Talcum Powder Cancer Risk: Historic Lawsuit

Mar 4, 2016 | Consumer Alerts

In a historic verdict, a St. Louis, Missouri court has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $72 million in damages in a lawsuit centered on its flagship Baby Powder product. Jacqueline Fox used the company’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products for feminine hygiene for over three decades before she developed ovarian cancer. Studies suggest a link between talcum powder products and ovarian cancer. Evidence presented in this lawsuit shows that Johnson & Johnson was aware of these risks since the early 1980s but concealed them from the public. The jury found them liable for fraud, negligence, and conspiracy.

Jacqueline Fox died in October 2015 after a two-and-a-half year battle with cancer, and was not able to see the result of her lawsuit. Her son, Marvin Salter, took over the case, stating that he believed it was what his mother would have wanted.

A South Dakota federal court also found Johnson & Johnson liable for negligence in a similar case in 2013, although no damages were awarded. Approximately 1,200 additional lawsuits regarding talc and talcum powder are now pending. Deanne Berg, the plaintiff in the South Dakota lawsuit, says that she turned down a $1.3 million out-of-court settlement of her case because Johnson & Johnson wanted her to sign a confidentiality agreement. She wanted to make sure that the general public became aware of the risks posed by talc.

Dr. Daniel Cramer, who provided testimony in Ms. Fox’s lawsuit, says that he believes the link between talc and ovarian cancer is persuasive. 20 epidemiological studies have been conducted on the subject, and the majority of them show an increased risk. Traces of talc have also been found in the ovarian tissue of women who have used talcum powder in the genital area. It is believed that talc travels upward into the uterus and the ovaries, causing damage that can eventually lead to cancer.

Johnson & Johnson spokespeople deny that the risk exists and plan to appeal the Missouri verdict. The jury, however, was swayed by internal company documents presented at trial. One memo from a company medical consultant compared the conclusiveness of the risks posed by talc to those posed by smoking. The memo suggested that the company might face a backlash similar to what the tobacco companies experienced once the general public became aware of the truth.

Around 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States each year. The survival rate if cancer is diagnosed early is as high as 92%. However, ovarian cancer is rarely diagnosed this early. Overall mortality is over 50%. This late diagnosis is due to a combination of factors. Ovarian cancer has very few symptoms in its early stages and these symptoms, such as bloating, indigestion, and fatigue, are often mistaken for other conditions. There is also no standard screening for this type of cancer, making it difficult to catch it in its early stages. Many women mistakenly believe that PAP tests screen for ovarian cancer, but this is not the case.

Geoff McDonald and Associates: 804-888-8888.


No Fees Unless We Win

    Vaping and the E-Cigarette Industry; A National Epidemic

    Sleek and minimalist in the design, with a wide variety of flavors and portable chargers able to be discretely plugged into USB-ports; there’s an undeniable convenience behind the technology that fuels ‘vaping’ and the booming e-cigarette industry. Initially promoted...

    Mold Illness: Know the Facts About Toxic Mold

    If there is a mold problem in your home, school, or work place, it can cause serious illness. Children, the elderly, and those with allergies and asthma are most at risk, but anyone can suffer from toxic mold syndrome (TMS). But did you know there are different types...

    Mold Exposure Damages Claims in Virginia

    Mold growth inside living spaces is unhealthy. Apartments, schools, work spaces, offices, and homes that lack proper ventilation and have chronic, undetected (or sudden accidental) water leaks create a damp indoor space that can cause health problems resulting from...

    Hepatitis A Cases in Virginia Linked to Popular Smoothie Chain

    A recent string of Hepatitis A cases in Virginia may be linked to strawberries from popular chain Tropical Smoothie Café. A local NBC affiliate reports that frozen strawberries sourced from Egypt may be to blame, according to the Virginia Department of Health....

    Our Case Results

    Industrial Plant Accident

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Jeffrey A. Breit and Justin M. Sheldon Our client was killed in an industrial accident when an unauthorized worker was operating an overhead crane and pinned our client between…

    Rear-End Crash

    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury, facial trauma, a dislocated hip and severe abdominal trauma when she was rear-ended at a traffic light by a tractor trailer. Suit was commenced shortly after…

    Assault of Log Truck Driver

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Geoffrey R. McDonald, Frank H. Hupfl, Justin M. Sheldon.
    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury after being assaulted and knocked to the ground while fueling his logging…

    Drunk Driving Crash

    Our client suffered neck/head trauma and a broken wrist after his vehicle was struck by a drunk driver while he was stopped at a traffic light. Upon rejection of a settlement offer of $325,000, our litigation…

    Rear-End Collision

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Justin M. Sheldon and Geoff R. McDonald, Richmond
    GMA’s client was injured as a result of a rear-end collision in the greater Richmond area. The crash occurred a little after…

    Client Reviews

    Cheryl and Rich were wonderful and patient with me throughout the case. All of my questions were answered. They really helped me through this tough time and made sure to let me know what was going on. I really thank Geoff…

    Troy Saxby

    My experience with GMA staff was first rate. They always represented in a professional way and made sure I had everything as far as paperwork. Kara and Theo made sure to answer all my questions, was always available and so…

    Shirley Brown

    Geoff McDonald & Associates is the team that you want on the field if you’re in need of top notch legal defense! Mr. Taj Henley demonstrated true customer service skills and his expertise made me feel comfortable throughout the…

    Julian Reeves

    Geoff McDonald & Associates: Thank you Taj Henley for all of your hard work and dedication! Very expeditious in my case and I was very satisfied with my settlement. Will recommend to all my friends and family!

    Shareema Williams

    Geoff is number one in my book and I especially appreciate the support of Mr Henley

    Ebony Conwell

    I was so pleased with the knowledge and support from Mr. Taj Henley

    Kideem Frierson

    Thank you Geoff McDonald &Associates. A special thank you to Mr. Taj Henley

    Denise Conwell

    Mr. Taj Henley displays exceptional professionalism for Geoff McDonald & Associates, along with commendable communication skills and customer service. By his work ethic and commitment to the people he serves his value to any…

    Justin Fitzgerald