For the second time in three months, Johnson & Johnson has lost a jury trial linking use of its talcum powder-based products to cancer. In this case, a Missouri jury has awarded a woman $55 million who contracted ovarian cancer after using the company’s products for feminine hygiene.
This follows an earlier award of $72 million to a deceased woman’s family in February, and is another of thousands of pending lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson.
Talcum Powder Lawsuits
The products at issue are Johnson & Johnson's talc-based powder products, mostly its Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Powder. Gloria Ristesund says she used both on her genitals for decades. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and although her cancer is now in remission, Ristesund had to undergo a hysterectomy and other cancer-related surgeries.
Ristesund's lawsuit and the others like it claim Johnson & Johnson knew of the cancer risk to consumers but failed to include adequate warnings with its products. The AP has reported that a medical consultant told the company in 1997 that "anybody who denies" the increased risk of ovarian cancer tied to using hygienic talc is "denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary."
Talcum Powder Cancer Risk
Ristesund's attorney, Jere Beasley, told Reuters his client was gratified with the verdict, and that it should "end the litigation" and compel Johnson & Johnson to settle its remaining lawsuits. That outcome seems unlikely.
Johnson & Johnson is appealing both verdicts, and maintains that its products are safe for women. A company spokesperson contended there is 30 years of research supporting the safety of cosmetic talc. Meanwhile, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified the genital use of talc-based body powder as "possibly carcinogenic to humans."
There are currently around 1,200 other lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson over its talcum powder products. If you think you've been injured by the same or similar products, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case.