Talcum Powder Lawsuit

Natural talc mined out
by Pixabay
Who Can File a Lawsuit?
  • Anybody who has a history of exposure to Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder and has a diagnosis of asbestos-related cancer, caused by contact with asbestos fibers.
  • Family members of people who have died as a result of being exposed to Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder.
Recent Settlements
  • A trial in Missouri, Feb 2016 resulted in a $72 million payout to a woman
  • Eva Echeveria was awarded $417 in damages in a California court on August 2017
  • Stephen Alonzo was awarded $37 million in the trial in New Jersey on April 2018
  • California Court awarded $29.4 million to a woman as a settlement in March 2019
  • Donna Olson received a $325 million settlement in New York on May 2019

Johnson & Johnson’s Talcum Baby Powder has been in use for decades and was, for the most part, mothers’ first choice of talcum powder for their children, be it newborns or infants. Used to prevent diaper rash in babies, as a spray, or just as a freshener because of the distinct pleasant smell of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder, talcum powder became a common household item and was used on both children and adults. It is widely used in a lot of skincare and cosmetic items, such as colored, powdered blush, antiperspirants, and soaps.

Johnson and Johnson’s, a renowned brand with many skincare and cosmetic variants in their product lines, introduced its talc-based baby powder in 1894, and from there on out, the powder gained much popularity, with other brands coming out with the same powders made of crushed talc. The main ingredient in Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder is talc. Talc is basically hydrated magnesium silicate, a naturally occurring mineral, which has many uses in various industries such as paper, plastic, rubber, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. Talc is a stable, odorless, and chemically inert substance, making it an excellent ingredient in a lot of production processes. When ground to a fine powder form, this talcum powder can be used to make baby powder.

Although talc had been declared safe for use, and the form used in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics industry is of the highest grade, mined from a few specified, approved locations, in recent years, people started accusing Johnson & Johnson of causing ovarian cancer in women. The culprit was determined to be asbestos, a common contaminant found with talcum and a known carcinogen – any level of exposure to asbestos is considered harmful.

Johnson & Johnson continued claiming that their baby powders are safe for use. However, nearly 14,000 women came forward and sued the company for causing ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. While Johnson & Johnson has had mixed results in their trials, there is no doubt that asbestos is a known cause of ovarian cancer.

How Does Talc / Asbestos Work?

Some people prefer to steer clear of talcum-based powders altogether and use baby powders that are made with cornstarch. Pure talcum powder itself is not a harmful ingredient in baby powders; the ingredient that talc is laced with is the root cause of ovarian cancer. Asbestos is found near talc beneath the earth’s surface, and the talc has to go through rigorous purification processes to ensure that there is no asbestos contamination before being used in the production and manufacturing of products that are going to be used by the end consumer.

The safety of talcum powder has been called into question often over the years, and as a consequence, the FDA introduced new laws in 1973, stating that all talc must be thoroughly tested to ensure that it is asbestos-free. These same standards and rules apply today, but despite that, many lawsuits have been filed against Johnson and Johnson for using contaminated talcum in their baby powders. Upon checking the main mining site in Vermont, where Johnson & Johnson source their talc from, there were trace amounts of two types of asbestos found.

Asbestos is the name given to a group of six naturally occurring, heat-resistant, silicate minerals, and exposure to any of these types is known to cause several types of cancers. Cancers caused by asbestos include mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and laryngeal cancer.

Asbestos is generally injurious when the microscopic asbestos fibers are inhaled or swallowed. Since the body cannot digest these fibers, nor can it expel them, long-term exposure can cause the fibers to cause inflammation and genetic changes, which can eventually lead to asbestos-related cancers.

Who Is at Risk of Exposure?

Anybody who accidentally inhales or swallows asbestos-laced talcum powder is at risk of developing mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. The chain of people who are exposed to the toxin starts from the miners on the site to the babies and mothers at the other end of the chain.

Since talcum powder is used in several industries, workers in these industries are also exposed to the substance and are most likely to develop asbestos-related cancers. These workers include farmers, construction workers, employees involved in paper-making, and plastic making. The World Health Organization claims that 125 million people die of cancer caused by asbestos exposure in their occupational capacity.

Johnson and Johnson baby powder’s end consumers and users are mostly children. It is these children and their parents that are largely affected by the talcum powder particles and fumes. Over 12,000 of the lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson have been brought by women who are suffering from ovarian cancer today due to their use of talcum baby powder in the past. People who are directly exposed to and affected by Johnson and Johnson’s inefficient purification standards of the talcum powder they use in their baby powders include:

  • Miners: Miners contracted or employed by Johnson & Johnson are exposed to vast amounts of impure talc, and are at great risk of developing malignant mesothelioma and other cancers. The WHO claims that exposure to asbestos is one of the top few causes of occupational deaths.
  • Manufacturers: Employees working in Johnson & Johnson factories, involved in or in close proximity to the powdering, perfuming, and packaging of talcum powder are also at a huge risk of developing cancer if proper safety equipment and masks are not provided to prevent the tiny powdered particles from entering their noses and mouths.
  • Parents: Families and parents of children are also exposed to the asbestos in talcum powder as they apply it on to their children’s bodies. Some of the powder that rises up during application gets accidentally inhaled or swallowed without parents and families even realizing it. This is especially true in an unventilated room, where the powder particles linger in the air as they have nowhere else to go.
  • Children: Research suggests that children are at greater risk of developing asbestos-related illnesses when they reach adulthood. Babies and children can breathe in the tiny particles of the powder as it is being applied to them by their parents. The signs of cancer may be apparent in the later years of their lives.
Dangers of Exposure to Asbestos

Asbestos cancers are a group of cancers that occur as a result of exposure to asbestos. These cancers include:

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare but deadly cancer that has no known cure. Medication can help improve and lengthen the lives of patients, so diagnosis at an early stage is necessary. Mesothelioma is a cancer that originates in the mesothelium (the tissue lining) of the lungs or abdomen. It can also build up in the heart or testicles and can spread aggressively. The only known cause of mesothelioma is inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers.

Ovarian Cancer

The ovaries are the female reproductive glands, responsible for producing ova, or eggs. When abnormal cell growth and multiplication in the ovaries start to occur, it results in the occurrence of ovarian cancers, which then starts to spread. Unfortunately, many women do not detect ovarian cancer until its later stages because of its subtle symptoms that can be written off as mere anomalies. Not detecting the cancer early on can prove to be fatal, and it is in most cases.

Lung Cancer

While smoking cigarettes still remains the number one cause of lung cancer, 4% of lung cancer cases are a result of asbestos exposure. Smoking also intensifies and increases the risk of cancer development after asbestos exposure.

Laryngeal Cancer

This is the cancer of the voice box. Inhaled asbestos can get stuck in the voice box, on its way into the lungs. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can make the cancer worse.

Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer and Mesothelioma

Symptoms of asbestos-related illnesses can take decades to manifest. No amount of exposure is safe, and thus, even the tiniest exposure to asbestos fibers can prove to be deadly. Among the asbestos-related cancers listed above, the two common ones caused by Johnson & Johnson’s talcum baby powder include ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

One of the major diseases associated with asbestos exposure is mesothelioma, which is deadly if not recognized at an early stage. If you have been an avid user of Johnson & Johnson baby powder or have been exposed to asbestos in any other situation, you need to be on the lookout for these symptoms.

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Fluid buildup
  • Loss of appetite
  • Night sweats
  • Pain in the affected area

The majority of the women who brought forth the talcum powder lawsuits against Johnson and Johnson accused them that their contaminated baby powder causes ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is a tricky cancer because it is hard to detect in its early stages. According to the American Cancer Society, only 20% of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed in their early stages as the symptoms only become apparent after the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Even then, some of the symptoms can be mistaken for other non-serious conditions of the stomach and abdomen, causing women to not give it much notice until it has advanced dangerously to further stages.

If you have a history of using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder or any other asbestos-containing product, and you experience these signs, immediately schedule an appointment with a doctor to confirm a diagnosis and start treatment early.

  • Abdominal bloating, indigestion, or nausea
  • Changes in appetite, such as a loss of appetite or feeling full sooner
  • Pressure in the pelvis or lower back
  • A more frequent or urgent need to urinate, and/or constipation
  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Increased abdominal girth
  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Changes in menstruation

Identifying the signs and getting an early diagnosis is crucial in fighting any form of cancer. The diagnosis can also address that you’re able to try and bring a baby powder lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson if you have been exposed to the powder as a child or an adult.

Who Can File a Baby Powder Cancer Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson?

Any of the class of people mentioned above who have a history of exposure to Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder and have a diagnosis of cancer caused by contact with asbestos fibers is eligible to try to file a talcum powder lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson.

Since all levels of asbestos exposure are harmful, if you have been exposed at any point in life, and have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related cancer due to exposure to Johnson and Johnson’s talcum powder, you can file a claim against Johnson & Johnson and try to receive your due rights in compensation.

At Frankl & Kominsky, our experienced lawyers will help you try to fight the case against giant corporations like Johnson & Johnson and pursue compensation for the pain and suffering you’ve had to go through because of their failure to warn people and comply by the law and standards of talcum purification.

Take action timely, though, as the Statutes of Limitations in your state might bar you from filing the case if it is too late.

How Long Do I Have to File a Talcum Powder Lawsuit?

Any person who has developed mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, or any other asbestos-related cancer whose cause can be traced back to Johnson & Johnson baby talcum powder has a short window to file a talcum powder lawsuit against the manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or ovarian cancer by a doctor, caused as a consequence of inhaling or ingesting Johnson & Johnson’s impure talcum powder, contact an experienced attorney for guidance.

Make sure that you file your lawsuit within the period specified in the statute of limitations. State laws have prescribed time periods called the Statute of Limitations within which parties can initiate legal proceedings.

The Statute of Limitations to file a lawsuit will vary from state-to-state. If you have any questions regarding the Statute of Limitations, be sure to speak with your attorney for legal guidance.

How Many Lawsuits Have Been Filed Against Johnson & Johnson?

Around 12000 cases against Johnson & Johnson are still awaiting trial in the US alone. A substantial number of the cases heard have been successful, and the plaintiffs have been awarded money in compensatory damages.

Some of the more popular cases from the courtroom include:

Missouri, Feb 2016
One of the first talcum powder lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson was brought by a woman who had developed ovarian cancer as a result of prolonged usage and exposure to Johnson & Johnson’s talcum baby powder. The verdict was in her favor, and the court ruled that Johnson & Johnson must pay $10 million to compensate for the harm caused to her and a further $62 million for not including a warning to people that made clear the potential harm that could come from using Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder.

California, August 2017
In Los Angeles, Eva Echeveria claimed that Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder caused her to develop ovarian cancer as she had been using a powder for a long time. The court granted her $417 million in punitive and compensatory damages. This amount was awarded to reprimand Johnson & Johnson for failing to warn users of the risks associated with the product and to make up for the pain and medical bills of the plaintiff.

New Jersey, April 2018
In 2018, Banker Stephen Alonzo brought a talcum powder lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and was able to prove that there are traces of asbestos in the baby powder that caused him to develop mesothelioma. The plaintiff was awarded $37 million in compensatory and consortium charges.

California, March 2019
A woman diagnosed with mesothelioma filed a Johnson & Johnson talc lawsuit and won $29.4 million in return for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and compensation to her family. The jurors again found Johnson & Johnson guilty of failing to warn people of the asbestos laced talcum powder in the market.

New York, May 2019
Donna Olson, a mesothelioma patient, brought a claim against Johnson & Johnson, claiming that the company had known for years about the asbestos present in its baby powder but failed to warn consumers. Donna was awarded $325 million in punitive and compensatory damages.

Despite cases where the victims and their lawyers have successfully proven the direct link of Johnson & Johnson’s contaminated talcum powder to be the cause of their cancers, Johnson & Johnson refuses to accept it and maintains that Johnson & Johnson talcum powder is completely safe for use and free of any carcinogens.

Hire a Lawyer to File a Johnson and Johnson Talc Lawsuit

At Frankl & Kominsky, our seasoned attorneys have recovered more than $75 million in accident and injury settlements. If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, or any other asbestos-related cancer after being exposed to Johnson & Johnson’s talcum baby powder, we can try to help you recover compensation for past and future medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering and special damages. 

Frankl & Kominsky offers a free initial consultation, where our lawyers try to assess your case and offer guidance and advice. We also offer a contingency fee arrangement.

At Frankl & Kominsky we strive to get you fairly compensated if you have been affected and suffered through sickness and disease at the hands of the harmful talcum powder by Johnson & Johnson.

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