A Missouri-based three-judge panel recently upheld a $2.1 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson lodged by plaintiffs claiming that the company used asbestos-laced talc in their baby powder products, resulting in ovarian cancer and other serious and potentially deadly injuries. J&J has a long history of disputing scientific evidence that links its products to asbestos exposure. Despite the manufacturing conglomerate’s numerous attempts to discredit these claims the three-judge panel ruled in favor of the plaintiff’s expert testimony, saying it sufficiently established a basis for holding the company liable.
When asked about the decision, the plaintiff’s attorney said that the judges’ opinion “carefully explains the reprehensible conduct of J&J, and upholds critical damages to make the world a safer place” – and he is right. A Reuters investigation uncovered a wealth of evidence that not only was J&J aware that it was selling products contaminated with asbestos and therefore endangering consumers, but also that the company intentionally hid the information from the public in order to continue raking in profits. According to 60+ years of documents that Reuters found, a lab first told J&J that their products contained asbestos back in 1957 – but that did not stop them from continuing to knowingly put millions of consumers at risk.
Talc, or talcum, is a mineral that in its natural form can contain asbestos. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies asbestos-contaminated talc as carcinogenic (or cancer causing) to humans. For decades, millions of people have used talc-based powder products to prevent skin rashes and promote dryness because of their ability to reduce friction and moisture. The IARC also classifies perineal, or genital, use of these powders as “possibly carcinogenic” to humans. Numerous studies have illustrated the link between talcum powder and the development of ovarian cancer, which is further solidified by scientific findings of talc particles embedded in cancerous tissue in the ovaries and cervixes of women who used talcum powder products in their pubic regions for years.
Talc-based powders are generally considered so unsafe that J&J finally agreed to discontinue selling them in the United States and Canada. And although the decision to require the company to pay $2.1 billion to injured women and their families is a critical legal step, there are still thousands of innocent victims who have yet to have their day in court. The earlier that ovarian cancer is identified, the better the patient’s chances for a positive outcome are. Sadly, ovarian cancer can be deadly. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that approximately 14,000 women die from the disease every year.
Not everyone who has ovarian cancer experiences symptoms, but when they are present some of the most common ones include:
If you are someone who uses J&J’s talc-based powders and you are experiencing possible symptoms of ovarian cancer, it is advisable to speak with a trusted healthcare provider. If you would like to speak with an experienced attorney about filing a products liability claim because you became ill or were diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using J&J’s talcum-based powder, someone at our firm can help. Please contact a representative online now.
With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.