After defending baby powder use for decades, Johnson & Johnson discontinued sales in North American. The company faces thousands of lawsuits from women who used the talcum powder product and now have deadly ovarian cancer.
About Baby Powder
Baby powder contains talcum, which is a soft, white powder developed from talc, or magnesium silicate, a mineral composed primarily of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. When it is finely ground, talc absorbs moisture and helps reduce friction. These properties make made it widely used the ingredient in cosmetics, personal hygiene products, and many other common consumer goods.
Facts about Talcum Powder
A 2013 Journal of Cancer Prevention Research study showed that women who dusted their groin area with talcum powder had a 20-30% increased risk of developing ovarian cancer than women who did not use talc products. Manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson knew of these risks and still have failed to warn consumers of the danger of talc powder. They continue to market its baby powder as a safe product for use in infants and women despite this growing body of evidence linking it to ovarian cancer.
During the court case of the Estate of Jacqueline Fox v. Johnson & Johnson, internal company memos from Johnson & Johnson medical consultants surfaced. The 1997 memo stated “anyone who denies [the] risks between hygienic talc use and ovarian cancer would be publicly perceived in the same light as those who denied a link between smoking cigarettes and cancer. Denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.”
Johnson & Johnson Knew the Dangers
Johnson & Johnson first learned of asbestos in talc since 1972. Many studies confirmed it and notified the company. Instead of discontinuing the product, the company rushed to perform their own studies to prove the experts wrong. Every expert showed asbestos, therefore, Johnson and Johnson created their own studies. However, they skewed the results. There wasn’t even enough in the sample to be an effective test. Plus, the study never used an electron microscope, which is the gold standard of testing.
Baby Powder Discontinued
Johnson & Johnson announced that all remaining bottles could be sold until retailers ran out of the product. However, it will not be producing more. Baby powder with just cornstarch will still be available. However, the company will still sell talc-based baby powder in other regions.
Johnson & Johnson’s talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year. Also, J & J recalled 33,000 bottles of baby powder in October after the FDA discovered evidence of chrysotile asbestos in a bottle purchased from an online retailer.
Instead of owning the responsibility of the dangers of talc, the company shifted the blame to faulty testing and bad researchers. Even with the baby powder discontinued, J & J insists that they will continue to vigorously defend the product. As of April 2020, they face 19,400 lawsuits related to talc powder.
In the United States District Court of New Jersey under Judge Wolfson, the litigation is heating up. There are almost 20,000 women in the MDL. Currently, Judge Wolfson ruled on April 27, 2020, that there is enough information to support that talc powder could cause ovarian cancer. The judge would like a jury to decide. Bellwether trials are being scheduled for 2021.
Baby Powder on Trial
Five other trials questioned the link between talc and ovarian cancer. In this case, in 2007, doctors diagnosed Plaintiff Eva Echeverria with ovarian cancer. She had used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and shower products twice a day for over 40 years. This is the first California case as most were tried in St. Louis, Missouri. In all cases, the jury found that Johnson & Johnson had decades of knowledge linking talcum powder to ovarian cancer. Yet, they did not warn consumers.
During the trial, internal documents surfaced, which show Johnson & Johnson acknowledged there are safer alternatives to their products. There were also warnings from the company’s own lobbyists. They told the company of numerous studies showing a link between genital use and ovarian cancer.
A St. Louis jury awarded $110.5 million to a Virginia woman with ovarian cancer. Three other St. Louis juries came to similar conclusions. They awarded $300 million to other plaintiffs.
Types of Ovarian Cancer
The most common ovarian cancer types associated with talcum powder are Epithelial Ovarian Cancer, Primary peritoneal, Fallopian tube, this also includes:
- Serous 90%
- Clear cell
- Borderline tumors
Helping Baby Powder Victims
If baby powder use caused your ovarian cancer, you may be eligible for compensation to ease the financial and emotional burdens you are experiencing. Contact us today to set up a free consultation, during which we will listen to your story, answer any questions you may have, and discuss your legal rights and options. If you choose us to represent you, we will work with you on a contingency fee basis; this means you pay nothing until we have secured compensation for you, either through a jury verdict or settlement.