A major producer of health related products, Johnson & Johnson, is currently facing class action lawsuits and claims that their talcum powder products caused cancer. This problem allegedly was known by the manufacturer approximately 40 years ago, in the 1970s, but there has never been any warnings posted on their talcum products about any possible danger from use.
Johnson & Johnson – Talcum Powder Cancer Class Action Lawsuits
A pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson, is a multinational company founded in 1886, and it is listed as one of the Dow Jones Industrial’s Fortune 500 companies. In addition to pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods, it produces medical devices. Headquartered in New Jersey, J&J Corporation includes 250 subsidiary companies and sells products in over 175 countries. Part of their product line includes products containing talcum powder. Some studies made as long ago as 1971 claimed there is a connection between talcum and cancer development in humans.
The company has recently been sued by many women and families of deceased women who used Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products and who later suffered or died from ovarian cancer. In 2016, the company was ordered to pay $72 million to the family of a 62 year old woman, Jackie Fox, who died in 2015 from ovarian cancer allegedly due to her use over many decades of J&J Baby Powder.
Another award of $55 million was made by a St. Louis jury to a woman with similar harm Gloria Ristesund. These lawsuits are part of two class action lawsuits that represent 50 women across the nation with similar claims. Johnson & Johnson continues to uphold the safety of their products and is appealing the jury decision. The primary claim is that the company failed to warn users of known risks.
Talcum Powder Cancer Risks
Talc is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that is very absorbent. This mineral consists primarily of elements of magnesium, silicon and oxygen. When it is in powder form, it reduces friction and absorbs moisture well. This is a beneficial quality for keeping skin dry and reducing rashes. For this reason, it was used in cosmetic products as well as other consumer products. In the line of cosmetic products Johnson & Johnson produced, talcum powder was used as an ingredient in various baby and adult body and facial powders.
- What is Talcum Powder – This is a derivative of talc, a solid mineral. When powdered, it can be incorporated into consumer products that are created to absorb moisture and reduce friction. In its natural form, talc also contains asbestos, a substance already proven to cause lung cancer when inhaled. In the United States, all talcum products used in homes have been asbestos-free since the 1970s, when this problem was first recognized.
- How Can Talcum Powder Use Lead to Cancer? – Being fibrous means those fibers can become detached and inhaled or move up into body cavities, such as the vagina in women. The talc fibers can then travel upwards and lodge in the ovaries, where they can then cause cancer.
Lab Studies Link Talcum Powder & Cancer
It is very sad when trusted consumer products cause illness or death from diseases like cancer. For many decades, people have used talcum powder on their bodies and on their babies to facilitate dryness and reduce rash potential. When the link between asbestos and lung cancer became noted, manufacturers did attempt to remove asbestos from talc products as well. Miners were very susceptible to inhaling fibers of asbestos which then travelled to their lungs, causing cancer. Women likewise may have been inhaling asbestos and talcum powder fibers during normal use of products like Johnson & Johnson Baby Power and Shower to Shower.
The link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer became clear as early as 1971, the first year that asbestos was removed from talc powder products. Despite weak evidence of a connection, the American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute do indicate that talcum powder causes cancer. Part of the problem making a firm connection is the small number of cases that have developed, and the length of time it takes for that cancer to develop and cause harm or death, often many decades between exposure and death.
Women & Talcum Powder
Women often used talcum powder products for personal and baby care. These products claim to enhance dryness and to reduce friction. These women easily can inhale airborne fibers that are part of the powdered substances, and these fibers also can enter the vaginal area and work their way upwards to the ovaries. Once lodged in the ovaries, cancer can develop there over time, eventually causing illness or death.
An analysis done in 2003, found that 33% of women who had used talcum powder on their genitals did develop ovarian cancer. According to estimates made during 2014 in the United States by the American Cancer Society, 21,980 women would be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Another study showed that nearly a quarter of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer that year had used baby powder after bathing or showering.
Legal Options for Victims
The primary claim made in class action lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson for cancers and deaths caused by use of their talcum powder products is that the company failed to properly warn users of the potential risks when the company had knowledge of potential dangers. A serious claim is that the company failed to act over several decades after they had this knowledge.
Two class action lawsuits have been filed in 2014, by at least 50 women, starting with original legal action in California. Individuals who believe they have been harmed by Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products can file individual lawsuits or they may be eligible to join in the existing class action lawsuits. Another case was filed in 2013, in South Dakota, with similar claims that the company failed to warn consumers, especially women, about these cancer dangers.
Victims and their families can file individual lawsuits or join in a larger, Multi-District Litigation class lawsuit. Their cases would be heard individually, with compensation based on the merits of each case and harm done to the victims. Multi-million dollar awards have already been levied against Johnson & Johnson. Persons in the MDL lawsuits can expect to receive the highest awards.
Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a family member believes that use of talcum powder products over time has results in ovarian cancer, take that first positive step towards justice by contacting an experience Personal Injury Attorney who has experience with similar cases and class action lawsuit representation. Most Personal Injury Attorneys will accept cases on a contingency basis, so there would be no case fees charged unless your case is won, other than small office fees.
To learn more about your legal rights to fair compensation or talcum powder cancer legal options, contact us now.