Jury Awards $29.4 Million in Talcum-Cancer Trial

March 14, 2019 -- A woman who said her mesothelioma was caused by her regular use of Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder was awarded $24.4 million by a California jury, which also awarded $5 million to her spouse.

The verdict Wednesday in favor of Teresa Leavitt and her spouse, Dean McElroy, came after a trial that started in January, CNN reported.

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the tissue that lines lungs and other organs.

The award is only to repay the couple for their loss. The jury did not award punitive damages -- designed to punish defendants -- from Johnson & Johnson and the other companies involved in making the talcum powder.

Nearly 14,000 cases involving people who believe that J&J's talc powder caused their cancer are making their way through the U.S. legal system. Many of those cases allege that the talc is contaminated with asbestos and that Johnson & Johnson knew that its products were contaminated for decades, CNN reported.

J&J says its products do not contain asbestos, and said it will appeal Wednesday's jury decision.

On Tuesday, the science that may link talc to cancer was discussed at a hearing of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy. It also looked at the possibility of creating a law that would more closely regulate the cosmetic and personal products industry, CNN reported.

There is growing debate in the scientific community about a link between talcum powder and cancer. Some studies have concluded there is a connection, while others have not.

Most suggest that further research is needed, CNN reported.

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