The initial reaction to a cancer diagnosis is often shock and disbelief, and it’s not uncommon for patients to try to understand why their cancer developed in the first place, according to the consumer publication CURE (Cancer Updates, Research & Education). Ovarian cancer and mesothelioma victims often find out too late that they were exposed to the carcinogenic mineral asbestos either at the workplace or from using talcum powder products.
Ovarian cancer is the most deadly form of cancer of the female reproductive organs. Studies suggest using talcum powder products on the genitals for feminine hygiene could put women at greater risk of ovarian cancer.
Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer that develops in the lining that surrounds the lungs, abdomen or chest. It can take up to 50 years for mesothelioma to develop. Once diagnosed, it often proves deadly within 18 months. Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure.
Asbestos is a fibrious mineral that was widely used in construction and shipbuilding materials as well as friction products like automotive brakes, until the 1980s, when restrictions were placed on its use due to its carcinogenic properties. Those who work around these products can be exposed to airborne asbestos fibers, putting them at risk for asbestos-related diseases.
Asbestos industry officials knew for decades that exposure to asbestos was dangerous. Yet, they never warned those who worked with their products of the serious risks. Since manufacturers, distributors and sellers of asbestos-contaminated products didn’t protect workers, those who were exposed to cancer-causing asbestos may be entitled to compensation.
Most asbestos lawsuits are settled before they reach trial. Among those that did get tried in 2017, more than 60 percent of plaintiffs were awarded damages, according to Mealey’s Litigation Report. The largest verdict resulted in $81.5 million damages to the family of a man who developed mesothelioma after he was allegedly exposed to asbestos products from Genuine Parts Co. and National Automotive parts Association (NAPA).
Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier, Imerys, also faced a wave of trials alleging the companies’ talc was contaminated with asbestos and contributed to either mesothelioma or ovarian cancer diagnoses.
Asbestos lawsuits continued into 2018. During the first six months of the year, juries have awarded more than $290 million to asbestos victims, pushing the average award to more than $18 million, according to Mealey’s Litigation Report. This boost in the average asbestos award is due largely to huge verdicts in talc cases including a $117 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson.
That average is likely to increase, as the numbers do not reflect the July 2018 verdict against Johnson & Johnson during which a Missouri jury awarded a staggering $4.69 billion to 22 women who claimed the company’s talcum powder products contained asbestos and caused them to develop ovarian cancer.
American Cancer Society
Mealey’s Litigation Report
Lexis Legal News