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Talcum Powder Lawsuits

Talcum Powder Litigation

Commonwealth Law Group is reviewing potential legal claims on behalf of women who developed mesothelioma and/or ovarian cancer after using talc powder or other talc products.

About the Talcum Powder Lawsuit

Since 1971, more than 20 studies have linked talcum (talc) powder to ovarian cancer, and, in 2003, an analysis of 16 of these studies found that women using talc powder were 33 percent more likely to develop ovarian cancer. It has been alleged that Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”), the maker of talc-based products, knew about the risks of ovarian cancer since at least 1982, and didn’t warn women using these products about the potential risks.

Additionally, recently unearthed information reported by The New York Times uncovered that J&J knew of a possible link of asbestos to their talc products. According to an article they published, J&J spent decades trying to hide this negative information from the public.

Can Talcum Powder Cause Cancer?

Researchers have been studying the potential link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder for decades. It is now believed that talc powder when used near the genitals, can travel to the ovaries and become embedded in ovarian tissue. Although talc is a natural mineral, it is very difficult for the body to remove the particles, and, as a result, inflammation may occur and cancerous tumors may form.

The Lancet, a medical journal, first published that talc may cause ovarian cancer in 1971. Researchers discovered that a majority of ovarian tumors had talc particles “deeply embedded” in them. Afterward, in 1982, researchers found that women using talc powder while ovulating were at a 92 percent increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. Over the next three decades, an additional 21 studies were performed on talc powder, and almost all of them found that women using these products near their genitals were at an increased risk for developing ovarian cancer.

To date, both the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute consider talc use near the genitals as a “risk factor” for ovarian cancer. Despite this possible link, Johnson & Johnson and other talcum powder manufacturers have not placed warning labels about this risk on their products.

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Talcum Powder Lawsuits FAQs

What is talc?

Talc is a soft, naturally occurring mineral made of oxygen, silicon, and magnesium. Talc is mined and processed and the resulting fine powder is used in numerous cosmetic products.

What is talc used for?

Talc appears in a wide range of products, including talcum powder (baby powder), feminine hygiene products, deodorant, lotions, and makeup. Talcum powder is known for its moisture-and-odor--absorbing properties; some women use it in their genital area. Genital exposure to talc can also occur during menstrual pad, diaphragm use, and condom use.

Why is talc harmful?

Natural talc deposits are often found near dangerous quantities of the cancer-causing mineral asbestos. Asbestos has been linked to many types of cancer, including ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, which is a disease of the lungs. Even small amounts of asbestos have the potential to cause cancer, and oftentimes diagnoses are made decades after a product containing talc was used.

Starting in the 1970s, the federal government required talc-based wares to be asbestos-free, but scientists have documented that it is difficult to comply. Additionally, there is strong evidence that companies continued to sell talc products that contained asbestos long after regulations went into effect. A recent Reuters report showed that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder contained asbestos from 1971 through the early 2000s, which exposed millions of consumers to serious risks for decades.

According to The International Journal of Gynecological Cancer, women who use talcum powder on their genital area have a 30% to 60% increased risk of cancer. Researchers believe that talc causes the disease by triggering chronic inflammation of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, and potentially suppressing cancer-fighting antibodies that occur naturally in the body.

Talc powder has also been linked to mesothelioma, a rare lung cancer. When small airborne particles enter the lungs, they can cause irritation, long-term inflammation, and eventually the formation of cancerous tumors.

Why are people filing talc lawsuits?

Thousands of people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and ovarian cancer have filed lawsuits against companies that use talc in their products. J&J has been at the epicenter of many recent lawsuits, with victims claiming that they developed cancer after using the company’s talc-based items consistently for years.

Another key aspect of the lawsuits involves prosecuting attorneys’ claims that manufacturers knew for years (in J&J’s case, for over 40 years) that their products contained asbestos. According to internal J&J documents, the company concealed this information from the public and refused to put safety warnings on its products or remove them from shelves.

How many talc lawsuits have been filed?

As of March 2019, more than 13,000 lawsuits were pending against J&J. Thousands of lawsuits are also pending against other talc product manufacturers.

Have there been any settlements or verdicts in talc cases?

Yes. There have been numerous settlements and trial verdicts against Johnson & Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, and other manufacturers for cases involving ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. As more cases come to light, as of 2019, settlements are on the rise.

The largest verdict against J&J was in July 2018, when a St. Louis jury awarded 22 ovarian cancer victims $4.6 billion after concluding that their use of the company’s baby powder caused ovarian cancer. In May 2018, $25 million was awarded to Joanne Anderson by a jury, which concluded that her mesothelioma was caused by the use of talcum powder. In June 2019, Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive were legally ordered to pay $10 million to Patricia Schmitz, who was diagnosed with terminal mesothelioma after using their talc products.

These are just a few examples of jury verdicts against these companies. From 2016 to today, manufacturers of talc products have paid hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation to victims.

How are companies responding to talc lawsuits?

Despite losing many verdicts and settlements, companies continue to claim that their products are safe and do not contain asbestos or cause cancer. They haven’t changed much, yet.

Who can file a lawsuit?

If you or someone you know was diagnosed with ovarian cancer or mesothelioma cancer after using talc-based products, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit, especially if you have a consistent history of using such products over a significant time period.

The more frequently you used the product and the longer the duration, the more likely it is that your cancer could have been caused by a product containing talc. Because statutes of limitation for filing a lawsuit vary by state (how long one has to make a claim, it is in your best interest to speak with an attorney as soon as possible after a diagnosis.

What can I recover in a talc lawsuit?

What you can recover depends on the type of lawsuit filed. For example, there is a class action lawsuit filed against Johnson & Johnson where many consumers are suing for damages related to the cost of the product. That being said, it is important to know that class action lawsuits do not cover individual health-related costs.

Alternatively, if you file an individual lawsuit, as opposed to a class action one, you may be able to receive compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical bills, and other expenses. Each case is unique, and depending on the costs of your medical bills, the symptoms you experienced, and how much work you missed because of your injury, final settlement amounts will vary.

What can an attorney help me with?

A reputable and experienced talc lawyer will ensure that your best interests are taken into account. They will make sure your case meets important deadlines, provide you with a clear understanding of your legal rights, and supply trusted expert witnesses to strengthen your claim.

Contact Commonwealth Law Group Today

Contact us today at (804) 999-9999 or by using our online form for a free consultation. Please note that someone from our legal team or one of our trusted affiliate partners may respond to your inquiry. 

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