Lawsuits claim talcum powder products caused ovarian cancer

posted on:
August 3, 2015

author:
Jennifer Walker-Journey

Johnson & Johnson refuses to warn women that its talc containing products, like Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, can cause ovarian cancer despite four decades of studies proving a link between the body powders and cancer, and a jury decision that the company was remiss when it failed to warn consumers of this risk.

Deane Berg was the first woman to file a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson alleging regular and long-term use of the company’s Shower to Shower body powder caused her ovarian cancer. She was diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer in 2006 at age 49. In her quest to learn how she developed the disease, she discovered that since the early 1980s, several studies published in medical journals had found that women who regularly used talcum powders in their genital area for personal hygiene were more likely to develop the deadly disease.

An estimated 20,000 women are diagnosed each year with ovarian cancer, and more than 14,000 die. The disease strikes about one in 70 women, though studies show that women who use talc-containing products on their genitals have a one in 50 chance of developing the disease.

Some experts say that as many as 2,000 cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed each year could be attributed to talcum powder use on the genitals.

Berg’s lawsuit went to trial in her hometown of Sioux Falls, S.D., in fall of 2013. The jury awarded no damages in the case, but did find Johnson & Johnson guilty of negligence for failing to warn consumers that using its talc-containing products could cause ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson seemed to brush off this recommendation, opting instead to continue marketing its products as safe, even for babies.

Since Berg’s lawsuit, dozens of others have been filed against Johnson & Johnson and other manufacturers of talc-containing products alleging the companies knew for decades that talcum powder could cause cancer, but they failed to warn women of this risk.

Source: Fair Warning

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