UPDATE: (May 2017) – Another St. Louis jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a $110 million verdict in a talcum powder trial. The plaintiff, 62-year-old Lois Slemp, developed ovarian cancer after using the company’s talc products for decades, and claimed she wasn’t adequately warned about the true health risks when she used the products for feminine hygiene purposes. The judgement marks the largest verdict to date in talcum powder litigation.
Talc Verdicts To-date:
|Trial #||Verdict||Jury Vote|
UPDATE: (Oct. 28, 2016) – A St. Louis jury has awarded more than $70 million to Deborah Giannecchini, of Modesto, California, wrapping up a month long trial. Giannecchini said she was happy with the verdict, but it doesn’t make up for the Stage IV ovarian cancer fight and ongoing health problems caused by chemotherapy.
“There’s not enough money in the world to pay for fighting the cancer,” she said.
READ MORE – (ABC News) – Talc Verdict Winner: Money Can’t Make up for Lost Health
UPDATE: (July 6, 2016) – An Illinois man, Tod Alan Musgrove has filed a lawsuit in Illinois federal court on behalf of his wife, Pamela Musgrove, contending that her uterine cancer – and subsequent death – was caused by “regular and prolonged” exposure to Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder.
UPDATE: (June 5, 2016) – “A new study on the heels of last month’s report on Johnson & Johnson’s cancer-causing talcum powder lawsuit shows there is a link between use of the product and ovarian cancer. Compared to women who do not use the product, African-American women who apply powder are more likely to get the illness.”
UPDATE: (May 16, 2016) – Seventeen women with NM ties sue over talcum powder
A group of 15 woman with New Mexico ties have joined a growing number of women nationwide suing baby powder manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, claiming the product caused their ovarian cancer. The estates of two women who died from ovarian cancer also joined the suit.
READ MORE By: Maggie Shepard (Albuquerque Journal)
UPDATE: (May 3, 2016) – Following a three-week trial in St. Louis, jurors deliberated for about a day before returning a $55 million dollar verdict for Gloria Ristesund; a woman who said that using the company’s talc-powder products for feminine hygiene caused her to develop ovarian cancer. Ms. Ristesund was awarded $5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.
Ms. Ristesund said she used Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based powder products—which include the well-known Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Powder—on her genitals for decades, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had to undergo a hysterectomy and related surgeries. However, her cancer is now in remission.
SOURCE: Fortune (Reuters)
(March 31, 2016) – Here is a very good article from Bloomberg Businessweek by Susan Berfield, Jef Feeley, and Margaret Cronin Fisk: Johnson & Johnson Has a Baby Powder Problem.
UPDATE: (March 10, 2016) – Amid mounting concerns about the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, and in light of the recent $72m verdict against Johnson & Johnson, a consumer group in Malaysia is calling for a ban of all talc-based products.
UPDATE: (Jan. 24, 2016) – A St. Louis jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $72 million to the family of a woman who died in 2015 from ovarian cancer allegedly caused by talcum powder used throughout her life for feminine hygiene purposes. The verdict in favor of Jacqueline Fox’s family was for $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages. Fox used Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products her whole life, and alleged that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn that the talc may migrate through the vagina and increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
In 2013, a study published in the medical journal Cancer Prevention Research looked at data on about 2,000 women who used talcum powder on the genital area. The findings suggested that women who use talc body powder may face a 20% to 30% higher risk of ovarian cancer when compared to women who do not use the baby powder or body powder products. The original link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer was discovered in 1971 in a medical study that demonstrated talc particles in the ovarian tissue for cancer patients. As early as 1971, Johnson & Johnson’s medical director Dr. G.Y. Hildick-Smith argued against the suggestion that talc is carcinogenic. This was the first instance in which medical professionals realized that women could be at risk for a consistent use of these products.
Following the 1971 study that first detected a connection between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer, many more scientific studies have been published in prominent medical journals such as Cancer, The Lancet, and Oncology throughout the past decades. The National Cancer Institute and the International Union Against Cancer have published similar findings. A description of pivotal studies on the baby powder and ovarian cancer is set forth here:
- 1970s An article on ovarian cancer caused by talcum powder in The Lancet warns, “The potentially harmful effects of talc . . . in the ovary . . . should not be ignored.”
- 1992 The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology publishes a study which finds that regular (weekly) use of baby powder increases a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer threefold.
- 1997 A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology affirms that perineal dusting of talcum powder contributes to the risk of cancer; it suggests talcum genital deodorant sprays contribute to cancer growth as well.
- 2003 A meta-analysis, which compiles and reviews data from 16 previous studies, is published in Anticancer Research. Based on research with nearly 12,000 women, the study concludes that perineal baby powder use is associated with a 33% increase in ovarian cancer risk.
- 2008 Harvard epidemiologist Dr. Margaret Gates reaffirms that weekly use of talcum powder for perineal dusting increases the risk of ovarian cancer by 33%. Dr. Gates also asserts that daily use of a product such as Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower talcum powder increases the risk of ovarian cancer by 41%.
- 2010 Dr. Gates, along with two other Harvard researchers, publishes a study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention in which the role of talc particles in other endometrial cancer development was investigated. This study reinforces the notion that talc in baby powder is carcinogenic to humans.
Despite these original findings, companies like Johnson & Johnson continue to argue against the severity of the risks posed by talcum powder. It is simply another example of manufacturers placing their desire for profits before consumer safety by withholding information about the potential cancer risk from consumers for years.
If you or a loved one have used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and/or Shower-to-Shower products for feminine hygiene and developed ovarian or uterine cancer, you may have legal rights you need to protect. Contact us online or call 1-866-252-3535.