Johnson & Johnson was hit with a class action lawsuit in California federal court over claims that its baby powder products significantly increase the risk of ovarian cancer when used by women for personal hygiene.

Talc linked to ovarian cancer

According to studies, women who used talcum powder in their genital area were at a 33 percent increased risk of developing ovarian cancer compared to women who did not use the products on their genitals.

A jury recently found in favor of a woman who sued Johnson & Johnson, claiming that years of using the company’s Shower to Shower powder in her genital area caused her to develop ovarian cancer. A jury found that despite studies that indicated this risk, the consumer health care giant was negligent for not alerting consumers of the cancer risk.

Class action Plaintiff Mona Estrada claims she used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder regularly since 1950, and assumed it was safe. The only warnings on the product’s label were to keep the powder away from the eyes, avoid inhaling it, and to use it only externally.

However, the class action lawsuit states that Johnson & Johnson knew as early as 1982 of the elevated ovarian cancer risk after a study was published and the study’s author was contacted by a Johnson & Johnson doctor. Sixteen years later, the American Cancer Society warned that a new study showed that women who used the powder more frequently and over longer periods of time were at greater risk of ovarian cancer.

“Despite the potential catastrophic health consequences, defendants do not tell consumers about the dangers associated with the talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder,” the lawsuit states. “Instead, defendants continue to expressly and impliedly represent that the product is safe and intended for women to use the Baby Powder in the very manner most likely to result in an increased risk of ovarian cancer.”

Courthouse News

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