Talcum Powder Lawsuits
Recent reports indicate that more than one thousand lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson (J&J), claiming that the long term use of talc based products, such as Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, has resulted in the development of ovarian cancer. These lawsuits also allege that J&J knew of the link between Talc based powder and the risk of ovarian cancer.
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What is Talcum Powder?
Talcum powder is used for a variety of hygiene and cosmetic purposes. The powder is made of talc, a mineral containing magnesium, silicon and oxygen; and is recognized for its absorbent properties.
For many years, scientists have studied the various ways in which talc may influence the development of cancer throughout different parts of the body. According to the American Cancer Society, there remains concern as to whether long-term exposure to talc fibers could increase the risk of ovarian cancer when regularly applied around the genital area.
Studies assert that talc mineral fibers are exceedingly difficult for the body to break down, and that when talcum powder is applied to the genitals the talc particles can migrate into the ovaries and become embedded in the tissue—causing inflammation that can lead to cancerous tumors. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, classifies the mineral as "possibly carcinogenic to humans."
Studies Link Talc and Cancer
Scientists have reported a possible connection between the use of talcum powder around the female genital area and ovarian cancer since the 1970’s. The earlier research on the subject suggested that talc particles entered a woman’s reproductive system through the vaginal opening, migrating into the cervix and the uterus, and moving through the fallopian tubes to the ovaries.
In 1982, Daniel Cramer, a Harvard University professor and doctor at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, published a report which claimed that women who reported the use of talc around the genital area were three times as likely to develop ovarian cancer. A more recent analysis combining 16 different studies suggests that there is about a 30% increase in ovarian cancer occurrence among regular talcum powder users.
Additional research published in The Lancelet journal suggested that several of the ovarian tumors studied had particles of talc embedded in them.
Johnson & Johnson May Have Known the Risks
Due to its highly absorbent nature, talc is used in products ranging from foot powder to feminine hygiene powders. Johnson & Johnson manufactures talc based products such as Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.
Recent lawsuits claim that more than one thousand women who used J&J talcum powder products regularly over extended periods of time, developed ovarian cancer. Plaintiffs’ attorneys in these lawsuits also allege that J&J was aware of the increased risk associated with the powders’ use near the genital area, yet continued to market the product, specifically with an emphasis towards African American and Hispanic women.
A jury decision made in February, 2016, ordered J&J to pay the family of one cancer victim $72 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Jurors reported that this decision was largely based on internal documents revealed during the trial, demonstrating that J&J knew of the risks as early as 1982, and made no attempts to warn consumers. One such document—a 1997 internal memo from a Johnson & Johnson medical consultant—suggested that those individuals who denied the link between talc use and ovarian cancer could be publicly perceived in the same light as those who denied a link between smoking cigarettes and cancer: “Denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.” The jurors found J&J liable for fraud, negligence and conspiracy.
Talc Victims’ Legal Options
The Law Offices of Peter Angelos is reviewing claims that the talc used in Johnson & Johnson’s products– including Baby Powder and Shower to Shower–has contributed to the development of ovarian cancer. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and previously used Johnson & Johnson talc-based products on or near genital areas, contact our lawyers for a no cost consultation.