At the conclusion of the fifth Missouri talcum powder trial filed against Johnson & Johnson, jurors awarded more than $110 million to the plaintiff, who claimed that use of the company’s talc had resulted in ovarian cancer. The verdict includes $5.4 million in actual damages and $105 million in punitive damages.
The plaintiff, a 62-year-old Virginia woman, had used J&J’s Shower-to-Shower and Baby Powder products for more than 40 years, and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. Since that time, the cancer has spread to her liver.
Talcum Powder Litigation
In 2016, St. Louis juries reached verdicts totaling $197 million against J&J, finding that the company had failed to warn the public of studies linking its talc products to ovarian cancer. These costly St. Louis state court verdicts included:
But last month, a jury found in favor of the company, clearing J&J and its talc supplier Imerys Talc America of responsibility for the ovarian cancer of a woman who had used the company’s baby powder products for an extended period of time. Approximately 2,000 state and federal lawsuits are currently pending.
Does Talcum Powder Really Cause Cancer?
While there is no definitive answer to whether or not talcum powder causes ovarian cancer, numerous studies conducted over the past 30 years have found a 20 to 40 percent increased risk of ovarian cancer among talc users. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization, has said that the genital use of talcum-based powder is “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” although the American Cancer Society says more research is needed to establish a solid link.