At a Glance

  • What is this case about? Talcum powder has been shown to be often contaminated with asbestos and has been linked to both mesothelioma and ovarian cancers. There is evidence that producers of this powder were fully aware of the dangers.
  • Who is this case against? Johnson & Johnson, as well as other producers and sellers of products containing talc.
  • What is the status of this case? Several lawsuits, including a multidistrict litigation (a consolidation of cases to a single court), are ongoing.

Talc has been used since the time of ancient Egypt, but it was only in the late nineteenth century that its powder was mass-produced and sold for medicinal and cosmetic purposes. Johnson & Johnson (J&J) marketed the powder as a way to prevent diaper rash and control odor. Since the seventies, however, multiple instances have occurred where the manufactured powder was found to contain trace elements of the known carcinogen, asbestos.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer and you think long-term use of talcum powder may be to blame, you may be eligible for compensation. Talcum powder can be found in a wide variety of products including baby powder, body powders, blush, and foundations. To see if you have grounds for a claim against Johnson & Johnson, or other sellers of talcum powder, please fill out our form. We will connect you with experienced lawyers who can take you through the process of discovering if you can be compensated for your suffering.

What Is Talc?

Talc is a soft, clay material that is insoluble in water  and used in a range of industries. It has historically been used in paints, plastics, ceramics, and cosmetics. Because it does not conduct electricity, it is often used in switchboards.

Talc is a mined mineral, with the first major deposits found in Italy. Thirty percent of today’s talc comes from China, while talc mines in Afghanistan have become as important to international security as conflict diamonds elsewhere in the world.

Unfortunately, Talc ore is often found directly next to or even in contact with veins of asbestos material. Because of this, Talc can easily be contaminated with this dangerous carcinogen.

History of Talcum Powder Lawsuits

Johnson & Johnson first started producing baby powder that used Talc in 1894. It was a popular product that formed part of their primary business, and was a key product in their first “home birth kits.”

When, in 1976, the FDA began weighing limits on asbestos in products, J&J “assured the regulator that no asbestos was “detected in any sample” of talc produced between December 1972 and October 1973.” What they failed to disclose was that other tests during this period and up to 1975 did find asbestos, one which ranked it as “very high.” In fact, records from as far back as 1952 pointed to asbestos in their baby powder.

Researchers Begin Linking Talcum Powder to Cancer

While the link between asbestos and mesothelioma was first discovered in 1943, researchers were for some time unsure if the low levels of asbestos in baby powder could cause such cancer. Since the seventies, however, there have been dozens of studies that show a clear link between talcum powder that contains asbestos and mesothelioma.

Unfortunately, mesothelioma is not the only cancer that may be caused by talcum powder. Recent studies suggest that there may be a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, with women who use the powder in their genital regions 30% more likely to develop the disease.

Today, the World Health Organization classifies talcum powder as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” while that which contains asbestos is unequivocally  “carcinogenic to humans.”

Patients Begin Filing Talcum Powder Lawsuits

The first case regarding talcum powder was not against Johnson & Johnson but also RT Vanderbilt. In 2006, over three million dollars was awarded to the widow of an artist who contracted mesothelioma while inadvertently inhaling glazing material that contained Talc.

In 2018, Stephen Lanzo won his case against Johnson & Johnson after claiming that his regular use of the company’s talcum powder was responsible for his contracting mesothelioma. The court awarded Lanzo and his wife $117 Million. This was the first case in which J&J was unable to overturn the result on appeal.

In 2016, A St. Louis jury awarded Deborah Giannecchini more than $70 Million after finding J&J liable for her ovarian cancer after decades of baby powder use. Unfortunately, this ruling was later overturned. Not because the company was found not liable, but because the appeal court believed Giannecchini should not have been able to file in St. Louis.

Also in that year, another supplier of talcum powder, Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, was ordered to pay over $18 Million to Philip Depoian after he developed mesothelioma after years of powder use. Whittaker Clark & Daniels were the producers of Old Spice.

Other Significant Talcum Powder Cases

  • In 2015, Judith Winkel was awarded $13 Million when she took Colgate-Palmolive to court over her cancer.
  • In 2018, Ann Zoas was awarded $1.5 Million. Johnson & Johnson appealed the initial judgment but later settled out of court.
  • Also in 2018, 22 plaintiffs were awarded a combined $4.4 Billion against J&J. This was appealed and, while the judgment was upheld, the award was dropped to $2.2 Billion.
  • In 2020, J&J was ordered to pay over $32 Million to four plaintiffs in a New Jersey case.
  • Illinois is currently overseeing a Multidistrict litigation (similar to a class action) claiming that J&J withheld information that could have been used to warn women of the link between baby powder and ovarian cancer.

As of Feb 2021, Johnson & Johnson is facing over twenty-five thousand lawsuits linked to talcum powder. They have set aside in their latest budget over $4 Billion for “litigation expenses.”

Talcum Powder Recall

In late 2019, Johnson & Johnson recalled over thirty thousand bottles of baby powder. In May 2020, it announced that, for the first time in over a hundred and twenty years, it would not be selling baby powder on the US market. It still denies that its powder causes health issues of any kind.

What Should I Do if I Have Been Affected by Talcum Powder?

If you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with cancer, and you think that previous exposure to talcum powder may have been a causal factor, please fill out our form. We will connect you to a qualified professional in your area. With years of experience and knowledge of previous cases, they can walk you through the steps required to determine if you may be eligible for compensation.

These consultations are free, and there is no obligation to continue with any lawyer you speak to.

In the meantime, ensure you have all relevant documents regarding your cancer diagnosis, treatment, and expenses. You should also include documentation concerning any loss of work. Also, consider what evidence you may have of your past use of talcum powder, and write a short history of what you remember about that use.

How Do I Know if I Qualify to Be Part of a Talcum Powder Lawsuit?

For a lawyer to determine if they are interested in helping you with a talcum powder lawsuit, they will need answers to a wide range of questions. To get the best representation possible, it can be helpful to put together the answers beforehand. Some of the more important questions that will always be asked include:

  • How have you been exposed to talcum powder in the past, and for how long?
  • When did you stop using talcum powder?
  • What current illnesses do you believe could be caused by your exposure to talcum powder? Are you being treated by a medical professional for these illnesses? What do these professionals believe to be the cause of your illness?
  • Have you ever been a smoker or been exposed to other dangerous chemicals or radiation? How healthy were you before your talcum powder exposure?
  • Have you ever been exposed to asbestos in any other way?
  • Does your family have a history of illness? What other risk factors may have played a role?
  • How has your illness affected your life, your work, and your family?

It can take decades after exposure for you to fall ill due to talcum powder and asbestos. If you are unsure if your current suffering may be due to your previous use of talcum powder, it is worth speaking to a lawyer and a health care professional to find out. Your lawyer can point you in the direction of medical professionals with experience treating patients who have suffered due to exposure to these substances.

While your lawyer may not be willing to take your case, it does not mean no lawyer will. Some lawyers will pass on a case due to workload, a lack of experience in the area, or a conflict of interest with other clients. By getting in contact with a lawyer through our website, you can be assured that you are speaking to someone familiar with talcum powder cases who is interested in helping you find compensation.

How Does a Talcum Powder Lawsuit Work?

If you have decided to file a lawsuit, the first step will be working with your lawyer to compile the evidence you need. This will include writing out your story in detail. Following this, the court will decide if you have a case.

From that point, court proceedings can take a range of paths. You will likely need to tell your story multiple times to many different people. Fortunately, when represented by a lawyer, you will not need to be in court for every moment of the case.

Court proceedings can be stressful times, and it is important to have a support network to help you through it.

As there have been many successful cases against talcum powder manufacturers, there is a chance that the company you bring the suit against may decide to negotiate a settlement long before a judge has made a decision. If this is the case, your lawyer can help you decide if the settlement offered is fair, and ensure that you are justly compensated for your suffering.

Do I Need Legal Counsel to Join a Talcum Powder Lawsuit?

While it is possible to represent yourself in court, doing so is not recommended. Companies like Johnson & Johnson spend tens of millions every year to hire teams of lawyers that would be placed on your case. Cases can be very complicated, with thousands of pages of documents and dozens of appearances. Just as you would go to a doctor for the best chance to recover from your illness, you should seek a lawyer for the best chance to recover the damages you deserve.

The benefit of working with other plaintiffs in a class action or multidistrict litigation is that your lawyers can also pool resources to match the defense. When speaking to a lawyer, ask them to explain the benefits and drawbacks of joining a larger case.

Speaking to a lawyer about your case will not incur fees. Most lawyers are willing to take your case “on contingency,” and will only be paid if they are successful in finding you compensation for your suffering.

How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Talcum Powder Lawsuit?

It is an unfortunate truth that court cases can sometimes take a long time —years, even. Some cases in the fight against companies selling talcum powder have taken over half a decade, as appeals processes allow cases to be reheard by higher courts.

However, as more and more settlements occur, the time to settle also decreases. While there are many factors involved, there is hope that a clear-cut case could be settled in under a year.

The best way to prepare for a case of this type is to do so without the expectation of seeing compensation soon.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Talcum Powder Lawsuit?

The statute of limitations is the amount of time before you are no longer able to go to court to seek compensation for your suffering. For product liability lawsuits, this time varies from state to state, but is usually between 2-4 years.

If you believe you are eligible for compensation, it is important to speak to a lawyer before it is too late. Fill out our form and we will have one contact you as soon as possible.

How Much Can You Recover From a Talcum Powder Lawsuit?

Based on previously resolved judgments, it is possible that you could receive up to tens of millions of dollars in compensation for your suffering. However, some plaintiffs have received only thousands.

The final result often relies on several factors, including:

  • Outstanding and ongoing healthcare costs.
  • Loss of money from being unable to work, and requirements of dependents.
  • The degree to which the company is held liable.
  • The overall pain and suffering the court agrees you have gone through.

It is not possible to offer a specific prediction as to what you may be rewarded, and it is suspect if a lawyer says they can guarantee a specific amount. However, responsible lawyers always work towards you receiving the maximum amount of damages that you could be eligible for

How Long Does It Take to Receive the Funds After Resolving a Lawsuit?

After a lawsuit has been resolved via settlement or final judgment, payment should occur within weeks. However, this may be slightly longer in the case of a class action or multidistrict litigation, as each plaintiff will be eligible for different amounts, based on their outstanding healthcare costs. These fees will be paid first.

If working on a contingency fee arrangement, your lawyer receives the money and they will be paid first. This pay will be a pre-arranged percentage of the amount you will receive. Once they are paid, you will also receive your money within the next day or two. This money will be given via electronic transfer or cheque.

The law is quite strict when it comes to the handling of funds from settlements, and protects you from unscrupulous healthcare providers or lawyers.

Final Thoughts

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer, and believe it may be connected to the use of baby powder, please fill out our form. You will be connected with a knowledgeable lawyer who can help you find if you are eligible for compensation.

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