Lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson have increased exponentially due to the harmful risks associated with use of the company’s talc-based products. Women who use talcum powder have a 20-30% increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. In fact, there are currently more than 5,500 alleged ovarian cancer claims pending against Johnson & Johnson. In August, a jury delivered the largest talcum powder verdict in history, $417 million, against Johnson & Johnson, including $347 million in punitive damages for knowingly selling talc-based baby powder that causes ovarian cancer.
In addition to the dangers of developing ovarian cancer, it is also known that Johnson & Johnson, and other talc-based hygiene product manufacturers, exposed consumers to asbestos through Johnson’s Baby Powder, Shower to Shower and similar talc products. Most talc mines are heavily contaminated with asbestos and as a result, most “talc” containing products also contain asbestos. Both talc and asbestos are known to cause cancers, and one of the most common forms of cancer caused by asbestos is mesothelioma.
According to a recent mesothelioma lawsuit filed in California, Johnson & Johnson knowingly withheld information from consumers about the dangers of its cosmetic talc products, including that both the talc and the asbestos contaminants were carcinogenic.
In early October, the judge presiding over the most recent Johnson & Johnson mesothelioma case declared a mistrial due to the fact that ovarian cancer was mentioned during plaintiff’s testimony, which the judge specifically prohibited prior to trial. Because of the mistrial, a new jury had to be selected. Opening statements on the new trial began this week.
Johnson & Johnson maintains that their products never contained asbestos (because they conveniently used microscopes not powerful enough to see asbestos) and are not carcinogenic. Studies over the years have shown that many of the leading brands of talcum powder-based products did (and often still do) contain asbestos and that the asbestos fibers are inhaled along with the talc when using the product as directed.
This is the first case against Johnson & Johnson for asbestos in its talc products causing mesothelioma. However, previous cases against other companies have brought successful verdicts. In 2014, a lawsuit against Colgate-Palmolive resulted in a $13 million verdict. A California jury found that the company’s Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder contained asbestos and the company failed to warn consumers about its product and that it caused mesothelioma.
The legal industry and millions of women who regularly used talcum powder without knowing the risks will be watching the Johnson & Johnson lawsuit closely.
The manufacturers of talc products need to be held accountable for their negligence, their failure to warn consumers of the associated dangers, and more. If you or a loved one has developed ovarian cancer or mesothelioma due to the use of a talcum powder product, do not hesitate to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys today.