Multi-Million Dollar Award for Talcum Powder Cancer Death
Written by Faith Anderson on February 24, 2016
$72 Million Awarded to Family of Alabama Woman Over Ovarian Cancer Death Allegedly Caused by Talc Powder
Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay the family of an Alabama woman $72 million in damages in a product liability lawsuit alleging that the pharmaceutical giant’s talcum powder products caused her to develop a deadly ovarian cancer. The verdict was delivered by a St. Louis jury on February 22, in the first case brought over the alleged link between Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products and ovarian cancer to result in damages for the plaintiff. If you used J&J’s talcum powder for feminine hygiene purposes, and you have since been diagnosed with ovarian cancer or another serious side effect, consult an experienced talcum powder attorney today to explore your possible compensation options.
Alleged Risk of Cancer from Talcum Powder
Talcum powder is derived from the mineral compound magnesium silicate, and is used in a variety of cosmetic products, including baby powder and body powder products manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. These products are used in various ways, including to prevent rashes and keep the skin free of moisture, but the most problematic use in terms of the risk of ovarian cancer is perineal, or genital, use. Many women use talc-based products like J&J’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower powders for feminine hygiene purposes, and research has shown that the talc particles may travel through the vagina, into the uterus and along the fallopian tubes to the ovaries, possibly resulting in an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
Lawsuits Over Talc Powder Ovarian Cancer Link
A growing body of research has shown that talcum powder may increase the risk of ovarian cancer in women if the powder is applied to the genital area, or on diaphragms, condoms or sanitary napkins. One of the first lawsuits over the alleged link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer was filed in South Dakota in late 2013, and the federal jury ruled that a woman’s use of J&J’s Shower to Shower talcum powder product during a 30-year period contributed to her ovarian cancer. In the years since, women across the country have become aware of the potential risk of ovarian cancer from talcum powder, and Johnson & Johnson now faces hundreds of other lawsuits involving its talc powder products and ovarian cancer diagnoses.
This latest talc powder cancer lawsuit was brought on behalf of Jacqueline Fox, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using J&J’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products for feminine hygiene purposes for more than 35 years. During trial, the attorneys representing Fox’s family were able to prove statistically that “1,500 women have died every year from the association of talc and ovarian cancer,” including Fox, who died on October 6, at the age of 62, before her case came to trial. They also presented internal documents indicating that J&J knew for years about the potential for its talc products to cause ovarian cancer, yet failed to warn consumers about this risk.
J&J Knew About Ovarian Cancer Risk
In one document from 1997, a paid consultant warned Johnson & Johnson about studies showing the potential link between talc products and cancer diagnoses, and in other documents from 2000, the company was discussing how to defend possible talcum powder cancer lawsuits. Yet, even equipped with this information, J&J has intentionally avoided warning women about the potential risk of ovarian cancer from the use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene purposes, likely in an attempt to protect the company’s bottom line.
It wasn’t until March 2014 that the FDA provided updated information about the alleged health risks of talc on its website, indicating that, “Talc is an ingredient used in many cosmetics, from baby powder to blush. From time to time, FDA has received questions about its safety and whether talc contains harmful contaminants, such as asbestos.” The agency also noted that “Published scientific literature going back to the 1960s has suggested a possible association between the use of powders containing talc and the incidence of ovarian cancer.”
Pursuing Compensation for Ovarian Cancer from Talc
The FDA has yet to issue an official warning about the potential for talcum powder to cause ovarian cancer side effects in women, which the agency says is because it does not have the authority to review or gain access to information about the safety of cosmetics. That means it’s up to J&J to provide consumers with accurate information about the safety of its products, which the company has yet to do in regards to the potential link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. However, with a growing number of talcum powder lawsuits brought against J&J and other manufacturers of talc-based products, like Jacqueline Fox’s suit, more light is being shed on the potential health risks of talcum powder, and the manufacturing companies are being held responsible for their unreasonably dangerous products.
Following a month-long trial in the St. Louis circuit court in Jacqueline Fox’s case, the jury found Johnson & Johnson guilty of negligence, fraud and conspiracy, and awarded Fox’s family $10 million in compensatory damages and $62 million in punitive damages. Fox’s talc powder cancer lawsuit is the first to result in damages to the plaintiff – the South Dakota jury that previously found against Johnson & Johnson did not award damages – and experts predict that the outcome of the trial will persuade cosmetic companies to finally add warnings to their talc-based products highlighting the potential for talc powder to cause ovarian cancer in women who use the products for feminine hygiene purposes.
An Experienced Talcum Powder Cancer Lawyer Can Help
Johnson & Johnson’s response to the jury verdict in the Fox’s case was a bit disappointing. The company released a short statement saying, “We have no higher responsibility than the health and safety of consumers and we are disappointed with the outcome of the trial. We sympathize with the plaintiff’s family but firmly believe the safety of cosmetic talc is supported by decades of scientific evidence.” If you believe you have been adversely affected by side effects of talcum powder, contact a knowledgeable product liability lawyer today to discuss the possibility of filing a talcum powder cancer lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson for financial compensation.