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A Missouri trial judge recently upheld a substantial $4.69 billion verdict in favor of 22 plaintiffs and their families in an asbestos talcum powder lawsuit against New Jersey-based pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson. Soon after the judge upheld the verdict, Johnson & Johnson continued to deny responsibility in the case and vowed to appeal the decision and have the award overturned.

In his orders, the Circuit Court judge for the City of St. Louis noted there was no reason to further delay certification of the award for appeal and so affirmed the jury’s decision. Johnson & Johnson had chosen not to file any post judgement motions asking the court to reduce or set aside the verdict entirely, thus allowing it to take its case to state appeals courts to try and challenge the jury’s will on technical grounds.

The plaintiffs in the case alleged that they or their relatives developed various types of cancer, including mesothelioma, from years of using Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, Shower to Shower, and other talc-based products developed by the company. While Johnson & Johnson denied its products contained talcum powder or had been talc-free for several decades, the plaintiffs showed internal company documents to the contrary.

A St. Louis jury recently handed down a substantial $550 million verdict in an asbestos talcum powder lawsuit in which several women accused pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson of causing their serious medical conditions. The same jury will also decide whether or not to award additional punitive damages to the plaintiffs as compensation for higher counts of negligence alleged in the asbestos cancer lawsuit.

According to the talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in St. Louis Circuit Court, the 22 female plaintiffs developed ovarian cancer due to the asbestos-contaminated talc contained in products the victims used over a number of years. Sadly, six of the victims in this case passed away due to their ovarian cancer, leaving their surviving family members to carry on their claims and seek justice against powerful companies putting profits before people.

While Johnson & Johnson has claimed for years that its talc-based products are safe and contain no known carcinogens, juries across the country have disagreed, handing down significant verdicts on behalf of plaintiffs. Johnson & Johnson faces an estimated 9,000 talcum powder cancer lawsuits across the country, with plaintiffs alleging that the talc-based products they used caused their cancer diagnoses, including mesothelioma.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring, fibrous mineral which was widely used for insulation and fire resistant materials in construction, ship building, and automobile parts. It is a material used due its strength and ability to insulate and resist heat, electricity, and chemical attack.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned some uses of asbestos back in 1973¹. However, it remains inside millions of buildings and homes today. It still continues to be used in some products imported from outside the country, such as clutches for vehicles and brake pads.

Asbestos is fibrous, and when these needle-like particles are dislodged and become airborne, they are inhaled into the lungs, where they become embedded in the lining of the lungs, creating irritation and eventually, cancer. People also can be exposed by swallowing the fibers. Generally, those exposed to asbestos develop cancer within the first 15 years of being first exposed, according to the American Cancer Society².

Juries continue to rule against Johnson and Johnson, a major producer of talcum powder, in lawsuits brought by women with cancer who contend that the talc asbestos in the powder has caused it. J&J claims that its famous baby powder has never contained asbestos. However, juries have found the talcum powder industry’s defense less compelling than the plaintiffs’. A Missouri court has ordered J&J to compensate more than twenty women who contracted ovarian cancer after using talcum powder, for a total of over $4.6 billion in damages.

How Can Talcum Power Cause Cancer?

The claimants alleged that they contracted ovarian cancer from use of J&J products, including the company’s popular body powder, because the talcum products contained asbestos. J&J has announced its plans to appeal the case. The company is now faced with thousands of legal claims from cancer victims who believe they contracted ovarian cancer from talcum powder made by J&J.

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