Johnson & Johnson has been a household word in America for generations. The company was founded by three brothers – Robert Wood Johnson, James Wood Johnson, and Edward Mead Johnson – in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1886. The company published “Modern Methods of Antiseptic Wound Treatment” and produced the first commercial first aid kits in 1888, and launched maternity kits and Johnson’s Baby Powder in 1894. In the intervening years, Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries have been the first to mass produce:
- Women’s sanitary napkins;
- Dental floss;
- First aid manuals;
- Band-Aid® adhesive bandages;
- Prescription contraceptive gel;
- Baby shampoo;
- Disposable contact lenses; and
- Coronary stents.
Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Products
Perhaps Johnson & Johnson is best known for its line of baby products, including Johnson’s Baby Powder. Shower to Shower (a J & J deodorizing adult body powder) and Johnson’s Baby Powder both contain talcum powder, which is produced by crushing talc, a mineral mined from the earth.
Talc is the softest known mineral, and the powder is very smooth. The properties of talcum powder make it effective for reducing chafing and absorbing moisture and odors. Shower to Shower and Johnson’s Baby Powder have been used by many women as feminine hygiene products.
Genital use of talc has been linked by scientific research to ovarian cancer. When talcum powder is applied in the genital area, talc particles may be absorbed into the vagina and travel through the reproductive system, and lodging in the ovaries. These particles of talc can remain in the tissue for years, resulting in irritation, inflammation, and then the development of cancer cells. Pathologists have found talc particles in tumor tissue samples taken from women who developed ovarian cancer after long-term genital use of talcum powder.
Lawsuits Against Johnson & Johnson
A South Dakota woman was the first to sue Johnson & Johnson for ovarian cancer talcum powder injuries. Although she was not awarded damages, the plaintiff won her lawsuit, and the court told Johnson & Johnson to include a cancer warning on its talcum powder product labels. Next, the family of a woman who died of ovarian cancer after using J & J talcum powder products for decades sued Johnson & Johnson. In February 2016 a Missouri jury awarded $72 million in that case – $10 million in compensatory damages and $62 million in punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish a defendant for outrageous misconduct.
In May 2016, another Missouri jury awarded $55 million to a woman who developed ovarian cancer after long-term genital use of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products, with $5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.
In August 2017, a California jury awarded the largest verdict yet in talcum powder lawsuits. The $417 million verdict, awarded to a woman who claimed she developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum based products, included $70 million in compensatory damages and $347 million in punitive damages.
Johnson & Johnson is facing approximately 1,200 lawsuits by women with ovarian cancer who used the company’s talcum powder products. Plaintiffs claim that the company was aware of the dangers, and failed to warn consumers.
If you have used Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products and developed ovarian cancer, call Farah & Farah right away. We are currently investigating Talcum powder related injuries nationwide. We can evaluate your claim free of charge and advise you of your options under the law. Contact our talcum powder injury lawyers today at (800) 533-3555.