Talcum Powder Timeline

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baby-powder-adThere is a long history of talcum powder cancer research. Take a look at the timeline below to see how long talc has been under the microscope.

    • August 2017 – On Aug. 21, a Los Angeles, California, jury awarded Plaintiff Eva Echeverria $417 million, finding Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products responsible for her ovarian cancer. This was the first of hundreds of similar cases filed in California to go to trial. (Beasley Allen)
    • June 2017 – The sixth talc trial in St. Louis Circuit Court started as scheduled on June 5, but Circuit Judge Rex Burlison declared a mistrial on June 19 as the result of a U.S. Supreme Court verdict affecting jurisdictional issues. The Supreme Court ruling involved cases filed in California against pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. over injuries allegedly caused by its blood thinner Plavix. The Supreme Court ruled that state courts are limited in their authority to hear claims against companies that are not based in the state, or when the alleged injuries did not occur there. Plaintiffs in the latest talc trial represent the estates of three women who died from ovarian cancer following long-term genital applications of talcum powder, including Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Power and Shower to Shower products.
    • May 2017 – On May 4, 2017, Johnson & Johnson suffered its fourth loss in talcum powder ovarian cancer litigation. A jury in the City of St. Louis found J&J, along with its talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, liable for plaintiff Lois Slemp’s ovarian cancer, and awarded a verdict of more than $110 million. Ms. Slemp, 62, alleged that more than four decades of using talc-containing feminine hygiene products, including Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, led to the development of her cancer. The verdict includes $5.4 million in compensatory damages, and $105 million in punitive damages. Johnson & Johnson and Imerys’ losses in the talc litigation to date total more than $307 million. (Beasley Allen)
    • March 2017 – In the fourth lawsuit to be tried in St. Louis circuit court, jurors found defendants Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America not liable for damages. Nora Daniels, 56, of Columbia, Tenn., was diagnosed with Stage II ovarian cancer following 35 years of genital applications of talc-containing products manufactured and marketed by Johnson & Johnson, which include Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower. Following her diagnosis, surgeons removed a grapefruit-sized tumor, which was found to contain talc particles.
    • October 2016 – A third jury in City of St. Louis, Mo., Circuit Court found Johnson & Johnson liable for the development of Plaintiff Deborah Giannecchini’s ovarian cancer and awarded her a verdict of $70.075 million. Ms. Giannecchini was 59 when she was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer four years ago. Since then, she has gone through multiple surgeries and chemotherapy regimens. For the first time, the jury also held Johnson & Johnson talc supplier Imerys liable for damages as well. The verdict includes $575,000 in medical damages, $2 million in compensatory damages, and $65 million in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson and $2.5 million in punitive damages against Imerys. (Beasley Allen)
    • May 2016 – A second jury in City of St. Louis, Mo., Circuit Court found Johnson & Johnson liable for the development of Plaintiff Gloria Ristesund’s ovarian cancer and awarded her a verdict of $55 million. Ms. Ristesund, 62, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011, after using Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene for more than 40 years. The verdict includes $5 million in actual damages and $50 million in punitive damages. (Beasley Allen)
    • February 2016 – A jury in City of St. Louis, Mo., Circuit Court found Johnson & Johnson liable for the development of Plaintiff Jacqueline Fox’s ovarian cancer and awarded her family a verdict of $72 million. Ms. Fox passed away from her cancer in October 2015. The verdict includes $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages. (Beasley Allen)
    • 2013 – Deanne Berg won the suit against Johnson & Johnson after it failed to warn consumers of the risk of developing ovarian cancer due to its talcum powder products. Berg’s suit was the first suit to claim that asbestos-free talcum powder can still lead to ovarian cancer. (Law360)
    • 2003 – Anticancer Research journal published a large scale review of various reviews, stating that there was a 33 percent increased risk of ovarian cancer with long-term use of talcum powder products. Although the lifetime risk of a woman developing ovarian cancer is relatively low, talcum powder is still considered a viable threat to women’s health. (Cancer.org)

“Anybody who denies [the published research] risks that the talc industry will be perceived by the public like it perceives the cigarette industry: denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.”
– Alfred P. Wehner, J&J toxicology consultant to J&J executives, 1997

  • 1993 – The National Toxicology Program reported that cosmetic talc could cause tumors in animals, despite the lack of asbestos fibers in the talc. FDA still refused to impose regulations on cosmetic talc products. (Natural News)
  • 1992 – Researchers “determined definitely” that the frequent application of talcum powder to a female’s genital area increases the likelihood of developing ovarian cancer. (Law360)
  • 1980’s – Reports indicate that the accidental inhalation of baby powder by infants the harmful substance was used on resulted in thousands of serious infant illnesses and even deaths. (The Ecologist)
  • 1973 – FDA requires talcum powders to be asbestos-free by law. However, a number of studies would go on to prove that asbestos-free talcum powder was still linked to the development of ovarian cancer. (Cancer Council)
  • 1971 – Researchers discover talc particles on 75 percent of ovarian tumors they examined. Despite this study and many other performed by scientists in other countries, Johnson & Johnson would not respond to the allegations until 1982. (Natural News)
  • 1930’s – The first accounts of the harmful effects of talc on human tissue are recorded. These accounts would become the catalyst for future studies on talc and whether or not the mineral is safe for everyday use. – source (The Ecologist)