Home / Blog / New Report Says Johnson & Johnson Knew of Talc Powder’s Cancer Risk for Decades

Common household name, Johnson & Johnson, has been facing lawsuits over cancer claims from thousands of women for more than a few decades and been hit with over $300 million in verdicts by juries as reported by Reuters. Newly obtained court-released documents now reveal disturbing news that the company’s executive leadership and scientists may have actually known since the early 1970s about the risk of cancer-causing asbestos found in its popular talc powders like “baby powder.” The documents suggest many individuals who were in charge of the product testing have been busy keeping the deadly findings hidden from both consumers and regulators for more than two decades.

Today, J&J is dealing with nearly 12,000 plaintiffs in talc-related cases and most recently attempted to overturn a $4.69 billion verdict in favor of 22 women who blamed their ovarian cancer diagnosis on asbestos found in the company’s baby powder and other talc products. J&J did lose the motion. Last year, a jury ordered J&J to pay $417 million to a woman who claimed she developed ovarian cancer after using the company’s talc-based products. This verdict in favor of the California woman was the largest yet in lawsuits alleging the company failed to adequately warn consumers about the products’ cancer risks.

Latest estimates (2017) from the American Cancer Society show ovarian cancer prevalence in the United States show rates have been declining but still each year about 22,440 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer and about 14,080 will die from it.

  • A woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 75.
  • Her lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 100.
  • This cancer mainly develops in older women. About half of the women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer are 63 years or older.
  • It is more common in white women than African-American women.

Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.

Studies Do Reveal Talc-Based Powders Are Unsafe

Warnings of the potential dangers of talc, the primary ingredient in talcum powder, have been sounded for over 50 years. In an unprocessed state, talc contains asbestos and is carcinogenic. Though cosmetics and other products have believed to have used asbestos-free talc since the early 70s, there have still been more than 20 research studies that have found a link between the use of talc-based powders and ovarian cancer.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer finds talc to be “possibly carcinogenic.” Although, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it has not found asbestos in any of the talcum products it has studied, and the ACA has said, “All talcum products used in homes in the United States have been asbestos-free since the 1970s.”

It’s hard to uncover the unfortunate truth but that is what an experienced legal team can do. We already know that women everywhere, including right here in Indiana, may have faced tragically altered lives as a result of harms caused by talcum powder and other toxic chemicals hidden in J&J products and deserve compensation for their injuries.

Contact Us Now to Discuss Your Talcum Powder Concerns

If you or a loved one regularly used products containing talcum powder and were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the product liability attorneys at Wagner Reese can help. It is important for victims in Indiana to understand that class action cannot provide victims with compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or funeral expenses. Our job, after helping you to understand your options, is to ease your burden by seeking maximum compensation for the illness and pain caused knowingly by J&J.

If you believe you or a family member may have been harmed by J&J products, please give us a call at (888) 204-8440 to schedule a risk-free, no-cost consultation.