For many generations, parents have used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder to keep baby’s skin dry, soothe irritations, and make them smell powder fresh. Talcum powder has also been widely used by women as a feminine hygiene product to freshen sanitary napkins and reduce odor. Unfortunately, use of talcum powder on a regular basis has been linked to a serious risk of developing ovarian cancer—sometimes resulting in women’s deaths.
Sadly, researchers and Johnson & Johnson have known about the dangerous link between use of talcum powder by women and ovarian cancer for decades. Yet, this pharmaceutical company has not taken its product off the market or warned women of the dangers of using baby powder for this purpose. Thousands of women are now suing Johnson & Johnson in class action and individual lawsuits around the country, claiming that their ovarian cancer was caused by use of this product. If you are worried that your ovarian cancer was caused by talcum powder use, here is what you need to know about the lawsuits.
What Is Talcum Powder and Why Is it Dangerous?
Talcum powder is made from finely ground talc, which is a mineral comprised of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. It absorbs moisture and prevents irritation—the reason it is widely used as a feminine hygiene product.
Unfortunately researchers have linked regular use of talcum powder with an increased risk of ovarian cancer since as early as 1971. Numerous studies since then have also confirmed a connection between this product’s use and the development of ovarian cancer. It has been found that the talcum particles can travel into a woman’s vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes into her ovaries. Once the particles get into the ovaries, they can cause irritation, inflammation, and cancer.
Ovarian cancer is an especially dangerous type of cancer because women rarely experience symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Once signs of ovarian cancer emerge and a diagnosis is made, the cancer has often spread from beyond the woman’s ovaries into her other tissues and organs. This can make treating and controlling the cancer much more difficult, and many women needlessly die from this disease.
History of Lawsuits Against Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson is being sued by women over use of its most popular products: Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower. Thousands of individual lawsuits as well as class action lawsuits have been filed. The complaints allege that the manufacturer of these products knew of the risks but failed to warn women of the dangers of developing ovarian cancer. Some plaintiffs also claim that Johnson & Johnson violated state consumer protection act laws designed to protect consumers from deceptive acts and practices. A few of the earliest cases have gone to trial, with juries awarding women millions in damages. Results of these initial lawsuits include:
- In October 2013, a federal South Dakota jury found a link between a woman’s 30-year use of talcum powder and her ovarian cancer, but declined to award her any damages. Deane Burg brought this first lawsuit filed against Johnson & Johnson after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006.
- In February 2016, a St. Louis jury awarded $72 million to the family of Jacqueline Fox, who died from ovarian cancer at 62 years old after using talcum powder since she was a teenager. The award included $62 million in punitive damages.
- In May 2016, another St. Louis jury awarded $55 million—with $50 million in punitive damages—to a South Dakota woman who developed ovarian cancer after using talcum powder for decades.
As of October 2016, over 2,000 individual lawsuits had been filed against Johnson & Johnson, including at least two class action lawsuits. In addition, women who have discovered the correlation between their use of talcum products and their ovarian cancer continue to file lawsuits against this pharmaceutical company.
Why You Need an Attorney If You Developed Ovarian Cancer From Talcum Powder Use
If you suspect your ovarian cancer was caused by long-term use of talcum powder, you need an experienced attorney to help you prove your case and negotiate your settlement. These cases are extremely complex, and Johnson & Johnson is aggressively fighting against paying victims the compensation they deserve. The experienced legal team at Christopher J. Hudson, LLC, is here to answer your questions and advise you on your legal options. Contact us online or call us directly at 706.863.6600 today to schedule your free case evaluation.