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In recent years, talcum powder has made headlines for its potentially cancer-causing properties. This household essential has been identified as a risk factor for ovarian cancer in women. Talcum powder has long been a popular personal hygiene product and serves as a key ingredient in many other common household products.

The widespread use of talcum powder, coupled with its ties to ovarian cancer, has resulted in billion-dollar jury awards aimed at restoring justice to the women whose lives and fertility have been harmed by talcum powder products and the company that marketed it to consumers for decades.

Timeline of Johnson & Johnson’s Talc Scandal

November 2023

We are accepting cases. If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, Shower to Shower, or other talc-based products, call us immediately at (866) 341-1675. You may be eligible for substantial compensation.

August 2023

August 11, 2023: Although Johnson & Johnson continues to deny that its product is harmful, it has announced it will stop selling talc-based Baby Powder worldwide.

July 2023

Bankruptcy Judge Michael Kaplan dismissed the LTL Management bankruptcy. This was Johnson & Johnson’s second attempt to exploit the bankruptcy system at the expense of women who developed ovarian cancer from using its products.

April 2023

April 4: LTL Management filed for bankruptcy a second time in the same court that previously dismissed its bankruptcy. This time, Johnson & Johnson offered plaintiffs an $8.9 billion trust fund in exchange for being allowed to resolve claims through bankruptcy rather than lawsuits. However, this amount is not enough to compensate the large number of present and future claimants.

2022

August 11: Johnson & Johnson announced that it will stop selling talc-based products worldwide in 2023. The company continues to refuse to admit that its products are dangerous.

February 25: Johnson & Johnson’s bankruptcy bid was affirmed by Judge Michael Kaplan of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court.

2021

October: While this was not the only asbestos lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, it was by far the largest asbestos verdict against it. In response, Johnson & Johnson began to plot a scheme to avoid paying fair compensation.

By October, Johnson & Johnson had hatched a plan to establish a subsidiary, shift its asbestos liabilities to that subsidiary, and have the subsidiary file for bankruptcy. This is infamously known as the Texas two-step. The company, LTL Management LLC, was established in Texas. The bankruptcy was filed in North Carolina but transferred to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New Jersey.

June 1: The United States Supreme Court declined to hear Johnson & Johnson’s appeal of the $2.11 billion verdict. This was Johnson & Johnson’s final appeal. Allowing this verdict to stand forced Johnson & Johnson to pay our clients their long overdue damages.

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2020

June 23: A Missouri appeals court upheld the $4.69 billion verdict but reduced the award to $2.11 billion, which was still a substantial win for our clients.

May 19: In response to its increasing liability, Johnson & Johnson announced that it will no longer market talc-containing products in North America. However, the company denies its products are dangerous and will continue selling talc products overseas.

2018

July 12: Our law firm won a historic verdict of $4.69 billion on behalf of our 22 clients who had contracted ovarian cancer from Johnson & Johnson’s cosmetic talc. Mark Lanier served as lead trial counsel for the plaintiffs.

2002 - 2003

Vermont mine operators repeatedly found chrysotile asbestos in talc that was used for Baby Powder that was sold in Canada.

1984 - 1986

Johnson & Johnson’s test lab found asbestos fibers in samples taken from Johnson & Johnson’s Vermont mines in 1984, 1985, and 1986.

1980

Johnson & Johnson began offering cornstarch products alongside talc products.

1975

Johnson & Johnson found asbestos fibers in five of 17 samples from its primary mine for Baby Powder, including some with “rather high” levels. Johnson & Johnson failed to report it. Fibrous anthophyllite and other forms of asbestos were also found in samples from the Vermont mine, the talc source for Baby Powder for more than 20 years.

1974

Johnson & Johnson failed to disclose to the FDA that testing at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire found actinolite asbestos in its talc.

1973

Johnson & Johnson’s research director wrote in a report that sub-trace quantities of tremolite or actinolite can be identified in the company’s talc. He stated that it would be impossible for any final product to be 100 percent free of “respirable particles.” He suggested cornstarch as a safer alternative.

Johnson & Johnson began a series of attempts to influence FDA policy on asbestos testing, seeking approval to use less sensitive tests.

1972

November 29: Johnson & Johnson described Langer, Selikoff, and Kretchmer as “antagonistic personalities in a memo and labeled Dr. Selikoff as the leader of an “attack on talc.”

Johnson & Johnson submitted samples to the FDA after they had been tested by various laboratories but failed to send a sample tested at the University of Minnesota that showed “incontrovertible asbestos.”

1971

A top researcher at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, Irving Selikoff, discovered asbestos in cosmetic talc.

June 29: In response to Dr. Selikoff’s findings, New York’s environmental protection chief, Jerome Kretchmer, informed the Nixon administration about asbestos in talc, prompting a press conference and an investigation by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Johnson & Johnson denied that its products contained asbestos.

Another researcher from Mount Sinai, mineralogist Arthur Langer, advised Johnson & Johnson that he had found chrysotile asbestos in its cosmetic talc.

A Johnson & Johnson scientist who visited the FDA told Johnson & Johnson’s public relations department in a memo that its talc contained tremolite-actinolite (amphibole asbestos).

1967

In 1967, Johnson & Johnson found tremolite asbestos in a cluster of mines it had purchased in Vermont in 1964. This was documented in a memo dated November 1, 1967, written by the executive in charge of Johnson & Johnson’s talc supply, to inquire about the safety of tremolite.

The doctors who replied warned him that any amount of tremolite was dangerous and that he should minimize it as much as possible. One doctor urged him to consider legal counsel due to the possibility of lawsuits.

Robert Wood Johnson II, the founder’s son, and a retired CEO, expressed concerns about the potential for mothers and babies to suffer adverse effects from inhaling asbestos in Baby Powder.

1957 - 1958

Laboratory testing revealed that Johnson & Johnson’s talc contained less than one percent to as much as three percent contaminants, which the lab described as mostly characteristic of tremolite, a type of asbestos found in the amphibole family, which is the more dangerous type. This talc was mined in Italy.

What is Talc?

Talc is a naturally occurring mineral found in rock deposits. It’s composed of magnesium, silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen. Its composition makes it highly versatile, and it is mined for use in a wide variety of products. It’s a particularly common ingredient in personal care products.

The problem with talc is that it tends to be found in close proximity to another natural mineral: asbestos. Asbestos is a known toxin, and it has long been linked to causing cancer in those exposed to it.

Both talc and asbestos are frequently found in the clay deposits in metamorphic rock. Asbestos veins often run straight through talc deposits.

Concerns for the possibility of cross-contamination of talc and asbestos stretch back to early studies completed in the 1960s and ’70s. Once mined, talc is crushed to a fine powder and distributed for use across a wide range of industries. It’s a common ingredient in paint, plastics, ceramics, paper, and personal care products.

Talcum Powder Uses

Talc is also commonly referred to as talcum powder. Talcum powder’s texture makes it ideal for absorbing moisture, preventing caking, and maintaining an even consistency.

Because of these benefits, Talc is the main ingredient in many personal hygiene products, including some of the following:

talcum powder

BABY POWDER

adult-body-powder

ADULT BODY POWDER

deodorant

BABY POWDER

soap

ADULT BODY POWDER

eyeshadow

EYESHADOW

blush

BLUSH

foundation

FOUNDATION

face powder

FACE POWDER

The use of talc contaminated with asbestos in personal care products is of particular concern because asbestos is known to cause asbestosis.

How does talc cause ovarian cancer?

Studies of talc and ovarian cancer work to distinguish between talc that is contaminated with asbestos and talc that is not.

For now, the scientific consensus holds that there is a direct link between ovarian cancer risk and talcum powder that contains trace amounts of asbestos. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) identifies talc containing asbestos as carcinogenic to humans.

Applying talcum powder directly to the genital area or to sanitary napkins is a common women’s hygiene practice. Studies often look at direct genital use when tracing whether the application of talc to these areas increases the risk of ovarian cancer.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Symptoms of ovarian cancer are more likely to appear once the disease has progressed into the later stages. However, some women might experience symptoms earlier on.

According to the American Cancer Society, the most common signs of ovarian cancer are:

  • Abdominal and pelvic pain
  • Bloating
  • Difficulty eating
  • Feeling full quickly
  • Urinary urgency or frequency

The symptoms of ovarian cancer can also be signs of several other conditions. This can make it difficult to diagnose ovarian cancer promptly.

Secondary symptoms of ovarian cancer that not all women experience might include:

  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Painful intercourse
  • Heavy or irregular bleeding during menstruation

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor and discuss the possibility of ovarian cancer. Ignoring symptoms will allow the disease to progress untreated.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Ovarian Cancer

If your doctor suspects that you have ovarian cancer, you’ll undergo a series of testing procedures to make a conclusive diagnosis. Diagnostic attempts will begin with the least invasive options and progress as necessary.

A conclusive diagnosis may involve the following procedures:

  • Pelvic exam
  • Imaging
  • Blood tests
  • Diagnostic surgery
  • DNA testing

Diagnostic procedures will vary and may depend on the extent to which cancer has progressed. Once a doctor has confirmed that ovarian cancer is present, the patient will then be assigned a rating of stage 1 through stage 4. The stage of cancer indicates how far it has spread throughout the body.

Treatment options for ovarian cancer depend on the stage and how far cancer has progressed and include:

  • Surgery to remove ovaries or uterus
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted drug therapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Palliative care

The treatment suggested by your doctor will depend on the stage and location of cancer, as well as other relevant health factors that might impact treatment outcomes.

Lawsuits Against Johnson & Johnson

Perhaps the best-known talcum powder manufacturer in the country is Johnson & Johnson. The company, also known as J&J, has been selling its well-known talcum powder since 1980. Over 38,000 lawsuits have been filed against J&J for health issues and deaths related to its talc-based powder products.

In addition to the complaint of ovarian cancer in women, the carcinogenic effects extend to the risk of lung cancer when the powder is inhaled. Lawsuits against J&J center around an increased risk of ovarian cancer, lung cancer, other forms of cancer, and other health issues.

In addition to the health concerns linked to Johnson & Johnson products, the company has been accused of being aware of the presence of asbestos in its products for many years and continued to market and sell those products to consumers.

The allegation is that rather than making changes to its product, J&J responded by hiding the fact that its talc was contaminated by asbestos. Ongoing investigations indicate that these claims may be true. 

The first lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson for cancer caused by the company’s baby powder was filed in 2009. Since then, billions in jury verdicts have been awarded to consumers who have taken action against the company over claims of illness linked to its talc-based products.

In June 2021, the company fought to have a $2 billion jury verdict and judgment overturned. Their attempts were denied by the United States Supreme Court, and the judgment was disbursed among the 20 women represented in the lawsuit.

Only in 2020 did Johnson & Johnson finally agree to discontinue the production of talc-based baby powder.

The Lanier Law Firm’s Successful Ovarian Cancer
Cases Against Johnson & Johnson

Asbestos

The Lanier Law Firm has been on the front lines of legal actions against Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products. Attorney Mark Lanier has been featured in Reuters and The New York Times articles investigating Johnson & Johnson’s role in asbestos-laced talc and the dire health ramifications of the company’s products. 

In July 2018, The Lanier Law Firm secured a $4.69 billion verdict for 22 women and their families. The winning lawsuit showed that decades of using Johnson & Johnson baby powder had caused ovarian cancer in the women. It made history as the first jury verdict affirming the link between asbestos-laced talcum powder and ovarian cancer. 

Following the jury verdict and judgment by the Court, The Lanier Law Firm continued representing the victims of Johnson & Johnson as the company sought to have the verdict overturned. The firm successfully fought back against J&J’s attempts to evade responsibility in the Missouri Appellate Court in 2020 and the U.S. Supreme Court in 2021.

With a winning track record of billions of dollars awarded to victims of Johnson & Johnson’s asbestos-laced talc products, The Lanier Law Firm is well-poised to represent additional victims of the company’s hazardous products.

The legal team at The Lanier Law Firm knows that these prior successes aren’t the end; they’re just the beginning of justice being served to the victims of Johnson & Johnson’s deceitful and dangerous business practices.

As more women and their families realize that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder might be the cause of their ovarian cancer, they should know they aren’t alone.

The Lanier Law Firm has proven it knows just what to do to hold Johnson & Johnson accountable for the damage done to its victims. If you or a loved one has developed ovarian cancer and has a history of long-term use of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products, you may be entitled to compensation.

The legal team at The Lanier Law Firm can advise you on whether you have a case for compensation against Johnson & Johnson.

Contact The Lanier Law Firm today for a free and confidential case evaluation.

$4.69 BILLION

VERDICT

ST. LOUIS JURY RETURNS $4.69 BILLION VERDICT IN FIRST TRIAL LINKING BABY POWDER, ASBESTOS AND OVARIAN CANCER

Mark Lanier

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