Fox's case was heard by a jury in St. Louis, Missouri, and is just one of more than 60 cases consolidated into a single suit alleging cancer caused by talcum powder. Fox claimed that for over 35 years she had used baby powder made by J&J and another talc product for feminine hygiene until she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She passed away at the age of 52, on October 6, 2014.
Fox’s attorney presented a document during the trial that showed J&J knew their talcum powder was causing cancer. The letter, dated from 1997, was by a former J&J consultant and it warned the responses by the company to findings from no less than nine scientific studies could result in the talc industry being compared to the cigarette industry.
While the jury found 10-2 against J&J on claims of failure to warn, negligence and conspiracy, it did not find talc manufacturer Imerys Talc America Inc, another defendant, liable.
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Lawsuits have been filed against some talc companies alleging talc powder contains asbestos and consumers were not adequately warned about the risk of asbestos in talc powder. Although home talcum products are supposed to be asbestos-free, there are concerns some talcum products still contain asbestos. Furthermore, it can take decades for exposure to asbestos products to result in mesothelioma and other illnesses, meaning people who were exposed in the 1970s may still be diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses.