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A recent investigative report indicates that the company that supplied Johnson & Johnson with talc for its talcum powder products has provided ovarian cancer warnings since 2006, but Johnson & Johnson failed to put those same warnings on it’s Baby Powder, Shower-to-Shower and other talc-based powders commonly used by women for personal hygiene.
The New York Times report notes that the unidentified supplier added the warnings following a number of studies suggested talc may increase the risk of ovarian cancer, including a report by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which declared talc a possible carcinogen in 2006.
The revelation that Johnson & Johnson was being supplied with talc carrying an ovarian cancer label warning, but did not provide that same warning to women using talcum powder containing that ingredient, comes as thousands of women pursue Johnson’s Baby Powder lawsuits and Shower-to-Shower lawsuits against the company, alleging that they developed ovarian cancer following years of using the powder in their underwear or around the genitals.
So far this year, two juries have returned massive verdicts in cases brought against Johnson & Johnson for failing to provide talc ovarian cancer warnings, including one verdict of $55 million and another for $72 million. Both cases included punitive damage awards designed to punish Johnson & Johnson for their actions surrounding the marketing of talc powder for use by adult women, and decision to withhold warnings from consumers.
There are currently more than 2,000 other claims pending nationwide, and many legal experts predict that these cases are only the “tip of the iceberg” for Johnson & Johnson, as a growing number of women and families continue to consult with talc powder ovarian cancer lawyers nationwide about a potential claim.
While talc powder is most commonly associated with use as a baby powder to help prevent diaper rash and maintain smooth skin, Johnson & Johnson has promoted their products for decades as a general body powder among adult women, who were encouraged to use talcum powder after every shower and place it in their underwear to maintain “personal freshness”.
The New York Times story does not identify the supplier that carried the label warning, however Imerys Talc is mentioned as the supplier and is a co-defendant in numerous talcum powder lawsuits. The company was not held liable in either of the recent plaintiff victories against Johnson & Johnson.
Evidence presented at both recent trials included company documents that suggested Johnson & Johnson may have been aware of the potential link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer for decades. However, some documents indicate that the company specifically targeted sales towards women who were high users of talcum powder, without ever warning them of the possible cancer risks.
If additional juries respond with similar verdicts after considering the evidence, Johnson & Johnson could face substantial liability if talc powder ovarian cancer settlements are not reached to resolve individual claims brought by women and families throughout the U.S.