After enduring several very expensive verdicts in Missouri, Johnson & Johnson lost its first California talcum trial and has been ordered to pay $417 million in damages.
First Talcum Trial California
The first California case to go to trial, one of more than 300 currently pending in the state, was heard in Los Angeles, where jurors found in favor of a 63-year-old California woman who claimed that her ovarian cancer resulted from her use of J&J’s talcum powder products from the age of eleven.
Johnson & Johnson has been on the losing end of four of the five talc-ovarian cancer cases that have gone to trial in St. Louis over the past year, with verdicts totaling more than $197 million. In April 2016, J&J and its talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, claimed a rare victory when a St. Louis jury found in favor of the companies, clearing them of responsibility for the ovarian cancer of a woman who claimed that her use of the company’s baby powder products led to the disease.
Talc Powder “Possibly Carcinogenic To Humans”
While there is no definitive answer to whether or not talcum powder causes ovarian cancer, several studies conducted over the past 30 years have found an increased risk – between 20 to 40 percent – of ovarian cancer among talc users. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has said that the use of talcum-based powder in the genital area is “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” although the American Cancer Society says more research is needed to establish a solid link.
Numerous talcum powder lawsuits allege that long-term use of Johnson’s talcum powder for feminine hygiene has increased the risk of ovarian cancer for thousands of women. Approximately 4,800 state and federal cases are currently pending against J&J, mostly in Missouri, New Jersey, and California. The lawsuits allege that J&J ignored numerous studies that linked its talc products to ovarian cancer and neglected to warn consumers of the risk.