There have been serious suspicions for over 40 years that there is a direct relationship between the use of talcum powder products and the development of cancer of the reproductive system, particularly ovarian cancer. While none of the studies have proven the link between the two conclusively, they have not cleared the powder of suspicion, either. The link has been taken seriously enough to create several individual and class-action law suits against the company most associated with the products, Johnson & Johnson.
Class Action Lawsuit
In a lawsuit filed against Johnson & Johnson in 2013, a lawyer for the business giant was forced to acknowledge the fact that Johnson & Johnson had been aware for decades that their talcum powder products were associated with the development of ovarian cancer. The first study linking the two was conducted in 1971, and it proved that the ovarian tissue in cancer patients who had used the powder on their genitals contained particles of talc which were able to travel into the reproductive organs. This also meant that any product dusted with talcum powder such as diaphragms, sanitary napkins and condoms could put a woman at risk.
Despite the clear risks, Johnson & Johnson chose to ignore the potential link and continued to vigorously promote the products. The company has taken no action other than calling for additional studies, and decided not to put a warning label on the product.
In 2013, Deane Berg became the first plaintiff to win a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson based on the connection between the products and her cancer. Berg, who was then in her 50’s, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006. The lawsuit cited thirty years of using talcum powder including Johnson &Johnson’s Shower-to-Shower body powder. At the trial, Dr. Daniel Cramer, who is a leading authority on talcum-related cancers, testified on Berg’s behalf, and cited a number of cases which strongly suggest a direct connection between the talcum powder and ovarian cancer. The jury’s decision favored Berg and a settlement was reached.
Following the 2013 case, attorneys started actively reviewing women’s claims of having developed ovarian cancer after using talcum powder, and at least one state attorney general’s office is also investigating the company’s marketing policies and sales of talcum powder. In 2014, a year after the first settlement, two class-action suits were filed against the company alleging that Johnson & Johnson is responsible for the development of ovarian cancer in women who used the company’s baby powder and other talcum powder products.
In February 2016, a St. Louis jury hearing a civil suit brought against Johnson & Johnson awarded the family of the late Jackie Fox $72 million. Fox was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2013 and died in 2015 at age 52; her son, Marvin Salter, continued to pursue the case after his mother’s death, and the jury was satisfied that the cause-and-effect connection did exist.
Although a spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson still insisted that there was insufficient evidence to link ovarian cancer with talcum powder and that the verdict went against sound science, Jackie Fox’s attorneys produced an internal Johnson & Johnson memo from September, 1997. The memo, written by one of the company’s own medical consultants suggested a link, and warned that to ignore the risk would be denying the obvious in the face of the evidence. Individual lawsuits and class action lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson continue.
If you or a loved one are a victim of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder, contact a Class Action Lawsuit Attorney today.