Attorney Allen Smith of The Smith Law Firm PLLC, representing a Missouri woman who developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson’s Baby Powder on her genitals for feminine hygiene, told a St. Louis jury during opening arguments, “Your verdict can eliminate a known risk factor for ovarian cancer, the most lethal and deadly form of female cancer we have,” Law360 reported.
The plaintiff, Vickie Forrest, 56, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. She filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson alleging the talc in the consumer health care giant’s iconic baby powder caused her to develop the deadly disease. “We spend billions of dollars a year trying to eliminate risk factors for ovarian cancer,” Smith went on to say. “Your verdict can eliminate a risk factor.”
Smith pointed to studies that associate 10% of ovarian cancer diagnoses and deaths in the U.S. to genital use of talcum powder. Talc is magnesium silicate, the same type of mineral as asbestos, a known carcinogen. Both are formed naturally in the earth. But talc also contains other carcinogens such as heavy metals, like nickel.
Opening testimony also reminded jurors that earlier this year the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers that testing on Johnson’s Baby Powder revealed some samples were contaminated with asbestos. Johnson & Johnson ultimately recalled thousands of bottles of its baby powder, but has maintained that its products are safe.
Smith said that talc, when applied to the genitals, can travel up the vagina and fallopian tubes to the ovary, where it can create a hotbed for cancerous growth.
Ms. Forrest’s case was scheduled to go to trial at the beginning of 2019 along with 12 other plaintiffs, but Johnson & Johnson urged the Missouri Supreme Court to separate the trials so each case could be heard individually.
Ted Meadows, who heads up Beasley Allen’s Talc Litigation team together with Leigh O’Dell, is also working on the trial team on behalf of Ms. Forrest along with Michelle Parfitt of Ashcraft & Gerel. Beasley Allen has been privileged to represent thousands of women who developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson talcum powder on their genitals for feminine hygiene and the firm continues to investigate these cases.