Massachusetts birth defect attorneys focusing on workplace exposures
The Boston law offices of Thornton Law Firm LLP has a long, distinguished history of helping semiconductor workers and their families seek justice for birth defects caused by exposures in their workplace.
Our firm first represented semiconductor workers with reproductive health injuries in the late 1990s. Our initial semiconductor case, Edward Ayers et al v. Shipley Company, Inc. and J.T. Baker Inc., was one of the first lawsuits filed in the country involving a cleanroom worker in the semiconductor industry who suffered reproductive harm. This suit involved claims against the manufacturers of dangerous semiconductor chemicals. It was successfully resolved in Massachusetts state court after three years of litigation.
Leaders in semiconductor birth defect litigation
Over the past several years, Thornton Law Firm has litigated cases against the manufacturers of semiconductor wafers, chips, and other microelectronic components involving birth defects among the children of employees in the industry. One of these cases alleged that Digital Equipment Corporation in Hudson, Massachusetts failed to provide employees with a safe workplace. This failure resulted in exposures to numerous teratogenic (birth-defect-causing) chemicals such as ethylene glycol ethers (EGEs). Our law firm litigated this case against Digital’s successor, the Hewlett Packard Company, for several years. The case resolved in 2009.
The Pastides Study links semiconductor exposure to spontaneous abortions
The Digital Equipment case was of particular significance as the exposures took place in the same facility that became the subject of the first major epidemiological study of reproductive harm in the semiconductor industry. This study, commonly known as the Pastides Study , was performed by researchers at the University of Massachusetts in the early to mid-1980s and found a significant association between spontaneous abortions and employment in semiconductor manufacturing.
While litigating the Digital Equipment case and other semiconductor birth defect cases in Massachusetts, Thornton Law Firm expanded its representation to hundreds of families with children with birth defects related to work in semiconductor manufacturing facilities across the United States. The firm represents plaintiffs in cases involving semiconductor manufacturing plants in Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and other states. These cases involve birth defects arising from a mother’s and/or father’s exposure. The types of birth defects involved in these cases include:
Broad range of semiconductor workers suffer harm
The semiconductor workers involved in these cases held different positions in manufacturing or fabricating semiconductor wafers, from photolithography operators and etch operators to engineers, maintenance, and even clerical workers. Common to all workers was their presence in the fabs, or manufacturing facilities, where silicon wafers were constructed (fabricated). They worked in so-called cleanrooms that were designed to protect the chips or wafers from contamination. However, the recirculated air and inadequate exhaust on the tools in the cleanrooms resulted in harmful exposures to the workers.
Multiple studies document dangers
It was well known to the industry that certain chemicals integral to the semiconductor manufacturing process (such as ethylene glycol ethers) were reproductively harmful. In fact, the semiconductor’s own trade association, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), informed their members as early as 1982 that EGEs were causing birth defects in animal studies.
Many of the companies in the semiconductor manufacturing industry had health and safety personnel or industrial hygienists who were also aware that, as early as the late 1970s, animal studies existed in published literature reporting birth defects. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the State of California in the early 1980s released official notices of the reproductive hazards associated with EGEs.
These government reports indicated that dermal exposure (skin absorption) was particularly dangerous and should be completely avoided. At the same time, the manufacturers of solvents containing EGEs used in semiconductor manufacturing facilities also informed the semiconductor manufacturers about the availability of safer, less-toxic alternatives to EGEs, known as propylene glycol ethers (PGEs).
Manufacturers knew but failed to act quickly
Although the semiconductor industry had actual knowledge of the reproductive harm of EGEs, the industry’s response was slow. Most companies did not substitute EGEs with PGEs until the mid to late 1990s. This is even more astonishing as the Pastides Study, which reported a positive association between reproductive harm and work in semiconductor manufacturing had been released to the industry years earlier in 1986 .
Several more years lapsed until the industry completed and published its own epidemiological study in 1996 . Not surprisingly, this study confirmed the findings of the earlier Pastides Study. In 1996, a third study by Johns Hopkins University of IBM semiconductor workers was published . It found similar results of elevated miscarriages among workers in the IBM semiconductor manufacturing facilities.
While the industry was undertaking these studies from the mid-1980s to early 1990s, untold numbers of spontaneous abortions and birth defects occurred among the workers in this industry and their children.
Thornton Law Firm and our co-counsel brought the first cases to of this new wave of birth defect semiconductor manufacturing lawsuits to trial in 2011 in cases filed against Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) in the state court of Delaware. The trials of these cases will be followed shortly thereafter by Thornton Law Firm’ other cases filed in Illinois and California.
Trust our birth defect attorneys to help
Contact the Boston law firm of Thornton Law Firm online or at 1-888-491-9726 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in toxic tort and birth defect litigation. Toxic chemicals at your workplace may have caused your child’s birth defect. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case. You have nothing to risk.
 Schenker MB, Gold EB, Beaumont JJ, et al. Association of Spontaneous Abortion and Other Reproductive Effects with Work in the Semiconductor Industry. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 1995;28:639-59.
Beaumont JJ, Swan SH, HammondSK, et al. Historical Cohort Investigation of Spontaneous Abortion in the Semiconductor Health Study: Epidemiologic Methods and Analyses of Risk in Fabrication Overall and in Fabrication Work Groups. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 1995;28:735-50.
Championing victims of toxic substances in clean rooms
Medical and scientific literature has shown that exposure to some chemicals and other toxic substances used in the manufacture of semiconductor chips can cause severe and lasting personal injury. In particular, certain chemicals used in clean rooms, including ethylene glycol ether, have been linked to reproductive problems among workers, including infertility, subfertility, miscarriage, and birth defects in their children. In addition, several chemicals have been linked to cancer.
Early successes in toxic semiconductor litigation
Thornton Law Firm LLP in Boston has been at the forefront of litigation against the semiconductor chip manufacturing industry.
In 2001, after three years of litigation, Thornton Law Firm successfully settled one of the first lawsuits in the country involving a semiconductor chip clean room worker. Ironically, clean rooms were so named because conditions such as air ventilation were designed to protect chips—but not the health of the workers. Clean room workers breathe re-circulated air contaminated with solvents.
Thornton Law Firm continues to represent workers in the semiconductor chip manufacturing industry suffering from health problems. Our clients include children of clean room workers who were born with birth defects, including—
These birth defects may have occurred as a result of their parents’ exposure to various toxic chemicals during gestation. Our clients have causes of action against the companies that are manufacturing semiconductor chips, as well as against the manufacturers of the chemicals that caused their injuries. As a result, workers and their children may be entitled to recover substantial legal damages.
Read more about birth defects for additional information.
Thornton Law Firm occupational disease attorneys
Please visit our significant cases page to see our successes in semiconductor chip exposure cases.
Trust our Massachusetts semiconductor chip exposure lawyers to help
Contact the Boston law firm of Thornton Law Firm LLP online or at 1-888-491-9726 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in personal injury and toxic tort litigation. You have nothing to risk. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case.
Lawyers championing birth defect victims nationwide
Thornton Law Firm in Boston, Massachusetts aggressively litigates legal claims on behalf of children born with major malformations and other serious birth defects caused by exposure to solvents containing toxicants that are hazardous to reproduction.
Using well-established and cutting edge research in epidemiology, toxicology, genetics, and exposure assessment, the firm pursues claims against companies in many industries, including furniture making, industrial manufacturing, scientific laboratories, and others where workers are exposed to toxic chemicals.
It is well-established in scientific literature that certain toxic chemicals can cross the placenta and affect the unborn child, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. Literature also supports claims based on preconception exposure of either the mother or the father. Such exposures permit us to file a legal action on behalf of a child with birth defects directly against the child’s parent’s employer for unsafe working conditions, and claims against the manufacturer and supplier of the damaging industrial solvents.
Further, parents may have substantial loss-of-consortium claims against the manufacturer and supplier because of the long-term disability suffered by these children.
Background on birth defects
A major congenital (present at birth) malformation is perhaps the most catastrophic, long-term, debilitating injury a human being can suffer. Birth defects are major abnormalities of the body’s structure or function that result in physical or mental disability or death. Many children do not survive birth defects—they are the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Annually, between 120,000 and 250,000 newborns, or 3.5% to 8.8 % of all babies born in the United States, suffer from birth defects.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates for the annual number of major birth defects are :
Often, children with a major structural birth defect also suffer from significant, related developmental disabilities. Indeed, high percentages of children with cerebral palsy or mental retardation have been found to have structural defects. Surgery is available to correct or improve certain cosmetic and functional aspects of birth defects, such as cleft palates and certain cardiac conditions. However, many birth defects, such as those related to the central nervous system, cannot be repaired by medical intervention. The result is a permanent disability. Children who do survive often spend their adult lives living with family members or in assisted care facilities.
Causes of birth defects
Recognized causes of birth defects include:
Epidemiologic studies, animal studies, and case reports strongly support the causal relationship between birth defects and exposure to chemicals contained in industrial solvents. These studies most strongly associate solvent exposure to the following types of birth defects:
Occupations with significant exposure to solvents containing teratogens
An analysis of industry data and the published epidemiology identifying elevated rates of birth defects in certain occupations show there are industries which utilize large quantities of organic solvents likely to contain teratogens. Thornton Law Firm has identified the following industries and occupations as the most likely source of birth defects from these chemical exposures:
The teratogenesis of a substance is usually determined by animal studies. These studies have found that one third of industrial solvents tested were found to be teratogenic in laboratory animals. Additionally, animal studies have established that the route of exposure (i.e. inhalation, ingestion, skin contact) is particularly critical in determining whether a solvent is teratogenic.
Epidemiological and toxicological data indicate that the teratogenic chemicals contained in industrial solvents are:
Epidemiologic evidence linking solvents to birth defects
Since the late 1970s, epidemiological studies have found associations between birth defects and exposures to industrial solvents used in different occupations.
The leading study was conducted in six regions of Europe by Dr. Sylvaine Cordier and her colleagues in the Occupational Exposure and Congenital Malformations Working Group and involved 984 cases with major malformations (cleft lips and defects of the neural tube, cardiovascular system, central nervous system, and musculoskeletal system). Researchers found that women whose children had birth defects were 1.4 times more likely to have been occupationally exposed to glycol ethers than women whose children were born without defects . In a prior study, Dr. Cordier had found a 4.5-fold increased risk of congenital malformations following maternal exposure to solvents, predominantly in occupations involving cleaners .
Exposure to aliphatic chlorinated hydrocarbons such as trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, and dichloroethane has been associated with cardiac birth defects in numerous animal studies . Additionally, research on human populations has shown a greater than expected number of infants born with heart defects in areas where drinking water was contaminated with trichloroethylene . In another large study, researchers found an increased incidence of cardiac malformations in children born to mothers who lived in areas with water contaminated with dichloroethylenes and dichloroethanes .
Research conducted in the San Francisco Bay area has shown that the presence of birth defects correlates with the level of industrial pollutants. A 1992 study found that mothers of children with birth defects were 1.5 times more likely to have lived near a contamination site than those whose children did not have birth defects . The fact that the specific defects found in the human studies are consistent with those defects observed in the animal studies is quite significant.
Maternal occupational exposure to organic solvents like toluene, benzene, and xylene is significantly associated with malformations at birth, according to epidemiological literature. In a large meta-analysis of 559 studies, Kristen McMartin and her colleagues at the Motherisk Program in Toronto, Canada concluded that maternal occupational exposure to organic solvents is associated with an increased risk of major malformations .
A case report study found that children born to women who inhaled toluene while working throughout their pregnancy all manifested some common birth defects, including microcephaly, CNS dysfunction, and minor craniofacial and limb anomalies . Other case reports and epidemiological studies show that exposure to organic solvents (toluene, benzene, and xylene) while working increases a mother’s risk of having a child with a congenital defect.
Current solvent litigation
In addition to nearly 100 cases filed by Thornton Law Firm involving birth defects and parental solvent exposure in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, we are currently litigating cases involving birth defects arising from exposures in scientific laboratories, furniture making, and heavy machinery manufacturing.
Our experience has convinced us that further litigation is warranted to expose this largely overlooked public health hazard and to provide relief to those with the greatest need.
Trust our birth defect attorneys to help
Contact the Boston law firm of Thornton Law Firm online or at 1-888-491-9726 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in toxic tort and birth defect litigation. You have nothing to risk. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2013, July 15). Birth Defects: Data & Statistics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved July 31, 2013
 Goldberg SJ, Lebowitz MD, Graver EJ, Hicks S. An association of human congenital cardiac malformations and drinking water contaminants. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 1990;16(1):155-64.
 Shaw GM, Schulman J, Frisch JD, CumminsSK, Harris JA. Congenital malformations and birthweight in areas with potential environmental contamination. Archives of Environmental Health. 1992;47(2):147-54.
 McMartin KI, Chu M, Kopecky E, Einarson TR, Koren G. Pregnancy outcome following maternal organic solvent exposure: a meta-analysis of epidemiologic studies. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 1998;34:288-92.
What is Zantac?
Ranitidine, known commonly by the brand name Zantac, is a popular heartburn treatment. The drug decreases stomach acid production. It was initially available as prescription only in the 1970s but has been available as a generic drug for decades. By 2017 it was still the 48th-most-often prescribed drug in America.
Why Are Zantac and Ranitidine Being Recalled?
The FDA’s recall announcement follows 2019 research finding N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a probable human carcinogen, in ranitidine. FDA testing confirmed the 2019 discovery of NDMA in some ranitidine products. NDMA contamination increases both over time and when the product is stored at higher than room temperatures.
In the recall notice, the FDA said that testing and evaluation showed NDMA in ranitidine increased even under normal storage conditions. The older the product is (the longer since it was manufactured) the greater the level of probable carcinogen NDMA.
A lab in California petitioned the FDA (pdf link) to remove all ranitidine products from the market. Their testing found that after being stored for only 5 days above 70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit) the level of NDMA had risen above the FDA limit.
Injuries Associated with Zantac
The NDMA that can develop within stored Zantac or ranitidine is classified as a probable human carcinogen. That means it probably causes cancer in humans. Studies have shown it is a powerful carcinogen in animal tests. The CDC guidance on NDMA (pdf link) says that in animal studies “after being given by mouth, NDMA enters the bloodstream and goes to many organs of the body in a matter of minutes.”
What Can You Do?
Consumers are advised to stop taking any OTC Zantac or ranitidine in their possession and to speak with their medical providers about alternate treatment opinions. You should retain any unused medication if you believe you may have a legal claim.
Trust Our Massachusetts Zantac Lawyers To Help
Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick of Thornton Law Firm LLP is actively investigating cases on behalf of individuals who took Zantac or ranitidine equivalent products and were thereafter diagnosed with cancer. If you were diagnosed with cancer while using ranitidine or Zantac, you may have a legal claim for damages. Contact Attorney McGoldrick online or at 1-888-341-1405 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in Massachusetts drug and medical device litigation. You have nothing to risk. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case.
Thornton Law Firm Files Pesticide Birth Defect Case Against Monsanto in Maui
Thornton Law Firm, together with co-counsel Waters Kraus & Paul, Galiher DeRobertis and Waxman, and Phillips & Paolicelli, filed a first-of-its-kind complaint in Hawaii state court on October 24, 2019 on behalf of two families whose children were born with severe birth defects as the result of exposure to toxic pesticides used at Monsanto’s GMO fields in the town of Kihei, Maui. The families both live in the same neighborhood downwind and within a few hundred yards of Monsanto’s large genetically engineered seed facility in Kihei. Monsanto is known to have sprayed a series of dangerous pesticides and herbicides known as Restricted Use Pesticides on these fields for decades. As a result of the continuous spraying, the complaint alleges that the prevailing and constant winds on Maui caused those pesticides to drift into the neighboring community of Kihei — where the mothers of the two plaintiffs were exposed to them while pregnant.
The injuries suffered by the parties are severe. One of the plaintiffs was born with her throat detached from her esophagus, which required her to undergo multiple surgeries as an infant, a condition that requires her to utilize a trach tube to this day. The other plaintiff suffers from severe kidney issues that required various surgeries and a severe form of ADHD. Birth defects such as these and others have been closely linked to the exposure of pregnant mothers to toxic pesticides.
News articles about the case can be found here:
What to know
Hawaii, Genetically Engineered Seeds, and Pesticide Use
Genetically-engineered (“GE”) technology is a form of crop modification which allows scientists to create new crop varieties with desirable traits, such as drought resistance, virus resistance, or pesticide resistance. Instead of selecting parent crops with specific traits to cross breed, genetic engineering allows breeders to change a plant’s trait by directly altering that plant’s DNA.
Hawaii became the global epicenter of genetically modified corn in the 2000s, when agrochemical companies Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta and Dow Chemical took over agricultural land that had been abandoned by sugar and pineapple growers. Most varieties of genetically modified corn are designed to be resistant to the herbicides, insecticides and fungicides sold with it by the same company.
Hawaii’s warm and sunny year-round weather allows for three or four crops of genetically modified corn a year, rather than one or two on the U.S. mainland, reducing the time it takes to test and bring a new strain to market from five years to three.
Large multinational corporations like Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta, and BASF operate tens of thousands of acres of fields across Maui, Oahu, and Kauai where they spray various chemicals, including Restricted Use Pesticides. Pregnant mothers’ exposures to certain of these pesticides, through drift or other means, can result in birth defects when the children are born.
Thornton Law Firm is a nationwide leader in groundbreaking litigation representing families of children born with catastrophic birth defects from toxic exposures. The parents of the children the Firm represents were exposed to glycol ethers in semiconductor “clean rooms,” pesticides in agriculture, and a variety of chemicals used in manufacturing. Since 2014, the Firm has obtained settlements in excess of $100 million in cases involving pregnant women in the workplace or the environment who were exposed to ethylene glycol ethers, coal ash, pesticides, and other hazardous substances and had children born with catastrophic birth defects. Partners David C. Strouss and Evan R. Hoffman are leading the effort in Hawaii to hold Monsanto and others accountable for the harm caused by pregnant mothers’ exposures to harmful pesticides.
Our attorneys, using a team of prominent medical and epidemiological experts, and our own public health specialist, thoroughly examine every facet of each pesticide-related birth defect claim. If our investigation shows that a birth defect resulted from negligence or wrongdoing, we put the power of our significant experience and knowledge to work to ensure the responsible parties are held liable and the family is fully compensated. Tell us your birth defect story online or call the Boston lawyers of Thornton Law Firm at 1-888-491-9726 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in toxic tort and birth defect litigation. You have nothing to risk. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case.
Defective 3M Combat Arms Earplugs
From 2003 until 2015, 3M Company sold and distributed millions of pairs of Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2), to the U.S. military. The 3M earplugs were used by U.S. service members, including combat veterans who served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2018, 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million dollars to settle allegations that it knowingly sold defective earplugs to the Department of Defense for use by U.S. servicemembers.
What is a 3M Combat Earplug?
3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs were originally manufactured by 3M’s predecessor, Aero Technologies. The earplugs were designed and marketed by 3M as being dual-purpose. They had a yellow end, and a olive green/black end. One end was designed to block all sounds including gunfire and explosions The other end was intended to block some sound, while allowing soldiers to hear commands and communicate with each other on the battlefield. 3M won the exclusive contract to sell these earplugs to the U. S. government from 2003 until 2015, when they were discontinued.
A Whistleblower Lawsuit Alerted DOJ to the Defective 3M Combat Earplugs
A rival earplug manufacturer filed a False Claims Act suit against 3M in 2016 in which the whistleblower alleged that Aero’s testing showed that the earplugs only reduced noise by less than half the rating required by the military and advertised by 3M. The DOJ intervened in the whistleblower’s suit, alleging defect on slightly different grounds. The DOJ claimed the earplugs were too short and couldn’t be properly inserted into the user’s ears. 3M was allegedly aware that the earplugs were too short for proper insertion into soldier’s ears causing them to gradually and imperceptibly loosen putting servicemembers at risk for hearing loss.
DOJ Settled the Whistleblower Lawsuit
The 3M settlement with the U.S. government was for $9.1 million dollars. The settlement was announced on July 26, 2018.
What Injuries May Be Caused by 3M Combat Arms Earplugs?
Hearing loss and tinnitus, a condition that causes ringing in the ears, were the two most common service-related disabilities as reported by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) in 2017. Service members exposed to dangerous levels of sound while in combat and as part of military service can incur hearing loss if not properly protected.
What Can You Do?
If you have hearing loss, tinnitus or other health problems you believe are connected to 3M Combat Earplugs, you should contact your health provider for medical care. Current and former military servicemembers who served at any time from 2003 to 2015 may be entitled to compensation from 3M for related hearing loss or tinnitus. Please call our toll free number at 888-491-9726 for a free consultation with one of our 3M Combat Earplugs lawyers. Or tell us your story using this contact form to discuss your potential legal options with an experienced products liability attorney.
We are not bringing claims against the U.S. military or the U.S. government. The claims will be brought against 3M Company, a private corporation that sold the defective earplugs.
Talc Powder and Cancer
Powder made from talc has been implicated in the development of cancer. Talc, the softest of all the minerals, has been used for centuries for cosmetic purposes. Crushed, it is used to protect the skin by absorbing moisture and keeping the skin dry, reducing friction and discomfort, and to perfume the skin. It was sold as medicated powder, foot powder, cosmetic powder, aftershave talc, and most notably, baby powder.
Talc is a mineral consisting of the elements magnesium, oxygen and silicon. Like all minerals, talc ore is often contaminated by other minerals. In recent years the presence of asbestos in talc has been extensively studied and tested. Asbestos is a carcinogen, meaning that it causes cancer.
Talc is also used for industrial purposes, which you can read about more here.
Talc and Ovarian Cancer
Using talcum powder in the genital area may raise a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer, according to studies conducted since 1982. Scientists are not exactly sure how talcum powder causes ovarian cancer, but in many cases of ovarian cancer, talc is found in the ovarian tumor itself. Advertisements by many talc manufacturers including Johnson and Johnson recommended women sprinkle talcum powder in their pelvic area, on underwear, and on sanitary napkins. The ads discussed preventing chafing and covering up any odor of the vaginal area so a woman would feel “fresh”. Used in these areas, talcum powder can travel into the fallopian tubes, ovaries, vagina, and uterus.
Talc and Mesothelioma
Because talc often contains asbestos fibers, using talc powder can expose the user to airborne asbestos fibers. Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Because talcum powder is used dry and often applied by shaking, asbestos fibers can float in the air and can be breathed in as talc powder is sprinkled. Mesothelioma is caused by inhaling those microscopic asbestos fibers.
Cosmetic talc and baby powder
There are many kinds of talc powders that have tested positive for the presence of asbestos fibers. Talc powders that have tested positive for the presence of asbestos include:
- Baby powder (Johnson & Johnson)
- Cashmere Bouquet powder ( Colgate)
- Desert Flower Dusting Powder (Shulton, Inc.)
- Kings Men Luxury Talc (Kings Men)
- Old Spice Aftershave Talc (Shulton, Inc.)
- Pinaud Clubman talcum powder (Clubman)
- Shower to Shower powder (Johnson & Johnson)
In research begun in 1973 and released in 1976. Mt Sinai Hospital examined 19 kinds of cosmetic talc . They found asbestos present in 10 of those samples. Products which tested positive for asbestos in Mt. Sinai’s tests:
- ZBT Baby Powder with Baby Oil
- Cashmere Bouquet Body Talc
- Coty Airspun Face Powder
- Rosemary Talc
- Bauer & Black Baby Talc
- Faberge Brut Talc
- Yardley Invisible Talc
- Yardley Black Label Baby Powder
- Mennen Shave Talc, and
- English Leather After Shave Talc
What Can You Do?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or ovarian cancer, and you believe it may be related to your use of talc powder products, call the talcum powder lawyers at Thornton Law Firm 1-888-491-9726 for a free, no-obligation consultation. Or tell us your story online here. Like all legal claims, talc cancer claims have short, strictly enforced time limits. The legal time limits, called the statute of limitations, begin running as soon as you are diagnosed with cancer. Call today to protect your legal rights.
DePuy Attune Knee Replacement Lawsuit
DePuy Attune Knee Problems
The DePuy Synthes Attune total knee arthroplasty (TKA) system has been the subject of hundreds of complaints to the FDA about the knee device’s problems. The DePuy Attune Knee was introduced in 2010 and a recent study finds a higher than normal device failure rate. The failure seems to be related to the cement which holds the device in place.
Study of Attune Knee Replacement FDA Reports
The study, published by the Journal of Knee Surgery, examined Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience reports (MAUDEs) made to the FDA by manufacturers, hospitals, doctors, patients, and consumers. In particular, it studied patients who received a DePuy Attune TKA, and later required revision surgery. In looking at three hospitals, the study found 15 cases of tibial loosening of the cement on the implant. Further, the study authors noted that there were 21 cases of tibial loosening reported to the FDA within the last two months alone. “Numerous other tibial failures” were reported without specifying how the failure occurred.
510(k) Fast Track Approval – Without Product Testing
The DePuy Attune knee system was fast-tracked by the FDA as DePuy represented to the FDA that the Attune knee system was “substantially similar” to devices on the market. The 510(k) FDA approval process allows manufacturers to skip doing clinical trials on a product because it is so close to a product already on the market. DePuy submitted to the FDA that the Attune knee system was substantially equivalent to the following existing knee system devices:
- PFC Sigma© Knee System (cleared as the Darwin Knee System), K943462
- Sigma Patella (cleared s the Darwin Knee System), K950010
- PFC Cruciate Retaining System, Size 1.5, K961685
- Sigma Co-Cr Tibial Trays, K032151
- Sigma XLK Tibial Inserts, K040166
- Sigma CR 150 Femoral Components, K082500
- Zimmer NexGen CR Knee System, K933785
- AMK© Fixed Stem Tibial Tray, K922620
Attune Knee Problems
Despite DePuy’s claim to the FDA that the Attune knee system was an improvement over existing knee replacement devices, Attune implant recipients began complaining about problems with their Attune knee systems. Problems reported by DePuy Attune knee implant recipients include:
- Pain in the joint especially when weight bearing
- Loosening of the joint
- Heat or warmth in the knee
- Joint instability
- Grinding in the knee joint
- Joint swelling
- Water on the knee (effusion)
- Dislocation of the device
- Debonding of the device’s cement
- Decreased range of motion (ROM)
- Attune knee joint out of alignment
- Nerve damage
- Fracture of knee system components
- Debris release from knee
- Fracture of femur or tibia
FDA Attune Component Recall 2015
The Attune device was subject to a Class II FDA recall in 2015. The Attune Knee Tibial Articulation Surface Instruments – tools used to implant the Attune knee implant – were recalled. One component of these, called a Balseal, contained a wire spring coil that could break off inside the patient without the doctor’s knowledge. That DePuy knee recall was terminated by the FDA on November 12, 2015.
Trust Our Massachusetts Attune Knee Implant Attorneys To Help
If you have experienced problems with an Attune knee replacement system, or with any other knee replacement, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim for damages. You may be compensated for medical expenses from surgery to revise and replace your implant, and money damages for the pain, suffering, physical injuries, and any other losses, such as lost income, that you suffered as a result of your injuries.
Call Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick at 1-888-341-1405 or contact the Boston law firm of Thornton Law Firm LLP online or for a confidential, no-cost consultation with a specialist in Massachusetts drug and medical device litigation. If you have had problems with an Attune knee implant, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible, as courts apply strict time limits to all claims. Contact us today for a thorough, fair consideration of your legal claim.
What Is Actemra?
Actemra is prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis. It is a biologic drug, known as a monoclonal antibody. It is administered by injection every 1 to 2 weeks, or by intravenous infusion once a month. It is manufactured by Genentech, a subsidiary of Roche.
Why Is It Prescribed?
The FDA has approved Actemra as a medication for the following conditions:
- Rheumatoid arthritis (moderate to severe)
- Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA)
- Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (PJIA)
- Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (SJIA)
How Does Actemra Work?
In rheumatoid artrhtis and other auto-immune diseases, the body’s own immune system begins to attack and destroy joints and tissue. Actemra works to suppress the immune system by blocking the protein interleukin-6, thereby preventing chronic inflammation.
Actemra, Heart Failure, and Pancreatitis
When Actemra was first approved, Genentech advertised the drug as “unique”, a breakthrough medication that didn’t carry a lot of the risks of other rheumatoid arthritis drugs. But a recent study published by STAT found over 1100 reports of deaths from heart or lung complications after using Actemra.
STAT analyzed more than 500,000 side-effect reports on rheumatoid arthritis drugs, and found clear evidence that the risks of heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and other conditions were as high or higher for Actemra patients than for patients taking some competing drugs.
However, neither the manufacturer or the FDA has moved to inform patients of these serious health risks by adding them to the label of Actemra.
Actemra Side Effects and Injuries
The STAT investigators analyzed more then 500,000 side effect reports to the FDA and found that the risks of heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and other conditions were higher for patients taking Actemra than for patients taking other rheumatoid arthritis drugs. Experts who examined the STAT data said the FDA should consider immediately adding warnings of the risk of heart failure and pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas that has a high risk of death.
A 2016 study released by the American College of Rheumatology in 2016 found that Actemra users had a 1.5 times greater risk of heart attack than patients taking Enbrel, a competing rheumatoid arthritis drug.
The FDA has also received reports of interstitial lung disease (lung scarring), strokes, gastrointestinal holes and tears, tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), tremors, and other side effects of Actemra.
What Can You Do?
If you or someone you love has taken Actemra and suffered heart failure and/or pancreatitis, you may have a legal claim for damages against the manufacturer. Call our Massachusetts Actemra lawyers toll free at 1-888-341-1405, or tell us your story using our online contact form.
Trust Our Massachusetts Actemra Lawyers to Help
Contact the Boston law firm of Thornton Law Firm LLP online or at 1-888-341-1405 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in Massachusetts drug and medical device litigation. You have nothing to risk. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case.
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 39 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.