LOS ANGELES — A jury in a Los Angeles talcum powder lawsuit has awarded the plaintiff a $13 million judgment after only 2 hours of deliberation. Of this $13 million judgment, $1.4 million was awarded to the plaintiff’s husband for his damages. The plaintiff is a 73-year-old woman who alleged that she contracted mesothelioma, a rare but often deadly form of lung cancer, because she used talcum powder that contained asbestos at the time of the use. The jury found that Colgate-Palmolive’s talcum powder was 95% responsible for the plaintiff contracting mesothelioma, and they ruled that the manufacturer was negligent for making and selling the product without warning the buyers of the substantial danger of the product.
Although the United States Food and Drug administration tests to make sure that there is no asbestos in talcum powder currently on the market, the brand of talcum powder in this case was sold and consumed in the 1990s, and asbestos has been suspected to have been used in talcum powder since the 1970s. For decades, studies have linked talcum powder with ovarian cancer. However, these studies have mostly been confined to medical circles and have not been widely publicized.
Although this is the first verdict for this type of talcum powder, there are several other talcum powder cases that are currently pending, typically regarding ovarian cancer. Many of these lawsuits name Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi US, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Chattem and Imerys Talc America, Inc. as the defendants and allege that the plaintiffs developed cancer after using talcum powder for feminine hygiene, for which the manufacturers had marketed the product. The lawsuits allege that the manufacturers hid the risks of their talcum powder causing cancer, and some also allege that the companies had a dedicated team whose job it was to conceal the health risks from talcum powder consumers.
Despite the verdict in this case, Colgate-Palmolive has maintained that their talcum powder did not cause the plaintiff’s cancer, but they will not be appealing the verdict and have instead reached a private settlement with the plaintiff.
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