Law Reviews: Johnson’s baby powder causes cancer? (opinion)
December 19, 2017
How many of you use Johnson & Johnson's baby talcum powder? I know my mom was big on baby powder when we were infants. My soft little buns saw plenty of baby powder.
I also know you can find Johnson's baby powder on the shelves in most supermarkets.
I bet you did not know there are thousands of lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson claiming its talcum (baby) powder is linked to ovarian cancer.
$72 MILLION DOLLAR AWARD
According to news reports, the National Cancer Institute has written “the weight of evidence does not support an association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.”
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In February 2016, a jury awarded Jacqueline Fox, age 62, $10 million in actual damages and $62 million punitive damages, concluding that Johnson & Johnson's Baby Powder, which Fox used for 25 years, contributed to her ovarian cancer.
In related cases, other plaintiffs have been awarded a total of $300 million against Johnson & Johnson for similar talcum powder claims.
Last month, a court of appeal threw out Fox's $72 million award claiming the lawsuit was not filed in the proper jurisdiction. Those plaintiffs, of course, will refile in another court.
$417 MILLION DOLLAR AWARD
A couple of weeks ago, a Los Angeles County superior court threw out a $417 million award a woman named Eva Echeverria won in August. She was found to have ovarian cancer in 2007 after using Johnson's Baby Powder for more than 40 years.
The judge granted Johnson & Johnson's motion for a new trial stating there was "insufficiency of evidence." The judge also noted that $417 million was excessive.
Two huge hits against Johnson & Johnson, both overturned.
And just a few weeks ago, an L.A. County jury ruled in favor of Johnson & Johnson in another high profile case.
LINK TO OVARIAN CANCER?
In these cases, plaintiffs' attorneys cite there is a "statistically significant" correlation between use of the talcum powder and ovarian cancer among long-term users. Defense attorneys put on evidence that no regulatory body has listed a link between use of talcum and cancer.
According to news reports, the National Cancer Institute has written "the weight of evidence does not support an association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer."
GOOD TO KNOW
Junk science or a possible link to ovarian cancer, no matter what you believe, I'd be a little cautious about continuing to use baby powder, at least long-term use by women.
I wrote this column because I was unaware there was even an issue — legitimate or otherwise — and figured you would want to know.
Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, and Reno. His practice areas include: real estate, development, construction, business, HOA's, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.portersimon.com
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