Keller, Fishback & Jackson LLP is representing women nationwide in baby powder cases. If you used talcum powder marketed by Johnson & Johnson, or another company, for feminine hygiene and were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, we would like to speak with you to discuss your rights.
Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
It has been known for years that talcum powder, or baby powder, increases the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Despite this knowledge, Johnson & Johnson has never warned women about this potentially lethal risk. Instead, Johnson & Johnson has ignored the risk for decades and refused to warn women about the cancer link. As recently as May 2014, Johnson & Johnson insisted that "the safety of talc is supported by decades of scientific evidence and independent peer-reviewed studies." In fact, the opposite is true.
Research conducted as early as 1961 demonstrated that particles similar to talc can relocate from the exterior genital area to the ovaries of women. The first study to suggest a link between ovarian cancer and talc powder use was conducted in 1971. In that study, researchers found talc particles "deeply embedded” in 10 of 13 ovarian tumors and 12 of 21 cervical tumors. In 1982, a researcher at the Boston Hospital for Women, Division of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, found that talc applied directly to the genital area around the time of ovulation leads to talc particles becoming deeply imbedded in the ovary and leading to a foreign body reaction and growth of epithelial ovarian tissue. The study found a statistically significant 92% increased risk of ovarian cancer from genital talc use.
Since 1982, there have been at least 20 additional studies finding that long-term use of baby powder for feminine hygiene increases the risk of developing ovarian cancer. In 1993, the United States Toxicology Program published a study on the toxicity of non-asbestiform talc and found evidence of its carcinogenicity. As a result, talc was found to be a carcinogen, with or without the presence of asbestos-like fibers. In February 2006, the International Association for the Research of Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization, published a study in which it classified genital use of talc-based baby powder as a "Group 2B” possible human carcinogen. IARC, which is universally accepted as the international authority on cancer issues, concluded that studies from around the world consistently found an increased risk of ovarian cancer in women who used baby powder for feminine hygiene. IARC found an increased risk of ovarian cancer in women talc users ranging from 30% to 60%.
In 2006, the Canadian government classified talc as a "D2A,” "very toxic,” "cancer causing” substance under its Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). As of today, both the National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society list genital talc as a "risk factor” for ovarian cancer. Moreover, the Gilda Radner Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry, along with other entities, publishes a pamphlet, "Myths & facts about ovarian cancer: What you need to know.” Listed in the publication under known risk factors for ovarian cancer is "use of talc (baby powder) in the genital area.”
Biologic Mechanism for Talcum Powder to Cause Cancer
Baby powder is made from talc, a mineral principally consisting of magnesium, silicon and oxygen. Talc is structurally similar to asbestos, a known carcinogen. When baby powder is manufactured, the mineral absorbs moisture and reduces friction. If baby powder is used in the genital area, the particles can easily migrate from the vagina into the ovaries, where they become trapped. The trapped particles cause inflammation, which can lead to the growth of cancer cells.
Johnson & Johnson Fails to Warn Consumers
Despite the overwhelming body of medical and scientific literature supporting a connection between baby powder and ovarian cancer, Johnson & Johnson has never warned consumers in the United States about this potentially dangerous risk. Johnson & Johnson has continued to deny the link to ovarian cancer and has never put a warning label on any of its baby powder products.
Lawsuits in Baby Powder Cases
In February 2016, a jury in St. Louis, Missouri, awarded $72 million to the family of a woman who died of ovarian cancer after using baby powder for feminine hygiene for decades. $62 million of the verdict was for punitive damages. At trial, an epidemiologist testified that the data linking hormone therapy to breast cancer is statistically smaller than the data linking baby powder to ovarian cancer. Nonetheless, while hormone therapy is now considered to be a serious cancer risk, the use of baby powder for feminine hygiene remains unrecognized as a potentially lethal danger.
In May 2016, another jury in St. Louis awarded $55 million to a woman who used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder for over 35 years before she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. These cases brought to light internal corporate documents showing that the company was well aware of studies linking baby powder to ovarian cancer, but made a calculated decision to continue marketing baby powder for feminine hygiene as safe.
Call Us Today
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using baby powder for feminine hygiene, contact us today for a free legal consultation at 1-866-529-4968 (1-866-LAW-4-YOU), or [email protected].