Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits Over Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Mount in N.J.
Amid mounting concerns about the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, and two recent landmark verdicts that have gained national media attention, the number of Johnson’s Baby Powder lawsuits and Shower-to-Shower lawsuits filed in the New Jersey state court system has increased sharply over the past few months.
Johnson & Johnson has been facing talcum powder lawsuits for years, with a North Dakota jury finding that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn women about the ovarian cancer risks in 2013. However, more and more women have learned about the potential problems linked to Johnson’s Baby Powder, Shower-to-Shower and other talc-based powders since a St. Louis jury awarded $72 million in February, to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer. That was followed by a second verdict of $55 million in a talc ovarian cancer case earlier this month, involving a woman who developed cancer after using talcum powder for feminine hygiene for decades.
While talcum powder lawsuits pending in New Jersey state court have been filed as early as January 2014, a recent case report (PDF) released last week suggests that more than 20% of all cases now pending in the state have been filed since late February 2016, as media attention about Johnson & Johnson’s failure to warn women has increased in the wake of the recent verdicts.
In addition to the cases pending in New Jersey state court, about 2,000 other claims are pending in Missouri and other state court systems. Many legal experts have suggested that these cases are likely only the “tip of the iceberg” for Johnson & Johnson, and it is expected that thousands of additional claims will be brought in the coming months and years as talcum powder cancer lawyers continue to review and file claims nationwide.
Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Risks Ignored by Johnson & Johnson
While talcum 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”.
A number of studies have indicated that talcum powder can increase the risk of ovarian cancer when applied to a woman’s genitals. At least one study even found particles of talc at the center of ovarian tumors.
Despite the findings, Johnson & Johnson has refused to provide warnings for women using their products about the link between talc and ovarian cancer, apparently doubling down on the decision to ignore the potential risk for decades.
Evidence presented at both recent trials included company documents that suggested Johnson & Johnson was aware of the potential link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer since the 1970s. However, even as recently as 1992, 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 talcum powder ovarian cancer settlements are not reached to resolve individual claims brought by women and families throughout the U.S.
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