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Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits

We are also accepting related cases of individuals who developed mesothelioma after using talcum powder. 

Talcum powder lawsuits are being filed by women who claim they developed ovarian cancer because the powder they used was contaminated with asbestos. Evidence suggests that using talcum powder, or “baby powder,” in her genital area increases a woman’s chance of developing ovarian cancer. It further indicates that the longer a woman used talcum powder in her genital area, the more likely she is to develop ovarian cancer.

Trustwell Law is accepting ovarian cancer lawsuits. If you or a loved one used talcum powder in your genital area and have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, contact us. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost work, and pain and suffering.

Our experienced attorneys take a personalized, compassionate approach. We cut through the legalese and partner with our clients. We also have access to the expertise, resources, and manpower to fully investigate each case and fight for and with our clients to get the justice they deserve.

You pay nothing unless we win your case. Call us at 202-914-1454 or submit your case details online and someone will contact you shortly.

Ovarian Cancer Statistics

The American Cancer Society estimated that about 22,240 women in the U.S. would be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2018. On average, a woman’s overall risk of developing ovarian cancer is about 1 in 75. That’s a bit over 1 percent. To put that in perspective, breast cancer, the most common cancer in women, carries a 12% lifetime risk. However, there is no recommended screening test for ovarian cancer, so ovarian cancer, unlike breast cancer, is less likely to be diagnosed early.

In 2017, there were more than 20,000 new cases of ovarian cancer and more than 14,000 deaths from ovarian cancer. When ovarian cancer is diagnosed in its early stages, there is a 93 percent chance a woman will survive for at least five years after her diagnosis. But if the cancer has spread to other parts of her body, the five-year survival rate drops to about 30 percent.

Ovarian Cancer and Talcum Powder

A review of research studies involving thousands of women indicates that women who have habitually used talcum or talc-based baby powder in their genital areas are approximately 30 percent more likely to receive an ovarian cancer diagnosis than women who have not used powder in that way. This increases a woman’s lifetime chance of developing ovarian cancer from about 1.3 percent to 1.7 percent. While that is a relatively low risk, to put it in more concrete terms, that means that if a million women use talcum powder, then 4,000 more of them will develop ovarian cancer than would be expected if they had not used powder.

Talcum Powder and Asbestos

Talc, used in making talcum powder and some so-called baby powders, is the softest mineral on Earth. Asbestos, a term that actually refers to six different minerals, often forms in the earth next to talc. So when talc is mined, it may contain or be contaminated with asbestos.

Asbestos is a known carcinogen. It is well-documented that asbestos fibers, when breathed in or swallowed, may cause serious health issues many years after the exposure. Perhaps the most well-known lung disease associated with asbestos is mesothelioma.

Lawsuits and investigators had long speculated that Johnson & Johnson’s iconic Baby Powder and the talcum powders sold by J&J and other companies, including Shower to Shower, were contaminated with asbestos. J&J long denied it, but finally, in 2019, J&J was compelled to share thousands of pages of company memos and reports and confidential documents due to thousands of new cases being filed alleging that long-term use of J&J’s talcum powders caused plaintiffs’ ovarian cancer or mesothelioma. Those documents show that from as early as 1970 and onward to the early 2000s, Johnson & Johnson’s raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos. Furthermore, those same documents show that J&J personnel—executives, scientists, doctors, attorneys—discussed and worried about how to address the contamination, but they did not disclose the contamination to regulators or the public.

A Reuters’ investigation found the earliest mention of contaminated J&J talc occurred in reports compiled in 1957 and 1958 by a lab consulting with J&J. But in 1976, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was evaluating limits on asbestos in cosmetic talc products, J&J assured them that no asbestos was found in any sample of talc they tested that was produced from December 1972 to October 1973. They neglected to tell the agency that three tests conducted from 1972 to 1975 by three independent laboratories had found asbestos in J&J’s talc. In one report, in fact, the laboratory stated that the levels of asbestos found were “rather high.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) and other organizations and experts do not recognize any safe level of asbestos exposure.

Results of Ovarian Cancer Talcum Powder Lawsuits

To date, there have been many successful lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson by women who used talcum powder on their genital area for years and developed ovarian cancer. Awards have been as high as $750 million to a single plaintiff, in New Jersey. While the judge has said she will lower the amount of damages the jury awarded in that case, it is, to date, the highest award given to an individual. J&J has appealed.

One J&J appeal resolved in June 2020. The three-judge Missouri appeals court panel unanimously upheld the verdict against J&J, although they did reduce the award by more than half—to a total remaining award of $2.1 billion for the 20+ plaintiffs in that case. In announcing their findings, the court said, “A reasonable inference from all this evidence is that, motivated by profits, defendants disregarded the safety of consumers despite their knowledge the talc in their products caused ovarian cancer.”

There are still thousands of outstanding suits against Johnson & Johnson and as well as other talcum powder manufacturers. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported that as of the first quarter 2020, J&J was already facing 19,000 suits in the U.S. from plaintiffs who claim J&J’s powder caused their ovarian cancer or mesothelioma.

Johnson & Johnson has announced that it will stop selling its talc baby powder in the U.S. and Canada. It will continue to sell its cornstarch-based powder products.

 

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