Who Qualifies for the Talcum Powder Lawsuit?
When faced with a cancer diagnosis, it’s tempting to ask questions like, “Why?” “Why me?” Or “Why my mother?” Unfortunately, there is no answer to that question for many cancer patients. They may never know if they developed cancer because of misfortune, genetics, or exposure to a carcinogen.
But for others, their cancer comes from exposure to a known carcinogen. Sometimes, people knowingly expose themselves to carcinogens-for example, people who smoke cigarettes. In other cases, people expose themselves to a carcinogen without knowing it. For example, thousands of people use talcum powder as part of their daily routine without knowing that it may contain asbestos. These people may qualify for the talcum powder lawsuit.
What Are the Criteria for Filing a Talcum Powder Lawsuit?
The criteria to file a talcum powder lawsuit include details about your medical condition, when and how long you were exposed to talcum powder, and how you were exposed. A mass tort lawsuit lawyer will ask you about your exposure, investigate your medical history, and confirm your talc exposure to see if you qualify for a talcum powder lawsuit. Here are some of the criteria to file a talcum powder lawsuit:
- Medical diagnosis: Lung cancer, mesothelioma, and ovarian cancer have been linked to talcum powder exposure. According to the American Cancer Society, talc has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer. One study in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine links cosmetic talcum powder use with an increased risk of mesothelioma. Cancer Prevention Research reports that genital use of talcum powder has been linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
- Time of exposure: Cancer takes a long time to develop. If you were recently diagnosed with lung cancer, mesothelioma, or ovarian cancer and were recently exposed to talcum powder, you probably do not have a good case. Cancer typically develops years after exposure, so the strongest candidates for a lawsuit were exposed a long time ago.
- Length of exposure: Generally, you must be exposed to talc regularly and for a long time to claim that talcum powder caused your cancer. Many people who developed cancer because of talcum powder were exposed to it every day for many years.
- Medical and family history: If you have a family history of lung cancer, mesothelioma, or ovarian cancer, or your personal medical history increases your risk of developing one of these conditions, you may not qualify for a talcum powder lawsuit. You must be able to prove that if you had not been exposed to talcum powder, you would not have developed cancer.
The Time of Your Diagnosis and Talcum Powder Lawsuits
One critical factor determining whether you qualify for a talcum powder lawsuit is the time of your diagnosis. You do not have forever to file a lawsuit against the negligent talcum powder manufacturer and its suppliers. You must file your lawsuit before your state’s statute of limitations for personal injury runs out.
Most states set a statute of limitations for personal injury at two, three, or four years. Fortunately, the clock does not start when you were first exposed to talc containing asbestos. Most of the time, the clock starts on the day of your diagnosis. A lawyer familiar with the laws in your state can let you know how much time you have to sue.
Types of Cancer and Talcum Powder Lawsuits
While the manufacturers of talcum powder products maintain that talc is safe, some regulatory agencies and trade groups disagree. According to information from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), there have been several reports of asbestos in talc-containing cosmetic products, such as body powder, baby powder, and facial powder. It also states that the U.S. federal agencies, other developed nations, and the World Health Organization (WHO) recognize there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.
In addition, one branch of the WHO, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), classifies talc containing asbestos as a probable carcinogen. The IARC bases this classification on data showing that:
- Case reports suggest an association between talc-containing asbestos and mesothelioma.
- Miners and millers of asbestos-containing talc had higher than normal rates of lung cancer and higher rates of death from lung cancer and respiratory disease.
- Miners of talc that did not contain asbestos had higher than normal rates of lung cancer.
- Women who used talc on the perineal area had roughly twice the risk of developing ovarian cancer when compared to women who did not use talc.
Talcum Powder Manufacturers Hid Knowledge of Asbestos
Talcum manufacturers claim there are no health hazards associated with talcum powder use. They also claim their talc products contain no asbestos or undetectable levels of asbestos. However, Reuters reports that internal documents show that Johnson & Johnson knew that its talc products contained asbestos but failed to warn the public and inform regulatory agencies. According to the Reuters report:
- A consulting agency that tested Johnson & Johnson talc in 1957 and 1958 found asbestos contamination.
- Multiple reports performed by Johnson & Johnson, its supplier, and outside scientists in the 2000s found asbestos contamination.
- In 1976, Johnson & Johnson told the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that its talc samples contained no asbestos even though three tests performed by outside labs from 1972 to 1975 found asbestos contamination.
This evidence shows that Johnson & Johnson was negligent because it failed to warn consumers that its product contained asbestos, a known carcinogen.
Mesothelioma and Talc Lawsuits
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium, which is a lining that covers most internal organs. The Cleveland Clinic states that asbestos exposure to mesothelioma causes most cases of mesothelioma. Because mesothelioma does not form a solid tumor, it is incurable and hard to treat. Treatments aim to relieve symptoms and make the patient more comfortable. Several people who developed mesothelioma because of talc exposure have sued talc manufacturers:
- PR Newswire reports that a jury awarded Judith Winkle a $13 million verdict against the Colgate-Palmolive Company after she developed mesothelioma from using Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder daily for 15 years.
- Reuters reports that a jury awarded Joanne Anderson a $21.7 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier, Imerys, after she developed mesothelioma from using its baby powder,
- PR Newswire also reports that a jury awarded Philip Depoian an $18.07 million verdict against Whittaker Clark & Daniels, a talc supplier, after he developed mesothelioma after years of exposure in his father’s barbershop.
Lung Cancer and Talc Lawsuits
Mayo Clinic states that exposure to asbestos is a known risk factor for developing lung cancer. Unfortunately, miners and millers of talc face workplace exposure to the asbestos that naturally occurs in talc. People who work in the ceramics, paper, rubber, and paint production industries may also be exposed to asbestos from talcum powder.
Asbestos causes lung cancer by irritating the lungs. Asbestos particles are tiny, and when inhaled, they become lodged in small, balloon-like sacs called alveoli. The resulting irritation can cause cancer to develop. People who worked in the industries mentioned above for years who went on to develop lung cancer may qualify to file a talcum powder lawsuit against the manufacturer and supplier of talcum powder.
Ovarian Cancer and Talc Lawsuits
Women who use talcum powder in the genital area may be at increased risk of ovarian cancer. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, many women do not experience symptoms of ovarian cancer until it has already spread to other parts of the body. Advanced cancer is harder to treat and may not be treatable at all.
Thousands of women have sued Johnson & Johnson and other manufacturers of baby powder for damages related to their ovarian cancer diagnoses. Here are some examples of successful cases:
- A $2.1 billion award against Johnson & Johnson shared among 22 women was upheld by the Missouri Court of Appeals, as CNBC reports. This amount was reduced from an original award of $4.69 billion.
- A $110 million award against Johnson & Johnson and its supplier, Imerys, for Lois Slemp, who developed ovarian cancer that eventually spread to her liver, CBS News reports. She used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and Shower to Shower powder for over 40 years.
- A $70 million award against Johnson & Johnson for Deborah Giannecchini, who developed ovarian cancer after years of using the company’s baby powder, according to a CNBC report.
Using Talcum Products Over Time Caused Harm, Plaintiffs Claim
One common element along all these lawsuits is that the plaintiffs used talcum powder over long periods or were exposed to it on the job for a long time. Most people will be exposed to asbestos at some point in their lives, but one or two brief exposures should not cause cancer. It is sustained exposure to the carcinogen that leads to serious health problems.
Many of the women who successfully sued Johnson & Johnson used baby powder daily for years and even decades. A lawyer can discuss your case’s specifics with you to see if you qualify for a talcum powder lawsuit. They will ask you about your daily routine, how many years you kept to that routine, and other details about your exposure to asbestos in talc through personal use or at the workplace.
Building a Talcum Powder Lawsuit for Your Situation
A lawyer can help you build a talc powder lawsuit for your situation. Everyone has a unique story and has suffered losses that are distinct from anyone else’s. A talcum powder lawsuit lawyer with experience handling talcum powder lawsuits will listen to your story, evaluate whether you qualify for a talcum powder lawsuit, and then craft a legal strategy just for you. A lawyer will:
- Investigate your history of talcum powder exposure: You must show you used talcum powder or were exposed to it at work regularly and over a long period. A lawyer may look for receipts showing talcum powder purchases, interview you, and interview witnesses, such as your family members or coworkers, who saw you exposed to talcum powder regularly.
- Gather your medical records: Your medical records show your medical diagnosis of cancer and when the diagnosis was made. This information is critical to your case. You must be diagnosed with a type of cancer associated with talcum powder exposure. Your date of diagnosis is important for determining how much time you have to file a lawsuit.
- Research the connection between talcum powder exposure and cancer: A lawyer will gather scientific evidence highlighting the connection between talcum powder exposure and cancer.
- Research other talcum powder lawsuits: Previous successful lawsuits against talcum powder manufacturers and suppliers may help strengthen your claim.
- Estimate the value of your damages: A lawyer will gather evidence showing the value of the damages that your illness caused.
A lawyer can help you decide on the best approach for obtaining damages from the negligent talcum powder manufacturer and supplier. You may be able to file an individual lawsuit or join a class action lawsuit. A lawyer can present you with the options and advise you on which is the best choice for your situation.
Damages Available in a Talcum Powder Lawsuit
While it is challenging to put a price on your pain, it is the only way to seek compensation for your losses and hold the responsible parties accountable. A mass tort attorney will use evidence related to your case to estimate the value of your damages. You may be able to recover damages for:
- Diagnostic testing
- Cancer treatment
- Rehabilitative therapy
- Prescription medication
- Transportation to and from your treatments
- Loss of income
- Physical pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
- Emotional trauma
If you lost a loved one to cancer caused by talcum powder, you may be able to recover wrongful death damages, such as funeral and burial costs, medical expenses, loss of future income and financial support, and more. A lawyer familiar with your state’s laws will show you the types of wrongful death damages available to you.
You Can Seek Legal Counsel About Filing a Talcum Powder Lawsuit
If you or a loved one developed cancer because of talcum powder exposure, you may be able to recover damages for your medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, and more. A lawyer with experience handling talcum powder lawsuits can tell you who qualifies for the talcum powder lawsuit and if your case meets the criteria.