Law Offices of Nooney Roberts Hewett & Nowicki :

Talcum Powder Tort

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Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki is reviewing cases on behalf of women who developed ovarian cancer or mesothelioma after using talc powder or other talc products.

About the Talcum Powder Lawsuit

Since 1971, there have been 20 studies that link talcum (talc) powder to ovarian cancer. A 2003 analysis of 16 of those studies found that ** women who used talcum powder were 33 percent more likely to develop ovarian cancer.** It has been alleged that Johnson & Johnson, the maker of popular talc-based products, knew about the risk of ovarian cancer since 1982, but they failed to warn female consumers of the hazards associated with using these products.

Additionally, a recent report by The New York Times revealed that Johnson & Johnson knew of the possible link of asbestos to their talc products. The article stated that the company spent decades trying to keep this negative information from reaching the public.

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Does Talcum Powder Cause Cancer?

Researchers have been studying the potential link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder for several decades. It is believed that using talc powder near the genitals can lead to the substance traveling to the ovaries and becoming embedded in the ovarian tissue. Talc is a natural mineral, but it's extremely difficult for the body to remove the particles. As a result, inflammation can Occur and cancerous tumors may form.

The first study to link talc to cause ovarian cancer was published in 1971 in the medical journal The Lancet. In the study, researchers discovered that a majority of ovarian tumors had talc particles "deeply embedded" in them. A subsequent study in 1982 found that women using talcum powder during ovulation faced a 92 percent increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. During the next three decades, an additional 21 studies were performed on talc powder, and almost all of these studies found that women using talc products near their genitals were at an increased risk for developing ovarian cancer.

To date, both the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society consider talc use as a "risk factor" for ovarian cancer when used near the genitals. Despite this discovery, Johnson & Johnson and other talc powder manufacturers have not placed warnings about this risk on their products.

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What is talc?

Talc is a soft, naturally occurring mineral made of oxygen, silicon, and magnesium. After being mined and processed, the resulting fine talc powder is used in a variety of cosmetic products.

What Is Talc Used For?

Talc is used in a broad range of products, including talcum powder (baby powder), feminine hygiene products, makeup, lotions, and deodorant. Because talcum powder is typically known for its odor-and-moisture-absorbing properties, some women use it in their genital area. Genital exposure to the mineral can also occur during condom, menstrual pad, or diaphragm use.

What Makes Talc Harmful?

In nature, talc deposits are often found near dangerous accumulations of the carcinogenic mineral asbestos. Asbestos has been linked to many types of cancer, including ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, a rare disease of the lungs. Even minor amounts of asbestos could potentially lead to cancer, and diagnoses are often made decades after a talc-based product was used.

Although the federal government required talc-based wares to be asbestos-free starting in the 1970s, scientists have noted that it is difficult to comply. In addition, there is also evidence to suggest that companies continued to sell talc products even after they tested positive for asbestos despite regulations being in place. A recent Reuters report showed that Johnson & Johnson's baby powder contained asbestos from 1971 through the early 2000s, exposing consumers to serious health risks for decades.

The International Journal of Gynecological Cancer states that women who use talcum powder on their genital area have a 30% to 60% increased risk of cancer. Researchers believe that talc causes the disease by provoking chronic inflammation of the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus. It also potentially suppresses cancer-fighting antibodies.

Talcum powder has also been connected to mesothelioma, a rare lung cancer. When the small airborne particles enter the lungs, they can cause irritation, chronic inflammation, and the eventual formation of cancerous tumors.

Why Are People Filing Lawsuits?

There have been thousands of people diagnosed with ovarian cancer or mesothelioma caused by talc products that have filed lawsuits against companies selling these products. Johnson & Johnson has been at the center of many recent lawsuits, with victims claiming that they developed cancer after years of consistent use of the company's talc-based items.

Another key aspect of the lawsuits involves prosecuting attorneys' claims that manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson knew for over 40 years that their products contained asbestos. According to internal J&J documents, the company kept this information from the public and refused to put safety warnings on its items or remove them from sales shelves.

How many lawsuits have been filed?

As of March 2019, there have been more than 13,000 pending lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson. Lawsuits are also pending against other talc product manufacturers.

Have There Been Any Settlements or Verdicts?

There have been several settlements and verdicts against Johnson & Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, and other manufacturers for cases involving ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. Settlements continue to rise.

The largest verdict against J&J occured in July 2018, when a St. Louis jury awarded 22 ovarian cancer victims $4.6 billion after they concluded that the company's baby powder was responsible for their ovarian cancer. In May 2018, $25 million was awarded to Joanne Anderson by a jury that concluded that her mesothelioma was the result of talcum powder use. In June 2019, Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive were ordered to pay $10 million to Patricia Schmitz, who was diagnosed with terminal mesothelioma after using their talc products.

These are just a few recent examples of verdicts against companies. From 2016 to today, manufacturers of talc products have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to victims

How Are Companies Responding to Lawsuits?

Despite a number of lost lawsuits and settlements, companies continue to insist that their products pose no risk to consumers and don't contain asbestos or lead to cancer.

Who Can File a Lawsuit?

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or ovarian cancer after using talc-based products, you may be eligible to file an individual lawsuit, especially if you have a consistent history of using such wares over a significant time period.

The longer you use these products, the more likely it is that your cancer could have been caused by one containing talc. Because statutes of limitation for filing a lawsuit vary by state, it is in your best interest to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after your diagnosis.

What Can I Win in a Talc Lawsuit?

What you recover completely depends on the type of lawsuit filed. For example, there is a class-action lawsuit filed against Johnson & Johnson where a number of consumers are suing for damages related to the cost of the product. However, it is important to note that class action suits don't cover individual health-related costs.

On the other hand, if you file an individual lawsuit, you may be compensated for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses. Every case is different, and depending on the cost of your medical bills, the symptoms you experienced, and how much work you missed, the final settlement amount will vary.

What Can an Attorney Do for Me?

A good attorney will take into account what's in your best interest. They will make sure you meet important deadlines, give you a clear understanding of your legal rights, and supply trusted expert witnesses to bolster your case.

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