Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder is iconic.
So iconic, in fact, that the familiar container has been a staple in medicine cabinets and on changing tables for decades. It’s even nostalgic for some people because they associate the smell of the product with babies.
But that’s all about to change.
Johnson & Johnson, a longtime manufacturer of personal care products like soaps, shampoos, lotions, and until recently, baby powder, announced that it will no longer manufacture talc-based powder.
If you’re a baby powder devotee, don’t worry — the company will still produce a cornstarch-based baby powder.
The company has long maintained that there was no asbestos contamination related to its powder. But there have been thousands of lawsuits that claim otherwise. Most claims are made by women who assert that the baby powder caused their ovarian cancer.
J&J lawyers say they will “continue to vigorously defend the product” in court, but sales of the original baby powder had dropped, likely because of the negative publicity surrounding the lawsuits.
Is baby powder dangerous?
When the lawsuits against J&J began, they alleged that talc was causing ovarian cancer. However, there was never any scientific evidence to prove that claim. Instead, lawyers argued that talc mining results in asbestos contamination because the minerals mingle underground. Asbestos has been linked to a variety of respiratory diseases including mesothelioma, and recently was found in common cosmetics.
However, in addition to respiratory concerns, it has been suggested that talcum powder could cause ovarian cancer when the powder’s particles travel through a woman’s vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes to settle in the ovaries after being applied to the genital area.
Updates to J&J baby powder lawsuits
As of March 2020, there were 19,400 lawsuits against J&J related to talcum powder. And, as happens in other situations… you win some, you lose some. Some juries have found J&J responsible for these claims and one case even awarded $4.7 billion to 22 women in 2018.
However, J&J has won some cases, too.
The company is presently appealing almost all of the claims that resulted in a verdict that was unfavorable to the company.
There are still more than 16,000 talc-related lawsuits pending against Johnson & Johnson.
The company said that it’s decision to discontinue manufacturing was due to declining sales, NOT because it believes that the powder has health risks.
What to do if you have a baby powder-related illness
If you’ve been diagnosed with an illness that has been linked to the use of baby powder, you might be eligible to join an existing class-action lawsuit.
We encourage you to contact a personal injury lawyer in your state who’ll advise you of your options and provide guidance on how to proceed with your claim.