Johnson & Johnson, as well as other major distributors of talcum powder, have been hit with a barrage of lawsuits claiming that customers have gotten various types of cancer after using their product. While talcum powder is itself harmless, talcum is mined in areas that are near asbestos. Concerns have been raised that the mining process does not filter out the asbestos entirely and this has resulted in various types of cancer, ovarian cancer in particular. Below, we’ll take a look at talcum powder lawsuits and how to know whether or not you have a claim.
Medical Science and Talcum Powder Cancer
Medical researchers remain skeptical concerning the link between talcum powder and various forms of cancer. The best evidence to date shows that talc particles were found in ovarian tumors. Additionally, asbestos is very commonly found in places where talcum is mined. Based on these two facts, many are claiming that their kind of cancer could be linked to talcum use.
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Manufacturers of talcum-based products maintain that their products are completely safe. It’s also true that not all talcum mining sites risk asbestos contamination, but those that do can cause cancer. There is currently no government mandate to test the talcum powder for asbestos contamination before it enters the stream of commerce. That does not, however, mean that the companies that produce talcum powder are not responsible for putting toxic substances into the stream of commerce. It means that the only way to get justice is by filing a lawsuit against the company that produced the talcum powder.
Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
Over 6,600 individuals have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and other major corporations that mine and distribute baby powder and other talcum-based products. The vast majority of these claims are women who have reported ovarian cancer after years of using baby powder on their genitals.
There are two basic claims that are being made in these cases. The first is that long-term use of talcum powder on the genitals can cause ovarian cancer. The second claim involves the potential for asbestos particles that have contaminated the baby powder to cause cancer. In April of 2018, Johnson & Johnson, along with other companies, was found guilty of selling products contaminated with asbestos. They were ordered to pay $37 million as a result of the verdict.
Does Baby Powder Cause Cancer?
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There is no scientific reason to think that baby powder itself is a carcinogen. However, a study done in 2016 showed that women who used baby powder on their genitals had a 33% greater risk of developing ovarian cancer than those that didn’t. Scientifically, that study has come under scrutiny for its reliance on data gathered from personal interviews.
However, a second 2018 study confirmed that there was a statistically significant risk of ovarian cancer for women who used talcum powder on their genitals.
These studies, while not the smoking gun that plaintiffs hoped they would be, do seem to indicate that talcum use on the genitals is a risk factor for ovarian cancer.
Cases Against Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson is currently fending off over 14,000 lawsuits related to their baby powder. Roughly 11,000 of these claims are related to ovarian cancer. These lawsuits have alternatively left patients with multi-million-dollar verdicts or been rejected outright by juries.
One of the more recent verdicts involved a claim that a plaintiff contracted mesothelioma from using baby powder. In this case, the jury found that the plaintiff had not met their burden of proof and found in favor of Johnson & Johnson. Johnson & Johnson has managed to win some of the lawsuits brought on behalf of patients, but a year earlier, they lost a $4.7 billion verdict brought on behalf of 9,000 patients.
While medical researchers are unwilling to commit to a strong stand against talcum products, they do offer several recommendations for other products on the market. These include corn starch, tapioca starch, oat flour, baking soda, and zinc-based diaper rash creams.
Failure to Warn Lawsuits
In order to prove that a defendant has committed negligence by placing a dangerous or defective product into the stream of commerce, a personal injury attorney must show that the product is intrinsically dangerous, had a manufacturing defect, or that the company that produced the product failed to warn customers about a serious danger.
In this case, plaintiffs are claiming that Johnson & Johnson knew that there was a link between certain types of cancer and talcum powder years before and neglected to inform consumers about the intrinsic risk. Studies linking the product to ovarian cancer have been around since the 70s.
Most U.S. health organizations recognize that there is a weak, but measurable, link between talcum usage and ovarian cancer. It is also widely recognized that talcum mining sites can become contaminated with asbestos if the company does not exercise the utmost care during the mining and refining process. However, since the debate concerning talcum powder is ongoing, most U.S. consumer watchdog agencies have not taken a stand one way or the other.
On the other hand, the use of talcum in cosmetic products has been banned throughout Europe amid fears that talcum is a risk factor in developing these cancers.
How the Roger Ghai Law Offices Can Help
If you’ve used talcum powder religiously for years and have suddenly been diagnosed with mesothelioma or ovarian cancer, the attorneys at the Roger Ghai Law Offices will study your claims and help you file a lawsuit against the company that mined the talcum powder and then let it enter the stream of commerce.
It’s important to act quickly. Our attorneys will meet with your doctors, go over your medical records, and help build a case alleging that talcum powder usage is the direct or proximate cause of your medical problems.
The Roger Ghai Law Offices has managed several major product liability claims and has the research and expertise to give your lawsuit a satisfactory ending. Give us a call or talk to us online to set up a free consultation today.