Ovarian cancer linked to talcum powder

Use of talcum powder on the genitals and perineal area, including on sanitary napkins, may raise a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer, according to scientific studies conducted since 1982. Millions of women have used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and Shower to Shower talc powders for years because J&J advertised them as safe for feminine hygiene use. Despite being aware of the studies linking talcum powder use and ovarian cancer, Johnson & Johnson has never placed warning labels on its talc powder products, even today. And they have failed to take the easy step of removing the talc powder from the market and selling the cornstarch powder they already produce.

What is talcum powder?

Talcum powder contains talc, a naturally-occurring, very soft mineral made up mainly of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. Talcum powder has been sold for many years for use on babies and marketed to adults as a cosmetic and hygienic product.

How does talcum powder cause ovarian cancer?

Scientists are not sure exactly how talcum powder causes ovarian cancer. However, in many cases of ovarian cancer, talc is found in the ovarian tumor itself. Through its advertising, Johnson and Johnson advised that women sprinkle talcum powder in their genital area, and on underwear and sanitary pads. This was recommended to keep the vaginal area dry, to prevent chafing, and to cover up any odor of the vaginal area. Used in these areas, talcum powder can travel into the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes and the ovaries.

Is it safe to use talcum powder?

Many pediatricians recommend against using talcum powder on babies. The American Pediatric Association recommends against using any powder on a baby, no matter the ingredients because inhaling powder can cause an inflammatory reaction in the lungs. The American Cancer Society advised in 1999 that women use cornstarch powder, rather than talcum powder, in the genital area.

Lawsuits against Johnson and Johnson and its talc suppliers

May, 2016:  A St. Louis jury awarded $72 million dollars to the family of a woman who developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder for many years. The jury awarded $10 million dollars in compensatory damages and $62 million dollars to the family of an Alabama woman. Plaintiff Jackie Fox died of ovarian cancer on October 6th. She had used Johnson & Johnson baby powder and “Shower to Shower” talcum powder for 35 years.

Fox’s family submitted expert medical testimony that talcum powder causes ovarian cancer. Statistical evidence presented at trial also showed that 1,500 women per year die from the association between talcum powder and ovarian cancer.

May, 2016: A South Dakota woman was awarded $55 million dollars against Johnson & Johnson for developing ovarian cancer after decades of using J&J talcum powder products. The jury awarded $5 million dollars in compensatory damages and $50 million dollars in punitive damages.

The plaintiff, Gloria Ristesund, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011 after using J&J Baby Powder and Shower to Shower powder as advertised, on her genital area, for almost 40 years. She is in remission after undergoing a full hysterectomy. Her lawsuit charged Johnson & Johnson of failing to warn of the cancer risk of using talcum powder or failing to remove talc from the powder and replace it with cornstarch which has similar soothing properties. The jury found in her favor after one day of deliberations following a three-week trial.

October, 2016:  A St. Louis jury awarded a California woman $70 million dollars in her lawsuit claiming that years of using Johnson & Johnson’s talc baby powder caused her ovarian cancer.

The 63-year-old plaintiff, Deborah Giannecchini, used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder for feminine hygiene for four decades before she was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer in 2012. She has undergone multiple surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy to treat cancer. Evidence was introduced that she has an 80% chance of dying in the next two years.

What can you do?

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talcum powder, you may have a claim for damages. Contact the defective product lawyers at Thornton Law Firm for a free, confidential evaluation of your legal rights at 1-888-341-1405. Or tell us your story here for a free and thorough evaluation of your legal rights.

Trust our Massachusetts defective product attorneys to help

Contact Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick and tell her your story online or call her at 1-888-341-1405 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in Massachusetts defective product litigation. You have nothing to risk. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case.