$72 million has been awarded to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer that was caused by baby powder and other products containing talcum, produced by Johnson & Johnson. The lawsuit was part of a broader claim, which involved 60 other people. Jackie Fox of Birmingham, Alabama, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer over 2 years ago, after decades of using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder. She sadly did not live to see the verdict. The New Jersey based company has been the target of health and consumer groups over the past few years, due to potentially harmful ingredients in certain items, including its Johnson’s No More Tears Baby Shampoo. In 2009, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics coalition began petitioning the company to remove unsafe ingredients from its baby and adult personal care products. The company finally agreed to eliminate the ingredients 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde (both considered human carcinogens), after three years of negative publicity and boycott threats. Despite the verdict, a spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson issued a statement denying their product’s involvement in causing ovarian cancer. “(The verdict) goes against decades of sound science proving the safety of talc as a cosmetic ingredient in multiple products,” she claimed in a written statement, citing research by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and National Cancer Institute. However, during the trial, a company internal memo from 1997, which was used as evidence read, “anybody who denies (the) risks between hygienic talc use and ovarian cancer will be publicly perceived in the same light as those who denied a link between smoking cigarettes and cancer: denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.” Talc, which is composed of magnesium, silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen, is a naturally occurring substance, and is widely used in cosmetics and personal care products, such as talcum powder. Despite speculation that the $72 million award is unlikely to survive an appeal by the company, the verdict does not reflect well on Johnson & Johnson’s public image. It still faces at least 1,200 lawsuits, possibly thousands more.
If you have suffered from damages due to harmful ingredients in popular household products from companies like Johnson & Johnson, the law firm of Hodes Milman Liebeck can provide you with the assistance you need. Contact us today online at hmlm.com or call 866-730-1976 for a complimentary case evaluation.