Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder is linked to several types of cancer, including a rare disease known as mesothelioma. Another malignancy tied to this once-popular product is ovarian cancer.

A California jury awarded a woman with ovarian cancer $417 million in a landmark verdict against Johnson & Johnson.

The woman claimed she used Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder on herself. The talc-based powder can absorb moisture and keep skin healthy. Women often used it on their children or themselves, but some of the products contain asbestos.

The Los Angeles Superior Court jury’s verdict is one of the largest involving talc and cancer lawsuits. It’s also one of the largest verdicts levied against Johnson & Johnson, which has been the defendant in thousands of cancer lawsuits from people claiming the company’s Baby Powder caused their disease. The $417 million verdict rivals the award of $4.7 billion several years ago to 22 women with ovarian cancer (the verdict was later reduced to $2 billion, which remains the record for Johnson & Johnson lawsuits).

Since the main ingredient was talc, it ran the risk of asbestos contamination. Talc and asbestos are naturally occurring minerals often found in the same geographic areas. Turning talc into talcum powder can lead to sharp asbestos fibers hidden in the product.

Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma, a rare cancer diagnosed in approximately 2,500 people in the United States each year. Asbestos in talc can also cause ovarian cancer and lung cancer.

In 2020, Johnson & Johnson stopped manufacturing and selling the talcum powder product in the United States and Canada. The company eventually stopped selling it worldwide. Johnson & Johnson now manufactures and sells a cornstarch-based baby powder that does not have any known risks of asbestos exposure or cancer.

There are more than 50,000 pending lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, which is trying a bankruptcy maneuver to settle the pending cases and avoid future lawsuits. Bankrupt companies cannot be taken to court, so Johnson & Johnson created a subsidiary to shoulder legal liabilities related to its Baby Powder and then intends for the subsidiary to go bankrupt, allowing the main Johnson & Johnson company to continue operating as normal without the risk of facing a lawsuit.

The tactic will settle the tens of thousands of lawsuits with claimants for less than they’d likely receive from individual settlements or verdicts, which is why many patient advocates criticize Johnson & Johnson’s bankruptcy plan. Johnson & Johnson has tried this legal tactic – called the “Texas Two-Step” – twice before, but courts rejected the plan.

The third attempt only focuses on settling pending ovarian cancer lawsuits. Many of the pending lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson are from people diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

However, a few mesothelioma lawsuits remain unresolved. Mesothelioma lawsuits involving Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder have led to several multi-million-dollar verdicts, including one of $29.4 million and another eclipsing $300 million.

Sources & Author

Devin Golden

About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is a content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.

    Sources & Author

Picture of Devin Golden

About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is a content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.