May 2017 brought us news of Lois Slemp’s record-breaking $110.5 milllion lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. But just three months later, a new record has been broken against the same company. Los Angeles resident Eva Echeverria brought forth her case against Johnson & Johnson claiming that they had “failed to adequately warn consumer’s about talcum powder’s potential risks” (5). Eva started regularly using Johnson & Johnson talcum baby powder in the 1950s until 2016, despite being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007.
In her lawsuit, Eva claims that she developed ovarian cancer as a “proximate result of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder” (5).
“Mrs. Echeverria is dying from this ovarian cancer,” said her attorney Mark Robinson. “All she wanted to do was help other women throughout the whole country who have ovarian cancer from using Johnson & Johnson for 20 and 30 years” (5).
The jury has awarded Eva Echeverria with $68 million in compensatory damages and an additional $340 million in punitive damages. However, despite getting a monetary reward, Eva “didn’t really want sympathy,” Robinson said. “She just wanted to get a message out to help these other women” (5).
Editor’s Note: Since the previous update, a California judge overturned Echevarria’s record-breaking $417 million verdict. Judge Maren E. Nelson ruled the plaintiff “failed to meet her burden of proof to show that her use of Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower were the probable cause of her ovarian cancer.”
Nelson went on to say, “the best that can be said is that there was (and is) an on-going debate in the scientific and medical community about whether talc more probably than not causes ovarian cancer and thus giving rise to a duty to warn. Clear and convincing evidence of malice is lacking. In such circumstances an award of punitive damages based on theory of negligent failure to warn of the dangers cannot be sustained.”
Lois Slemp’s Record-Breaking Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson
In early May 2017, Lois Slemp put her name in the record books. A Virginia jury awarded her a record-breaking $110.5 million lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson for her claim that using their talcum powder for 40 years gave her ovarian cancer. Lois Slemp is just one of many who fought the massive company for their carcinogenic product; in fact, about 2,000 lawsuits are currently in progress across the USA (1).
Lois Slemps’ legal victory is following in the footsteps of the late Jackie Fox of Alabama, whose family won a $72 million lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in 2016 for their claim that the long-term use of their products led to her death by ovarian cancer.
Lois Slemp’s attorney, Allen Smith stated in his opening remarks to the jury, “This case is about corporate profit and maintaining a corporate image over human life. That’s what this case is about. And your verdict could prevent potentially hundreds of thousands of women from contracting one of the most deadly forms of cancer.” (2)
Lois Slemp is currently still battling the cancer, which has now spread to her liver.
Talcum Powder Linked to Ovarian Cancer
Attorney Allen Smith states, “Baby Powder and Shower to Shower contain 3 carcinogens: they contain talc, which is a carcinogen, they contain asbestos, which is a known carcinogen, and they contain heavy metals, which are carcinogens… the defendants [Johnson & Johnson] cannot say today that those products are asbestos-free.” (2)
He goes on to say, “The defendants have known about this for 40 years- 4 decades. J & J mines its talc in China. They are known to have impurities in these mines and they do this in an effort to cut costs. Tens of thousands of women have been affected by the genital use of these products and the development of ovarian cancer.” (2)
Dr. Daniel Cramer, who was a witness in the case, as well as the case of the late Jackie Fox, discusses the link between long-term use of talcum powder and cancer. His research findings have pointed to a link between talcum powder used in the genital area and cancer since the 1980’s. In the following interview clip, he shares Johnson & Johnson’s response (or rather, lack of a response) to his urgings to add labels to their products:
In a written statement, Dr. Cramer summarizes his decades of research, stating, “For those who use talcum powder on a regular basis, for those women, there was a 30% increased risk for ovarian cancer.” (3)
Ladies: Replace Talcum Powder With These Alternatives!
Shower to Shower is marketed towards daily use for both men and women. The product web page states “SHOWER to SHOWER® can be used all over your body.” and suggests to “Sprinkle on problem areas to soothe skin that has been irritated from friction. Apply after a bikini wax to help reduce irritation and discomfort.”(4) Similarly, on the Baby Powder product page, it is stated, “We continue to use talc in our products because decades of science have reaffirmed its safety. Because of its safety and effectiveness, we confidently include pharmaceutical grade talc in our products.”
But the truth is, there are much better and far safer ways to help reduce irritation, keep skin smooth and moderate body odors.
- Corn starch
- Baking soda
- Talc-free Powders like Burt’s Bees Dusting Powder
- Natural deodorants like these
You should also read more information about controlling vaginal odors and natural moisturizers. Keeping known and suspected carcinogens away from your body is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
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