There are more than 9,000 talcum-powder lawsuits across the United States.  These lawsuits are aimed at companies like Johnson & Johnson as well as companies responsible for mining talc. While only a few of these lawsuits have gone to trial, Johnson & Johnson has lost most of them.

In St. Louis, Missouri, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $4.14 billion in punitive damages and $550 million in compensatory damages to 22 women and their families who were negatively impacted by talcum-powder.  The women in these lawsuits asserted that asbestos found in the company’s talcum-containing baby powder contributed to their development of ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson plans to appeal the jury’s decision and stands firm that its products neither contain asbestos nor cause ovarian cancer.

In May 2018, another Los Angeles jury delivered a $25.7 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson.  This particular lawsuit was brought by a woman claiming that she developed mesothelioma using the company’s talcum-based baby powder. Mesothelioma is a lung cancer linked to asbestos exposure.  In fact, mostly all of the lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson were brought by women who sprinkled the company’s baby powder on their bodies for its drying and freshening effects. These plaintiffs claimed that crystals in the talc were absorbed into their bodies and caused cancer.

While there is no consensus on the safety of talc products, experts hired by the plaintiffs have testified that talc might lead to cancer because the crystals can move up the peritoneal cavity (where the ovaries are) and may trigger inflammation.  This process is believed to play an important role in the development of ovarian cancer. Numerous studies link genital talc use to ovarian cancer, but research findings have not been consistent. Despite talc itself being mined in close proximity to asbestos, since 1973 the Food and Drug Administration requires that talcum powder be free of asbestos and encourages manufacturers to take the necessary steps to avoid contamination.  

Not all litigation against Johnson & Johnson has ended successfully for the plaintiff. In October 2017, a Los Angeles superior court judge threw out a $417 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson. In that case, a woman claimed that she developed ovarian cancer after decades of using Johnson & Johnson baby powder on her perineum. Johnson & Johnson still makes a variety of baby powders with talc, although most baby powder is made with cornstarch.  The company claims that their signature powder has always been safe for use and asbestos free.

Wittmer|Linehan represents clients and their families in Sarasota who are injured as a result of a company’s negligence.  We treat each case as if it will proceed to trial. Our attorneys and staff will properly investigate and evaluate your case from the beginning to maximize your recovery under the law.  In addition, we maintain a strong network of expert consultants. Our experiences and resources will help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.