Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
September 2021 Update: In the latest ongoing Talc trial (this one in St. Clair County, Illinois) the trial judge held defendant Johnson & Johnson in contempt after one of the companies top executives, Dr. Susan Nichols, refused to appear in court for cross-examination after testifying for the defense. The judge struck Nicolson's testimony from the record and allow the plaintiffs to instruct to jury on what would have been established on cross-exam. But, ultimately, J&J did win the trial. The jury found that talc powder did not cause the victim's death.
July 2021 Update: The latest count of talcum powder lawsuits in the MDL class action is 34,090. This the second largest MDL class action in country today. The J&J baby powder settlement that our lawyers discuss below will reduce the number of outstanding cases. But new talc lawsuits are being filed every week.
June 2021 Update: New Supreme Court decision will likely increase settlement compensation in talcum powder lawsuit. See the update below.
May 2021 Update: Things are happening fast in the talcum powder lawsuits and there is still time to hire a lawyer and bring a claim. A huge $100 million settlement for about 1,000 ovarian cancer lawsuits has been reached between Johnson & Johnson and plaintiffs' talcum powder lawyers. More recently, J&J announced it was earmarking $4 billion to cover the anticipated cost of the talcum powder lawsuits (see more below). Our talcum powder lawyers will continue to update this page with new settlement information on the talc powder lawsuits. This page was last updated on August 26, 2021. Come back to this page for more updates.
Talc is mined from the ground like copper or gold, mostly in China. Baby power is 99% talc. Shower to shower is about 50% talc.
Approximately 24,000 women get ovarian cancer every year in the United States. Sadly, 14,000 women die a year of cancer.
As women apply talcum powder products around their genital area, specks of talcum can travel into the ovaries from the fallopian tubes. This is called transmigration These dangerous talc particles can remain lodged in a woman's ovaries for years.
It is alleged that talcum which remains trapped in a woman's ovaries leads to the growth of ovarian cancer cells. More troubling is the evidence that suggests that Johnson & Johnson was aware of peer-reviewed medical journal studies dating back 25 years ago that concluded that 10% of all ovarian cancer diagnoses per year were related to genital talc.
Take a breath and digest this. With COVID, we have become more immune to death statistics. But the allegation is that J&J knew that 1,400 women were dying of their product and similar products and did absolutely nothing. The company never told the government or the FDA. Moreover, because this is a cosmetic product, the FDA did not require proof of safety to put and keep talc on the market.
So the foundation of the Johnson & Johnson talc lawsuit is that they knew they were selling a product that contained a cancer causing agent and were aware of this for decades and put blinders on and did not warn their customers of the grave risks of the product.
Many but not all studies have found that talcum powder does increase the risk for developing ovarian cancer but as much as 20% to 30%. Are the talcum powder ovarian cancer studies perfect and unanimous? They are not. But there is increasing evidence that women should avoid talcum powder because of its link to ovarian cancer. That is the premise of the class action talcum power lawsuit.
Talcum powder's relationship with ovarian cancer is not a recent discovery. The studies date back to 1971. Despite the numerous studies over more than four decades, talcum baby powder manufacturers have deemed the research inconclusive.
More importantly, the manufacturers have not provided notice of talcum powder's very serious side effect on this feminine hygiene product. This omission has been the spark of recent litigation that has led to some stunning verdicts.
- The latest updates on the science of talcum powder lawsuits
The first talcum powder product liability lawsuit: A woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She is just 49 years old. Before her diagnosis, the woman had dusted Johnson & Johnson baby powder between her legs every day for 30 years. The baby powder contains talc as one of its ingredients.
Multiple doctors found talc particles embedded in cancerous tissues removed from the woman's body. The woman filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in South Dakota District Court. She alleged that talc from the Johnson & Johnson baby powder had caused her cancer and contended that Johnson & Johnson should have put a warning about the link between talc and ovarian cancer on its products' labels.
The court did not say that talc was the cause of the woman's cancer. However, the court said that there was enough evidence supporting the link between talc and ovarian cancer to require Johnson & Johnson to warn women about the risk. That is what these cases are about, the failure to warn of the risk that they knew about.
That is it. If J&J had warned of the dangers of ovarian cancer, our lawyers are not writing the page, these talc powder ovarian cancer lawsuits are never filed, and thousands of women would not have died of ovarian cancer.
Now to put this in context, you need to understand this next point. For over 10 years, talc was shipped to J&J with a warning that the product could cause ovarian cancer. So J&J just could have passed along the warning they were given and let women decide for themselves.
This ruling busted the door open for future talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits.
- July 2018, Missouri: $4.7 Billion Verdict (for 22 victims): A group of cases tried together results in a stunning $4.7 billion jury verdict. This landmark verdict was later reduced to a still whopping $2.1 billion.
- August 2017, California: $417 Million Verdict: A medical receptionist who developed ovarian cancer alleged her injury was caused by Johnson's Baby Powder. A Los Angeles jury awarded her $417 million. In this case, the treating doctor testified to the causal relationship between the baby powder in ovarian cancer.
- February 2016, Missouri: $72 Million Verdict: A woman dies of Stage 3 ovarian cancer at the age of 62. The woman had used Johnson & Johnson baby powder for 35 years. The woman's son brought a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. He claimed that talc contributed to his mother's cancer. He also claimed that Johnson & Johnson violated that standard of care by not putting a warning about the link between talc and ovarian cancer on its label. The jury awarded the woman's family $72 million. What is startling is that only $10 million was for actual damages. The other $62 million was for punitive damages- $1 million for every year of the woman's life.
- May 2016, Missouri: $55 Million Verdict: Very similar to the Missouri case. A woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 62. She had been using Johnson & Johnson's talc-based products for almost 40 years. She sued Johnson & Johnson and a jury awarded her $55 million. Of the payout money awarded, $5 million was in compensation and $50 million was in punitive damages. Large punitive damages awards send a loud message to J&J and its shareholders.
Not every jury has given an award. The Nora Daniels case in particular was a tough blow. But these verdict and the stunning amounts of money that were awarded resulted in an explosion of talcum powder litigation. Class action lawsuits have since been filed in California, Illinois, and Canada.
Do these verdicts mean the settlement value of your potential talcum powder lawsuit is between $55 million and $72 million? No, the expected settlements in even the best of cases will be much lower than that.
But these verdicts underscore the obvious: these baby powder cancer claims have real value. If you believe your ovarian cancer may have been caused by talc, you should contact a talc powder attorney immediately.J&J Sets Aside $4 Billion for Talc Lawsuits
In February 2021, Johnson & Johnson filed a statement with the SEC which disclosed that the company has set aside a staggering $3.9 billion to cover the anticipated cost of settling the talcum powder lawsuits. Just a few months ago J&J publicly stated that they were only planning to set aside $2 billion for the anticipated cost of settling the talcum powder litigation.
Shortly after this announcement, however, J&J suffered another setback when a court in New York affirmed a $120,000,000 verdict in a baby powder case. This came right on the heels of a massive $2,120,000,000 (yes that’s what $2 billion looks like in decimal format) verdict in a Missouri case which J&J is currently challenging on appeal.
J&J’s decision to earmark $4 billion for the talcum powder lawsuits is significant for 2 reasons. First, it gives us some idea of how much the eventual settlement value of these cases might be. Four billion dollars would be less than half as much as Bayer recently paid to settle the Roundup lawsuits, but there are more individual claims in the talcum litigation.
Second, the fact that J&J is disclosing this set aside in its SEC filing is a very strong indication that they are planning to finalize a settlement of the talcum litigation in the next 12 months.
Several scientific studies have shown that talc, the active ingredient in talcum powder products such as Baby Powder, Shower to Shower, and Talc Powder, can cause ovarian cancer in some women.
Thousands of ladies who developed ovarian cancer after extended use of talcum powder are now suing the manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, alleging that it knew about the dangers of talc and failed to warn them.
The talcum powder class action MDL lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson (and other manufacturers) are currently still ongoing. So far, over 20,000 individual talcum powder lawsuits have been filed across the country and consolidated into the Talcum Powder MDL.
The latest update on settlements was in October 2020. Johnson & Johnson announced that it has agreed to pay $100 million to settle 1,000 of these cases. This is a big deal. More bulk settlements from J&J are expected to follow.
Why settle cases for a $100,000 average settlement? J&J most likely wants to settle the weaker cases and victims who need a settlement check now. Then, they hope to publicize the settlements to decrease settlement expectations in the minds of the remaining victim and their lawyers. This has been the strategy in many other MDL class action lawsuits.
It is not too late to file your own talcum powder lawsuit. If you used regularly talcum powder products for one year or longer and you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer within the last three years, you may have a valid talcum powder lawsuit.
Although the talcum powder litigation has been going on for a long time and some cases have already settled, it is not too late to file your own case.
It is too early to accurately predict what the settlement value of talcum powder lawsuits will be. However, Johnson & Johnson recently announced that it was paying out $100,000,000 to settle a group of 1,000 cases.
Again, this works out to an average of about $100,000 per case. The value of a mass tort case rarely goes down with subsequent settlements. So the likely average settlement value of the talc cancer lawsuits that remain are probably higher.
Our law firm is currently accepting new talcum powder cases from anyone who meets the following initial criteria:
- You used a Johnson & Johnson talcum powder product (Baby Powder or Shower-to-Shower) regularly for at least one year; and
- You have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, endometroid ovarian cancer, or mesothelioma, sometime in the last 3 years.
In 2018, one of the first major talc cases went to trial in St. Louis County, Missouri. The result was a disastrous $4.7 billion verdict split between a group of 22 individual plaintiffs. The jury based its verdict on findings that J&J’s talc product contained asbestos and that asbestos caused the plaintiff’s ovarian cancer.
The verdict made headlines around the country and changed the tone of the talc litigation moving forward. It definitely helped grease the wheels for the big J&J settlement.
J&J defiantly claimed that the verdict was not legally valid and vowed to fight it on appeal. Two years later in 2020, J&J scored a partial victory in this effort when it got the Missouri Supreme Court to toss out the verdicts for two out of the 22 plaintiffs. This ruling on appeal also reduced the total amount of the verdict down to $2 billion.
After getting the Missouri verdict cut in half, J&J’s defense lawyers were still not satisfied and they sought to appeal the decision of the Missouri high court to the United States Supreme Court. Lawyers for J&J filed what is known as a petition for a writ of certiorari, which laid out their legal arguments and why the highest court in the country should agree to hear the case.
In its SCOUTUS petition, J&J characterized the state court proceedings as flawed and unfair. Specifically, J&J’s lawyers claimed that the state trial court should never have allowed the group of 22 plaintiffs to proceed in a mass consolidated jury trial.
They also argued that the punitive damages awarded were in violation of constitutional due process. Finally, the lawyers for J&J claimed that certain out-of-state plaintiffs should not have been allowed to adjudicate their cases in Missouri because they did not have sufficient contacts with the state.
In response, lawyers for the plaintiffs rejected J&J’s arguments about the fundamental unfairness of trying the cases in a mass group. In their view, the appeal was without merit and did not merit the court’s attention.
In June 2021, the Supreme Court issued an order rejecting J&J’s cert petition, which means that the $2 billion Missouri verdict will stand. As is customary when the Supreme Court declines a cert petition, no written explanation was issued.
Two justices, Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh recused themselves from the Court’s deliberations due to ethical conflicts. Justice Alito felt he was conflicted out because he owns $50,000 worth of stock in Johnson & Johnson (a stock that has been negatively impacted by the talc litigation). Justice Kavanaugh removed himself because his father was the former president of a trade association that was engaged in pro-talc lobbying efforts.Getting a Talc Powder Lawyer to Bring Your Lawsuit
If you have been holding off bringing a talc powder cancer lawsuit, you need to act now because the statute of limitations may soon pass. There is are no upfront cost and no fee or cost if you do not receive compensation. You don't need a talc powder lawyer near you. This is national litigation and our law firm is handling talc powder cases for ladies with ovarian cancer all over the country.
So call us. It is free. You are not committing to anything by calling. But you should learn about your options and make a choice. Call our lawyers at 800-553-8082 and find out if you might be eligible for a settlement check in this litigation. You can also reach us by filling out this free case evaluation form.Talc Baby Powder Medical Literature
Talc baby power lawsuits and settlements will be won on the science that demonstrates that talc causes ovarian cancer. Here are some of the key studies that are at issue in this litigation.
- Berge, W., et al. "Genital use of talc and risk of ovarian cancer: a meta-analysis." European Journal of Cancer Prevention 27.3 (2018): 248-257. (This meta-analysis looked at the association between genital talcum powder use and ovarian cancer risk. The researchers found “a weak but statistically significant association” between genital talcum powder use and ovarian cancer.)
- Chang, C.J., et al. "Stomach cancer and exposure to talc powder without asbestos via Chinese herbal medicine: a population-based cohort study." International journal of environmental research and public health 16.5 (2019): 717. (This study looked at the association between asbestos-free talcum powder and stomach cancer. The researchers found that the talcum powder exposure yielded a high stomach cancer hazard ratio. They concluded that their data showed that oral asbestos-free talcum powder was positively associated with an increased stomach cancer risk.)
- Egilman, D., et al. "Evidence that cosmetic talc is a cause of ovarian cancer." Gynecology and Pelvic Medicine. 4. (2020). (This article evaluated several studies on talcum powder’s association with ovarian cancer. The researchers concluded that there was “sufficient evidence” that talcum powder was associated with serous ovarian cancer.)
- Fletcher, N.M., et al. "Molecular basis supporting the association of talcum powder use with increased risk of ovarian cancer." Reproductive Sciences. 26.12. (2019): 1603-1612. (This study looked at the mechanism behind talcum powder’s association with ovarian cancer. The researchers found that it changes redox enzymes and enhances normal and EOC cells’ prooxidant state. They also found that talcum powder exposure induced cell proliferation and reduced cell death in both cancer and normal cells. The researchers concluded that this study confirmed talcum powder’s cellular effect and provided a molecular mechanism to how it increased the ovarian cancer risk.)
- Gordon, R.E. "Cosmetic Talcum Powder as a Causative Factor in the Development of Diseases of the Pleura." Diseases of Pleura. IntechOpen, 2019. (This study looked at the talcum powder’s effects on the body and how its interactions with cells and tissues caused diseases. The researchers concluded that previous studies “strongly implicate[d]” talcum powder as a “causative factor” in granuloma, fibrosis, and tumor development.)
- Johnson, K.E., et al. "Analytic comparison of talc in commercially available baby powder and in pelvic tissues resected from ovarian carcinoma patients." Gynecologic Oncology 159.2 (2020): 527-533. (This study compared talc particles in baby powder to talc particles in ovarian cancer patients’ surgically resected tissues. The researchers found that talc particles in baby powder were similar sizes and shapes to talc particles in resected tissue. The researchers concluded that talcum powder could migrate deep inside the uterus, increasing the ovarian cancer risk.)
- Moline, J., et al. "Mesothelioma associated with the use of cosmetic talc." Journal of occupational and environmental medicine 62.1 (2020): 11-17. (This study looked at 33 malignant mesothelioma cases that only involve talcum powder exposure. The researchers medico-legally evaluated these cases and performed tissue digestions for six of them. They found that all six evaluated cases involved asbestos from talcum powder. The researchers concluded that talcum power exposure may cause mesothelioma. They recommended that healthcare providers look for talcum powder usage history in mesothelioma patients.)
- Penninkilampi, R. & Eslick, G.D. "Perineal talc use and ovarian cancer." Epidemiology. 29.1 (2018): 41-49. (This meta-analysis looked at whether genital talcum powder use was associated with ovarian cancer. The researchers found that case-control studies showed an association, but not cohort studies. However, the cohort studies showed that talcum powder use was associated with invasive serous ovarian cancer. The researchers concluded that there was a “consistent association” between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer.)
- Steffen, J.E., et al. "Serous ovarian cancer caused by exposure to asbestos and fibrous talc in cosmetic talc powders—A case series." Journal of occupational and environmental medicine 62.2 (2020): e65-e77. (This study looked at 10 serous ovarian cancer cases among Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products. The researchers assessed asbestos exposure from talc application and analyzed talcum powder containers for asbestos. They found asbestos in eight out of 10 cases. The researchers concluded that asbestos exposure caused ovarian cancer.)
- Taher, M.K., et al. "Critical review of the association between perineal use of talc powder and risk of ovarian cancer." Reproductive Toxicology 90 (2019): 88-101. (This review looked at the association between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. The researchers qualitatively evaluated 30 human studies. They quantitatively analyzed twenty-seven of them. The researchers found a correlation between perineal talcum powder use and ovarian cancer. They found that White and Latina, pre-menopausal, and post-menopausal women undergoing hormonal therapy were especially high risk.)