Johnson & Johnson, the world's largest maker of health care products, was slammed with a $72 million verdict by a Missouri jury for the death of an Alabama woman who died from ovarian cancer caused by the company's well-known baby powder and other products containing talcum.
The verdict, that was handed down Monday, February 22, 2016, is reported to be the first of among some 1,200 cases nationally involving this product and others that reportedly contain harmful ingredients.
Since May, 2009, a coalition called the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics began pushing Johnson & Johnson to eliminate questionable ingredients from its personal care products. After much negative publicity and a boycott threat by consumers, the company agreed in 2012 to eliminate the potentially carcinogenic ingredients 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde, by last year. For some that has come too late.
In the case involving the 62-year-old Alabama mother who used the company's talcum powder for feminine hygiene for years, died of ovarian cancer last year. Talc is mined from the soil and composed of magnesium, silicon, oxygen and hydrogen. Years ago, it was linked to asbestos.
After deliberating three hours, the jury decided the family was to get $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages, meant to punish the corporation for its behavior. Plaintiffs' experts at trial explained to the jury their studies that linked talc to ovarian cancer.