Talcum powder lawsuits, litigation starts
There are roughly 1,200 talcum powder lawsuits pending in state courts in Missouri and New Jersey. With two verdicts handed down in favor of the plaintiffs it remains to be seen if Johnson & Johnson will settle the remaining lawsuits. Claims and settlements would be in the multi-millions.
New talcum powder cases are still being filed against Johnson & Johnson. The lawsuits allege Johnson & Johnson knew of the risks associated with its talc-based products but failed to warn consumers.
If you or someone you love used talcum powder or Shower to Shower for feminine care and were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you may be entitled to compensation. With some lawsuits already being decided, it is imperative that you act now.
The lawyers and attorneys at Hood National Law Group have been holding companies like Johnson & Johnson responsible for pain and suffering they’ve caused consumers for decades. Call the Hood National Law Group today at 1-800-214-1010 for a free initial consultation or use the form on the right-hand side of the page.
Jury agrees with numerous studies: talcum powder can cause cancer
Johnson & Johnson lost a second court battle over its talc-based products in a St. Louis courtroom Monday. The company was told to pay $55 million to a woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using its talcum powder for decades.
As reported by Law 360, Gloria Ristesund, 62, was awarded $5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages. The verdict came after a four-week trial and one day of deliberations. Jurors found J&J liable for product liability claims but not conspiracy claims leveled against it in the lawsuit.
This is J&J’s second court defeat this year over its talc-based products: baby powder and Shower to Shower. In February, J&J was ordered to pay $72 million to a woman who died of ovarian cancer in 2015.
Both cases claimed the talc-based products caused ovarian cancer, and hundreds of similar cases are currently pending in Missouri and New Jersey state courts.
Jere Beasley, whose law firm represented Ristesund in court, said after Monday’s verdict that it was time for J&J to end the litigation and settle the remaining cases, according to a Reuters report.
Talc-based products, including baby powder and Shower to Shower, when used on the genitals have been linked to a possible increased risk of ovarian cancer. Though its use in feminine care has decreased over the years, women have been using baby powder on sanitary napkins, their underwear or diaphragms for decades.
Now, some studies are showing that using baby powder in this way could increase a woman’s risk for the deadliest of all gynecological cancers.
What is talc?
Talc is a naturally occurring clay mineral made up primarily of magnesium, silicon and oxygen. In powder form, talc is extremely soft and absorbs moisture well. Talc is widely used in cosmetics, including powdered makeup, and is the main ingredient in baby powder (also called talcum powder).
Some talc can contain asbestos, a natural substance known to cause cancer when inhaled. Since the 1970s, consumer products containing talc have been asbestos-free. Before asbestos was banned from most consumer products, however, it may have been found in products like baby powder.
Talcum powder and ovarian cancer: is there a link?
Research has shown that talc particles can migrate to the ovaries when a woman uses talcum powder near her genitals. But does that increase her risk for ovarian cancer?
The American Cancer Society (ACS) says the findings of whether or not talcum powder leads to an increased risk of ovarian cancer are mixed.
While the ACS says it is not clear if products containing talcum powder increase cancer risk, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, says the use of talc-based body powder is “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
But what do the studies say?
Case-controlled studies show ovarian cancer risk
Nearly two dozen case-controlled studies have shown an increased risk for ovarian cancer after using talc-based products on the genitals.
A review of those 23 case-controlled studies concluded the use of talc increased ovarian cancer risk between 30 and 60 percent. The review, published in the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer in May 2015 by R. Ness said the “elimination of talc use could protect more than one-quarter or more of women who develop ovarian cancer.”
An analysis published in 2014 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute by Houghton et al. criticized the findings of case-controlled studies. The review said participants may be susceptible to recall bias — overestimating their previous use of talcum powder because they have already been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
The analysis suggested prospective cohort studies would eliminate potential recall bias, and evaluated the only two cohort studies published to date: the Nurse’s Health Study and the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study.
The Women’s Health Initiative study did not find an increased risk for ovarian cancer after using talcum powder. The Nurse’s Health Study also did not find an increased risk except for one specific type of ovarian cancer.
The study found a 40 percent increased risk for serous invasive ovarian cancer. Serous ovarian cancer is one of the most common forms of ovarian cancer. In the Nurse’s Health study, serous invasive ovarian cancer comprised 86 percent of serous ovarian cancers in the cohort.
Research points to inflammation as risk factor for ovarian cancer
Ovarian cancer kills about 14,000 women each year in the United States. Research suggests that inflammation plays an important role in the development of ovarian cancer.
A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2014 by Wentzensen et al. linked talc to chronic inflammation of the ovaries.
“Direct physical contact of talc with [the lining of the ovaries] may cause chronic inflammation,” wrote the study authors.
The study suggests inflammation caused by talc particles on the ovaries could contribute to the development of ovarian cancer, as inflammation is a generally accepted risk factor for ovarian cancer.
Consumers react to ovarian cancer risk
Cosmetic talc use decreased substantially in the United States between 1984 and 2004, according the Wentzensen study. While the reasons are not clear, the authors continued, it is possible that consumers are already reacting to reports of potential harms.
The R. Ness study iterated the same sentiment, remaking several, but not all, baby powder manufacturers have already replaced talc with corn starch in their products. Even Johnson & Johnson sells a version of baby powder made from cornstarch instead of talc.
Talcum powder lawsuit attorneys & lawyers page updated on May 5, 2016.