While consumers have been speculating for a decade that baby powders containing talc cause cancer, a recent tort case once again reinforced the rumor with a $55 million award.
The St. Louis jury recently awarded a 62-year-old woman $55 million in damages after she claimed her habitual use of baby powder was a significant factor in her ovarian cancer. The recent award is the second large settlement by Johnson & Johnson over the same dispute. Earlier this year a Missouri jury awarded an Alabama woman $72 million following her death from ovarian cancer. According to media coverage following the trial and award, the jury went against 30 years of research showing that talcum powder is safe to use. There are over 1200 similar cases against Johnson & Johnson still pending.
When a consumer product endangers the health or safety of the public, the manufacturer of the product is responsible for warning the user of possible danger. In the case of talcum powder-related cancer, despite the cases brought against the manufacturer, no talcum powder product currently warns the user not to apply the powder to the genital area; expert witnesses in these recent cases believe such a warning would significantly reduce cancer risk in women.
When a product causes injury or harm, the injured consumer can sue the manufacturer of the product if:
- The product did not carry a warning of danger;
- The consumer can prove harm or illness;
- The consumer can prove that the product directly caused or contributed to the harm or illness;
In the baby powder cases, the juries were sufficiently convinced that the talcum ingredient directly caused cancer. While one plaintiff did not live to receive her ward, the second plaintiff is currently in remission following a hysterectomy. It is likely that, given the large number of similar actions still outstanding, that this will not be the last we hear about talcum powder and ovarian cancer.
At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath we want to keep you and your family safe and healthy. If you have been injured or become ill as a result of a product you’ve purchased, call us at 561-665-1990 or contact us online. We look forward to meeting with you at our West Palm Beach office to discuss your case.