After juries ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $72 million and $55 million in two separate talcum powder-related lawsuits, the American Bar Association reported that the firm representing those women got almost 26,000 calls concerning the link between talc use and ovarian cancer. Not only that, but there are currently thousands of plaintiffs currently suing the company and its talc supplier in state courts from Missouri to Florida.
Tragically, ovarian cancer can be fatal. So how do you know whether you can sue for wrongful death if you think a loved one's cancer was caused by baby powder use? And how do you know if Johnson & Johnson is responsible?
Talcum Powder and Cancer Linked
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the genital use of talc-based body powder as "possibly carcinogenic to humans." And a study as far back as the 1970s found talc particles embedded in ovarian tumors, and a newer study demonstrated a link between regular use of powder and a greater risk ovarian cancer in African-American women. As reported by Reuters, "Users of genital powder had more than a 40 percent increased risk of cancer, while those who used only non-genital powder had an increased risk of more than 30 percent."
A New Jersey judge was unpersuaded by the medical evidence in two recent lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson. But that ruling may only affect cases in that state, and not the thousands more nationwide.
Johnson & Johnson Liability
Companies like Johnson & Johnson can be held liable for failing to provide adequate instructions or warnings on products it knows to be dangerous. And while the company continues to stand by its talc and challenge the science linking its products to cancer, the AP has reported that previous plaintiffs cited a September 1997 internal memo from a Johnson & Johnson medical consultant suggesting a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Reportedly, the consultant wrote that "anyone who denies" the risk of using hygienic talc and ovarian cancer is "denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary."
Establishing a link between talcum powder use and cancer -- and linking that to Johnson & Johnson specifically -- is a job for the experts. If you're considering joining the thousands of other plaintiffs in suing over baby powder injuries, talk to an experienced injury attorney first.