Talcum Powder Litigation
At least 20 scientific studies dating back to 1971 have linked the use of talcum powder to ovarian cancer. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has designated “perineal [genital] use of talc-based body powder is possibly carcinogenic to humans.” \ However, manufacturers of talc-containing products, such as Johnson & Johnson and its Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products, have refused to acknowledge the link between talc and ovarian cancer and have failed adequately warn consumers of the risks.
Now, more than 1,000 women across the country have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and its talc distributor Imerys, claiming the companies knew of the association between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer yet failed to adequately warn consumers. In February 2016, a jury awarded plaintiffs $72 million after finding J&J’s talcum powder contributed to the development of ovarian cancer. In early May 2016, another jury awarded a separate plaintiff $55 million in a lawsuit against J&J for causing ovarian cancer after 40 years of baby powder use.
Mark P. Robinson, Jr. and his firm, Robinson Calcagnie, Inc., have filed several talc lawsuits to date and are currently investigating potential claims against Johnson & Johnson and others on behalf of talc-users who developed ovarian cancer. If you or a loved one has experienced ovarian cancer after habitual talc use, you may be eligible to file a claim. Contact us for a free and confidential evaluation of your case. We can help you understand your rights and answer any questions you may have.
Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
Baby powder is made from talc, which is a mineral consisting of various elements including magnesium, silicon and oxygen. Talc is structurally similar to asbestos, which is a known carcinogen. Talc is ground to make baby powder which is used to absorb odors and moisture, and is widely available in various products including baby powder and adult facial and body powder. However, if talc products are used regularly in the genital area, the talc particles can migrate from the vagina, up through the fallopian tubes and settle in the ovaries, causing inflammation which can lead to the growth of cancer.
Ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer. More than 22,000 women will receive an ovarian cancer diagnosis in 2016, and more than 14,000 die from the disease. This is due in large part to the fact that ovarian cancer often has no symptoms in its early stages. Later stages can often be associated with symptoms such as loss of appetite, weight loss, bloating, abdominal pain, and changes to bladder and bowel habits. Diagnosis of ovarian cancer is often missed until it has progressed to advanced stages.
Ovarian cancer strikes approximately one in 70 woman. Scientific studies show that woman who habitually use talc products for feminine hygiene have a one in 50 chance of developing the disease. At the talcum powder trials, an expert witness has testified that at least 45,000 women have died as a result of ovarian cancer which can be attributable to genital talcum powder exposure, and an estimated 1,500 women will die in 2016 as a result of talc use.
Johnson & Johnson Failed to Adequately Warn of Ovarian Cancer Risk with its Talcum Powder Products
In 1971, British researchers found talc particles while studying ovarian tissues of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The published study warned that the “potentially harmful effects of talc…in the ovary…should not be ignored.” This study was the first to raise the possibility that talcum powder could pose a risk of ovarian cancer.
In 1982, a study published in the Cancer journal by researcher Daniel Cramer, an epidemiologist, revealed the first statistical link between genital talc use and ovarian cancer. The study showed that women with genital exposure to talc had a 92% (nearly double) increase risk for ovarian cancer. In 1992, a journal published a study which found that frequent use of baby powder triples a women’s risk of developing ovarian cancer.
A 1997 study confirmed the increased risk of talc exposure and ovarian cancer. It should be noted that documents shown to the juries in the lawsuits tried to date have indicated that J & J’s own experts advised the company that numerous scientific studies supported a link between genital use of talc powder and increased risk of ovarian cancer.
By 2003, researchers performed a meta-analysis of 16 talcum powder studies and found statistically significant data suggesting that perineal talc use increased the risk of developing ovarian cancer by 33 percent.
On 2006, the IARC, the World Health Organization cancer agency, declared that perineal use of talc was possibly carcinogenic. It cited “a modest, but unusually consistent, excess risk” while noting that bias in the studies could not be ruled out. Publically, J & J tried to diminish the significance of this designation.
In 2008, another research study confirmed the increased risk between feminine hygienic use of talc and ovarian cancer, citing a 36 percent risk.
The latest study linking baby powder to ovarian cancer was published in 2013. The scientists found that women who had used talcum powder for feminine hygiene were 20 to 30 percent more likely to develop ovarian cancer than women who had never used the powder.
Importantly, since 1982, there have been 20 epidemiological studies finding that long-term use of baby powder for feminine hygiene increases a women’s risk for developing ovarian cancer. Yet, despite these studies and the mounting body of scientific evidence linking talcum powder to ovarian cancer, (which is well-known to J&J), the company refuses to place warnings on packages of its talcum powder products. Instead, without a warning to the contrary, consumers are led to believe the products are safe.
Robinson Calcagnie, Inc. Talcum Powder Lawsuits
Robinson Calcagnie, Inc. is currently investigating and accepting claims from women who developed ovarian cancer after using J&J baby powder. If you or your loved ones have suffered physical, emotional and financial losses attributable to ovarian cancer, please contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.