Nearly two-dozen studies dating back to 1971 have linked the use of talcum powder to ovarian cancer, yet manufacturers of talc-containing products, such as Johnson & Johnson, refuse to warn consumers of the risks.
The public became more aware of the link between baby powder and ovarian cancer when a baby powder cancer lawsuit was filed in October 2013. A 56-year-old woman sued Johnson & Johnson alleging that regular use of the company’s Shower to Shower body powder for personal hygiene over several years had caused her to develop ovarian cancer.
Three doctors testified that they had examined the plaintiffs’ cancerous ovarian tissue and found talcum powder, which they believe was the cause of the woman’s cancer. One expert witness had spent nearly three decades studying cancer risk with talcum powder and testified that baby powder and body powder could be a contributing factor in as many as 2,200 cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed each year. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff, and agreed that Johnson & Johnson should have warned consumers of the serious risks associated with specific uses of its talc-containing products.
A year later, Johnson & Johnson was slapped with a wrongful death lawsuit in the case of a woman who died in January 2011 after a three-year battle with ovarian cancer. The lawsuit was filed by her husband, who claims his wife’s ovarian cancer was caused by her regular and long-time use of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Johnson & Johnson Shower to Shower body powder. That lawsuit is expected to be heard by a jury in March 2016.
The latest study linking baby powder to ovarian cancer was published in 2013 in the medical journal Cancer Prevention Research. 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 for such use.
Yet, despite the studies and lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson refuses to place warnings on packages of its talcum powder products. Instead, consumers are led to believe that the products are gentle and safe, even for babies.
For more information about talcum powder and its link to ovarian cancer, contact Beasley Allen attorney Ted Meadows at Ted.Meadows@BeasleyAllen.com.