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A Missouri jury ordered pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.69 billion to twenty plaintiffs who claimed the asbestos in the company’s talcum powder gave them ovarian cancer.

The talcum powder lawsuit award assigned $4.14 billion in punitive damages to the defendant. They were assigned thsi amount as they failed to warn consumers about cancer risks.

Johnson and Johnson baby powder is a highly purchased feminine hygiene product in American markets; yet, few consumers know about the link between baby powder and cancer, according to testimony from this talcum powder lawsuit.

The defendants expressed disappointment after receiving the jury’s Johnson and Johnson talcum powder verdict; the company admitted no wrongdoing and vowed to appeal.

What is talcum powder?

Chemists extract talcum powder from magnesium, silicon, and oxygen alloys. Otherwise known as “baby powder” talcum performs well in absorbing moisture and smoothing dry skin to prevent irritation and rashes. Medical supply companies such as Johnson and Johnson openly use talc in its baby powder consumer products.

Natural talcum contains asbestos, a material known to cause lung cancer. After 1970, state agencies ordered all commercial talcum products sold in the US to be asbestos-free.

The individuals most exposed to talc elements are miners who breathe in the substance at work. And the women who routinely apply talcum powder to genital areas to absorb moisture.

Baby Powder Cancer

Does baby powder cause cancer? It does not, according to Johnson and Johnson, who rigorously contend its products do not contain asbestos.

The American Cancer Society conducted research in the 70s and heightened concerns about talc cancer after the health organization claimed asbestos is a carcinogen that “sometimes appears in natural talc.” The law now requires companies that mix talcum powder in their commercial products to use asbestos-free talc which is magnesium, silicon, and oxygen stripped of its cancer-causing agents.

Talcum powder litigation trends reignited last year when the National Cancer Institute reported talc in feminine hygiene products can absorb into reproductive organs and cause inflammation in the ovaries.

Such assertions may suggest that cancerous elements in talcum powder can lead to ovarian cancer if powder particles were to pass through to internal female genital organs. Scientists recently have exposed asbestos-free talc to the genital areas of rats and mice; some test subjects developed tumor while others did not.

Johnson and Johnson Cancer Lawsuits

Over nine thousand plaintiffs are accusing Johnson and Johnson of giving them baby powder cancer in subsequent lawsuits, according to court multidistrict litigation (MDL) documentation.

The St. Louis jury in this talcum powder lawsuit took less than a day to consider compensatory damages, indicating that cancer is a serious concern among consumers, according to lead attorney Mr. Lanier.

What Do MDL Pleadings Say?

According to MDL pleadings, Johnson & Johnson has spent forty decades hiding evidence of asbestos talc in its baby powder products, and the company further failed to publish warnings on commercial talc product labels about potential cancer-causing baby powder elements.

Johnson & Johnson baby powder is one of the few companies today that insist on using talc in its baby products instead of using more expensive, industry standard cornstarch bases.

The punitive damages in this baby powder lawsuit were the largest ever awarded in a product liability case involving baby powder cancer, according to Lanier. The plaintiffs asserted their Johnson and Johnson cancer pleadings on one complaint instead of joining Johnson & Johnson MDL. Lanier claims the strategy paid off, acknowledging the favorable jury verdict will most likely “start new legal trends” in class action talcum powder lawsuit filings across the country. Other Johnson and Johnson lawsuits have rendered sizable damages, including a $417M verdict reached by California jurors.

The pharmaceutical giant has been fortunate in seeing every favorable award against the company overturned on appeal, thus far, and feels confident this most recent Johnson & Johnson baby powder action will be reversed too.

It may be a while before we know if commercial baby powder products cause ovarian cancer and other tumor illnesses. The women in this most recent Johnson & Johnson baby powder lawsuit are certain that talcum gave them ovarian cancer.

Claims Match will continue to follow the cancer litigation trends and post reports as information becomes available. Its recommended that consumers worried about baby powder cancer may want to avoid or limit using talc products until researchers have clearer views on what’s going on.