For generations, millions of women relied on Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder for feminine hygiene purposes. Unfortunately, this seemingly innocuous use may have resulted in something sinister and deadly – ovarian cancer.
On May 2, Johnson & Johnson lost another lawsuit by a plaintiff alleging its talcum powder caused her ovarian cancer. A jury in St. Louis, Missouri awarded a South Dakota woman $55 million for her claim that years of using Johnson & Johnson’s product was responsible for her ovarian cancer. In February, another jury – also in St. Louis – awarded $72 million to an Alabama woman’s family. The woman died from ovarian cancer and used Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder regularly. Johnson & Johnson announced it plans to appeal both decisions.
Talcum Powder Lawsuits
Currently, about 1,200 talcum powder lawsuits from people with ovarian cancer or their survivors are pending in St. Louis and New Jersey courts. The suits allege that Johnson & Johnson knew as early as the 1970s that there was a link between their product and the development of ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson marketed baby powder containing talc and Shower-to-Shower, a talcum-powder product aimed at adult females. In court testimony, Harvard University’s Dr. Daniel Cramer stated that talcum powder use was likely the cause of 10,000 annual cases of ovarian cancer. In the Alabama case, a 1997 memo was introduced as evidence. The memo, from a Johnson & Johnson medical consultant, suggested a link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder use in strong language.
Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
Talcum powder derives from talc. This mineral consists of silicon, magnesium and oxygen, and has a variety of cosmetic and industrial uses. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified talc as a possible human carcinogen in 2006.
Ovarian cancer is especially deadly because early signs of the disease are often mistaken for mild gastrointestinal issues, such as bloating. By the time the cancer is discovered, it has usually spread and eventually proves fatal. It is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in the United States and, obviously, all of the cases are women. Overall, a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer is one in 70. If she has used talcum powder for long-term feminine hygiene, the risk expands to one in 50. Women using talcum powder on their genitals, placing it on sanitary napkins, or using it on diaphragms increase their ovarian cancer risk by 33 percent.
Marketing to Minorities
Among the revelations in the Alabama case was that after Johnson & Johnson received information regarding the link between its products and ovarian cancer, it stepped up marketing talcum powder to women in the African-American and Latino community.
The Goldwater Law Firm
If you or someone you know was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and regularly used talcum powder, call the Goldwater Law Firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses related to the condition, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. Our attorneys will evaluate the details of your case to make sure you understand your rights and options before moving forward. Contact the Goldwater Law Firm today.