Harmed by Talcum Powder? Understand Your Rights

Harmed by Talcum Powder? Understand Your Rights

Numerous studies have indicated a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer among women who use the powder in and around their genital area via products like sanitary napkins, condoms, and diaphragms.  

If you or a loved one has used a talcum powder product and developed cancer, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation. Keep reading to learn more about your rights and find out how the team at Atkins and Markoff can help you. 

Understanding the Link Between Talcum Powder and Cancer

Talcum powder is derived from the mineral talc, which consists of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. Since talcum powder absorbs moisture, manufacturers tend to use it in cosmetic products that are designed to keep skin dry, including Gold Bond, Shower-to-Shower, and various Johnson & Johnson products. 

Talc is frequently mined in areas near asbestos deposits, which could lead to hazardous contamination. Although federal law bans asbestos in all modern products, many consumers and watch groups believe that asbestos still exists in many cosmetic products and poses a health risk to consumers. Asbestos contamination is one possible explanation for why talcum powder could cause cancer, but scientists are still investigating this theory. 

In 1982, a physician at Harvard first discovered the potential link between talcum products and certain cancers. He published his findings and urged Johnson & Johnson to pause sales of talc-based products, but they refused. 

Since then, there have been at least 22 studies and nearly 40 peer-reviewed papers published in medical journals that support the original finding. However, Johnson & Johnson still refuses to place warning labels on their talc-based merchandise, which has led to high-profile lawsuits against the company. 

During the mid-1990s, a Johnson & Johnson medical consultant wrote an internal memo which said that “anybody who denies the risk between using hygienic talc and ovarian cancer is denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.” This memo later went public and caused a significant outcry. Still, to this day, Johnson & Johnson maintains their talc-based products are safe, and they refuse to place adequate warning labels on them.  

For attorneys, the question isn’t whether talcum products cause cancer — that’s a matter for scientists and physicians to continue investigating. From a legal standpoint, the question is: if talcum powder potentially causes cancer, why does Johnson & Johnson (and other companies like them) keep callously refusing to warn their customers about the possible health risks associated with products that contain talcum powder? 

Talcum Powder Continues to Generate Lawsuits

For now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it considers talc safe for use in cosmetic and hygienic products, and the debate within the scientific and medical communities regarding the safety of talc-related products remains unresolved. Still, people who say they developed cancer after using talcum powder products have filed thousands of lawsuits across the United States. Some of these lawsuits have already concluded with massive verdicts in favor of plaintiffs and even larger punitive damages against the companies who sell talc-based products. 

According to Drugwatch, Johnson & Johnson is currently facing 9,000 pending talcum powder lawsuits in four different states as of April 2018, and several recent cases have awarded plaintiffs significant compensation. 

In July of 2018, a jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay nearly $4.7 billion in damages at the end of a trial over cases of talcum powder-related cancer. The 22 plaintiffs in the case alleged that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products contained asbestos and were improperly labeled, which resulted in the victims developing ovarian cancer. The final jury verdict contained $4.14 billion in punitive damages and $550 million to address the losses that the plaintiffs and their families suffered. 

Other cases have faced significant challenges. In a controversial 2017 decision, a judge in California dismissed a $417 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson. In this case, the plaintiff claimed the company failed to adequately warn her that their talc-based products could cause ovarian cancer. Two months after a jury awarded the plaintiff $70 million in compensatory damages and ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $347 million in punitive damages, Judge Maren Nelson reversed the verdict and awarded Johnson & Johnson a new trial. The judge cited insufficient errors and jury misconduct, arguing these issues led to excessive damages. Currently, the plaintiff and her legal team are working on their appeal.  

When companies manufacture and sell products they know are potentially harmful and conceal the truth from the public, they deserve to be held accountable for their actions. This means that despite the ongoing scientific debate over the hazardous nature of talcum powder in hygienic and cosmetic products, Johnson & Johnson and their contemporaries are at least aware of a potential link between certain cancers and their products. Therefore, they could be held liable for failing to warn consumers about the possible risk. And at least so far, some juries have agreed. 

Atkins & Markoff: Fighting for Talcum Powder Victims in Oklahoma

If you or someone you love developed ovarian cancer and you believe exposure to talc-based products played a role, please contact Atkins and Markoff to schedule your free consultation. During your consultation, we’ll listen to your story and help you understand your legal options at no cost to you. Keep in mind that the statute of limitations to file a talc-related lawsuit in Oklahoma is two years from the initial cancer diagnosis, so don’t wait — reach out today and get help from our attorneys before it’s too late. 

If your loved one has already passed away, your family could still receive damages and hold the parties who caused the death accountable by filing a wrongful death claim. Just contact us for help and we’ll explain your options. 

At Atkins and Markoff, we have the experience and resources to hold corporations like Johnson & Johnson accountable when their products harm consumers. To schedule your free consultation with an experienced attorney from our team, call (405) 607-8757 or complete our simple, easy online contact form. We handle all personal injury cases on a “no-recovery, no-fee” basis, which means that you’ll never have to worry about how to pay for our services if we’re able to take your case. 

References 

Bellon, T., & Raymond, N. (2017, October 20). California judge tosses $417 million talc cancer verdict against Johnson & Johnson. Reuters. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-johnson-johnson-cancer-lawsuit/california-judge-tosses-417-million-talc-cancer-verdict-against-johnson-johnson-idUSKBN1CQ003 

Hsu, T. (2018, July 12). Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $4.7 billion in baby powder lawsuit. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/12/business/johnson-johnson-talcum-powder.html 

Llamas, M. (2018). Talcum powder lawsuits. Drugwatch. Retrieved from https://www.drugwatch.com/talcum-powder/lawsuits/ 

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.