Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Powder Cancer Problem

Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder cancer problem is enormous. The long and short of it is that its talcum baby powder causes ovarian cancer. Several women have filed Johnson and Johnson baby powder cancer lawsuits. And they are winning. Women are being awarded tens of millions of dollars because Johnson and Johnson has known about this problem for decades and continued to market and sell its product without warning anyone.


That is the reaction of a lot of women as more information comes out about Johnson and Johnson baby powder cancer. Within the past three years, the exposure and awareness of Johnson and Johnson baby powder cancer has worked its way into our collective conscience. Surprisingly, studies go back as far as 1971 suggesting that use of talcum powder was linked to ovarian cancer. How is it even possible that we are finally hearing about talcum powder ovarian cancer regularly forty-five years later?

  1. As of this publishing of this blog, the Centers for Disease Control do not currently list use of talcum powder as a risk factor for ovarian cancer.
  2. The American Cancer Society, while admitting that studies show mixed results, seem to be of a similar mindset.
  3. A 1982 Harvard study showed that female users of talcum powder had almost two times the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  4. There are two kinds of talc: talc that contains asbestos and asbestos-free talc.

Obviously, the first three points above can easily change as more studies are completed, but let’s take a closer look at the fourth item. In its natural state, talc may contain asbestos. Asbestos has been known for years to cause cancer, which in and of itself has led to many lawsuits. However, since the 1970’s all talcum products found in homes in the United States have been asbestos-free. Depending on your age, you have used talc that contained asbestos. But even if you were born after the 1970’s, the Harvard study above suggests you may be at risk of Johnson and Johnson baby powder cancer.

Johnson and Johnson's Baby Powder Cancer | Personal Injury Lawyer

If the Studies Are Unproven, Why is Johnson & Johnson in so Much Trouble?

The legal theories under which J&J is being sued is for are negligence and a warning defect. In that 1971 Wales study, talc particles were found present in ovarian tumors. This discovery was used by Ms. Deane Berg, a South Dakota resident with talcum powder ovarian cancer, for the basis of a lawsuit in 2013. In that lawsuit, it was argued that Johnson & Johnson stayed up to date on research relevant to talc, and, thus, knew or should have known that Johnson and Johnson baby powder cancer was a possibility.

Ms. Berg won that lawsuit, and rather than be awarded monetary compensation, the jury instructed Johnson & Johnson to put a warning on their baby powder that it might cause cancer. This trial laid a roadmap for future lawsuits in terms of what evidence can help to win your case and legal theories to present.

What Have Been the Results of Trials Since Then?

Thus far, only two verdicts have been rendered and it should be noted that they came out of the same Federal court in Missouri. First, on February 26, 2016, the jury found for the estate of Jacqueline Fox that Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. was liable compensatory damages for Ms. Fox’s personal injuries in the amount of ten million dollars ($10,000,000).

Ms. Fox also had a claim for punitive damages, which are extremely rare and generally awarded by the Court to make an example of the company and deter other companies from making the same mistake. In this case, Ms. Fox was awarded twenty-two million dollars ($22,000,000) in punitive damages for her claim AND then another forty million dollars ($40,000,000) in punitive damages outside of the claim. Clearly, the jury fully believed Ms. Fox’s ovarian cancer and death was due to J&J talcum powder.

The second verdict was for Gloria Ristesund, who had also developed talcum powder ovarian cancer and was handed down on May 17, 2016. The claims she brought against Johnson & Johnson were more specific, but the results were the same. Ms. Ristesund’s first claim was that Johnson & Johnson were negligent and failed to warn consumers of the dangers of talcum powder and talcum powder ovarian cancer. The jury agreed with her and awarded her five million dollars ($5,000,000) in compensatory damages. Much like in Ms. Fox’s situation, the jury was still very much unhappy with Johnson and Johnson baby powder cancer and further awarded Ms. Ristesund fifty million dollars ($50,000,000) in punitive damages.

You might be wondering why Ms. Ristesund received ten million dollars less in punitive damages. To be honest, that is just a jury variance. It may be because Ms. Fox had succumbed to talcum powder ovarian cancer, but it could just as easily be that the jury was feeling oh so slightly more lenient that day. Punitive damages are hard to figure out.

With the cases above, it is also important to note that Johnson & Johnson have the right to appeal the decision, and with one hundred twenty-seven million dollars ($127,000,000) on the line, it is likely that they will. In that appeal, it is possible that the punitive damages could be reduced which would be unfortunate given what these women have had to deal with.

I’ve Used Talcum Powder for Years. Do I Have a Case?

This is a tricky question as the facts of every case are different. Generally, before someone even thinks about a case there must be some sort of harm done. If you have used talcum powder, and you developed ovarian cancer, you may very well have talcum powder ovarian cancer. If that is the case, you should contact a San Diego personal injury lawyer.

Even though the current judgments are coming out of the Midwest, Ms. Fox and Ms. Ristesund are from Alabama and South Dakota, respectively. Thus, if there is a link to baby powder usage, you can be sure that talcum powder ovarian cancer will be rearing its ugly head all over the United States soon.

Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder cancer problem is growing every day. If you have ovarian cancer and were exposed to J&J’s baby powder, contact our lawyer immediately.