Johnson and Johnson is one of the most popular brands of health and beauty products in the world. They’re a household name for sure. Unfortunately for Johnson and Johnson, their name is now associated with some of the largest class action lawsuits in history.
Over the last few years, Johnson and Johnson has been named in several lawsuits over their talcum powder products. Plaintiffs allege that their baby powder and other products cause ovarian cancer. There are more recent claims that the powder can cause mesothelioma.
There are two main theories when it comes to liability. Plaintiffs argue that the powder contains asbestos which is a known cancer-causing agent. They also argue that using the product directly on female genitals can cause ovarian cancer.
The reason why the product can cause cancer is because of the makeup of the talc. Talc is made up of three basic ingredients: oxygen, magnesium and silicon. These ingredients aren’t what make it dangerous. The problem is that talc sometimes naturally contains asbestos which can cause cancer. When applied to women’s genital areas, the talc can cause irritation that can lead to cancer.
A Quick History of the Talcum Powder Litigation Against Johnson & Johnson
Although Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Powder has been around for over a century, people are just now becoming familiar with the issues surrounding their powder products. Experts have discovered that the talcum powder increases a woman’s chances of getting ovarian cancer by as much as 40%.
The first major trials involving the Johnson & Johnson litigation commenced in 2016. Since then, there have been a handful of large jury awards in the ovarian cancer litigation. Courts in New Jersey, Missouri and California have already handed down verdicts for over $5 billion.
For a long time, Johnson and Johnson was able to successfully defend the talcum powder lawsuits. The judgment in the recent case for over $4.7 billion was the first large judgment against Johnson and Johnson. And, the company is appealing the verdict. No money has been paid out as of yet.
The lawsuits are based on evidence that the company knew that talc contained asbestos and could cause cancer. There are actually internal documents dating back to the 1970s where Johnson & Johnson admitted that they knew their product posed risks of cancer.
Despite this evidence, and the large number of plaintiff’s who’ve been diagnosed with cancer, Johnson & Johnson continues to deny liability. Rather than settle any of their cases out of court, they have chosen to fight each one. This means that, in addition to billions in verdicts, they’ve paid millions in legal fees.
How Strong is the Evidence that Talcum Powder Causes Cancer?
You’d think that, with the number of verdicts for the plaintiffs, Johnson & Johnson would consider settling some of these cases. Despite the evidence linking their product to ovarian cancer, they still intend to fight these cases. It begs the question – how strong is the evidence that talcum powder causes cancer?
According to the National Center for Health Research, the following evidence leads to a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer:
- About 1% of all women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime
- This is much lower than the 12% of women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer
- There is no test for ovarian cancer like there is for breast cancer – it isn’t until the cancer appears that you can be diagnosed
- If the ovarian cancer is found super early, there is a 97% chance of surviving beyond 5 years
- If the cancer is not found until it has spread to other parts of your body, this rate drops to about 30%
- There is evidence that women who use talcum powder for a long period of time are 30% greater risk of developing ovarian cancer
- This means that your odds increase from about 1.3% to 1.7%
- This could potentially lead to 4,000 more ovarian cancer per year for every million women who use powder
One would think that, at some point, the attorneys for Johnson & Johnson would realize just how convincing this evidence may be. It may be in their best interest to consider settling the pending cases rather than risk additional billions in verdicts.
Contact an Experienced Talcum Powder Lawyer
If you or a loved one are suffering from cancer and think it may have been caused by talcum powder, contact a personal injury lawyer today. You want to make sure you put your trust in an experienced attorney who isn’t afraid to go up against the attorneys for Johnson & Johnson.
Call and schedule your free initial consultation today. You can sit down with an attorney and review your case. Your lawyer can even give you an idea of what your case may be worth. The consultation is free and you pay nothing you settle your case.