back in the 1970s. In an unfortunate, but not surprising move, the FDA agreed to the executive’s demand.
Not only did Johnson & Johnson suppress evidence of the connection between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer in women, it defiantly doubled down by introducing the first talcum powder for adults. Shower to Shower came out in the 1960s and was specifically marketed towards women as a part of their daily hygiene regimen.
The company devised an insidious marketing plan targeting African-American and overweight women to sell more Baby Powder. In one internal marketing meeting, executives discussed honing in on “under developed geographical areas with hot weather, and higher AA population”. The “AA” stands for African-Americans.
Another tactic employed by Johnson & Johnson to increase Baby Powder sales was to offer free samples at churches and beauty salons in Latino and African-American neighborhoods. This marketing towards Latina and African-American women is one of the main reasons why they make up a majority of the 12,000+ plaintiffs in these talcum powder-related ovarian cancer lawsuits.
Also troubling was Johnson & Johnson’s other marketing strategy of directing their Baby Powder advertising towards teenage girls in minority neighborhoods. The state of Mississippi decided to fight back and filed a class action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in 2014 for not warning consumers about the dangers and risks associated with the use of talcum powder and their “racially targeted strategy” directed at African-American women of all ages. Johnson & Johnson filed a motion for summary judgment, which a judge denied. The case is scheduled to go to trial in late 2019.
Not taking legal action sends a message to Johnson & Johnson, and a lesser extent, the FDA, that they can keep putting the lives of women and especially women of color at risk with no consequences or a mere slap on the wrist. Holding Johnson & Johnson accountable for decades of corporate wrongdoing and greed not only helps all of the other women affected by ovarian cancer, it can also help protect future generations of consumers from experiencing the same corporate deceit.
What Compensation Can I Receive for a Talcum Powder Lawsuit?
While no law firm can guarantee success or provide you with an exact recovery amount, recent juries have overwhelmingly sided with the women who have sued Johnson & Johnson. Mounting scientific evidence as well as insightful investigative journalism exposing the truth have also helped pull the curtain back on Johnson & Johnson’s dishonesty. In light of these favorable verdicts, thousands of women have joined the fight in filing claims against Johnson & Johnson.
Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Talcum Powder-Related Ovarian Cancer Lawsuit?
Each case is different. A woman’s state of residence as well as when and where her cancer was diagnosed will help determine the statute of limitations. If you or a loved one were diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talcum powder, it’s best to call the experienced talcum powder-related ovarian cancer attorneys at The Dominguez Firm right away at 800-818-1818. Take the first step now. Our consultations are always free and confidential.
And your legal status doesn’t matter. If you’re an undocumented immigrant here in California, you too have the right to pursue a claim if you were diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talcum powder. Also, your legal status cannot be used against you.
Call the Talcum Powder-Related Ovarian Cancer Lawyers at The Dominguez Firm Today.
Pursuing a talcum powder-related ovarian cancer lawsuit may seem intimidating, but you and your family should not have to confront expensive medical treatments or the loss of a loved one on your own. Fighting ovarian cancer can be extremely expensive. Plus, you want to make sure you have access to the latest, best treatment possible without having to worry about the cost. Nor should you be worried about the cost of drugs prescribed to you by your doctor.
While no amount of money can make up for losing a family member to ovarian cancer, The Dominguez Firm will make sure you obtain the justice that you deserve and the compensation you need. We have over 30 years of experience and the resources to handle your case from beginning to end.
Don’t let Johnson & Johnson get away with it. They put the lives of millions of women at risk and still refuse to put any warning labels on their talcum powder products to this day.
If you’re concerned about the cost of filing a lawsuit, know that you incur no up-front expenses or fees. Our promise to you is: no recovery, no fee. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain. Call The Dominguez Firm today for a free consultation at 800-818-1818.