Could the talcum powder you have been using to feel fresh and dry cause cancer? Yes, say cancer victims in the more than 2,000 lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson, makers of the products Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower. The plaintiffs allege that Johnson & Johnson knew about the cancer risk, but did not adequately warn consumers.
It is estimated that as many as 10,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with ovarian cancer resulting from the use of talcum powder each year. So far this year, at least three talcum baby powder ovarian cancer cases have gone to trial, resulting in multimillion-dollar damage awards. The most recent came in October when a Missouri jury awarded $70 million in damages to Deborah Giannecchini, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012 following years of using talcum powder for “feminine hygiene.”
The Problem With Talcum Powder
Talcum powder is made from talc, a mineral made up mainly of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. People use talcum powder to absorb moisture and cut down on friction to help keep skin dry and prevent rashes. It is often used in baby powder and adult body and facial powders.
Some talc naturally contains asbestos, which is known to cause lung cancers when inhaled. Therefore, U.S. talcum products have been asbestos-free since the 1970s. However, even talc without asbestos is dangerous. There is increasing evidence that talcum powder increases the risk of ovarian cancer in women who use the product for feminine hygiene by applying it in the genital area.
What Studies Show
Laboratory and human studies on talc have shown the following:
- According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC),talc with asbestos is classified as “carcinogenic to humans.”
- Due to lack of data from studies, IARC classifies inhaled talc without asbestos as “not classifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans.”
- However, based on limited evidence from human studies of a link to ovarian cancer, IARC classifies the perineal (genital) use of talc-based body powder as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
According to the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer, frequent talcum powder use on the female genital area increases the risk of ovarian cancer by 30% to 60%.
A lawsuit filed by Alme Kennedy in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on November 18 states that “overwhelming scientific and medical evidence has established a causal link between talcum baby powder and ovarian cancer.” The suit states that as early as 1961, research showed that talc can move from the exterior of the genital area to the ovaries of women, and studies have found talc particles “deeply embedded” in ovarian tumors. It points to a statistically significant increased risk of ovarian cancer following genital talc use.
Why Johnson & Johnson May Be At Fault
In an article in the New York Times, manufacturers admitted to being aware of a study that concluded women were three times more likely to develop ovarian cancer after daily use of talcum powder in the genital area.
During case investigations, documents were found showing that Johnson & Johnson were made aware of the risks of talcum powder as early as 1982. Still, the company did not change the formula, inform the medical community, or even warn consumers of the risk.
What is Happening With the Lawsuits
The $70 million Missouri settlement was awarded after the jury found that Johnson & Johnson was liable for the injuries the plaintiff suffered as a result of using the company’s talcum powder products. This is the third large verdict this year, with $72 million and $55 million awards in separate verdicts. Johnson & Johnson is appealing all three verdicts against it.
In the Missouri case, the jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $2.5 million for compensatory damages and another $65 million in punitive damages. In addition, Imerys Talc America, a supplier included as a co-defendant in the case, was ordered to pay $2.5 million in compensatory damages.
Currently, a panel of federal judges ordered that all talcum powder lawsuits filed at the federal level will be consolidated before one judge, District Judge Freda Wolfson, in the District of New Jersey. If settlements are not reached during the coordinated proceedings, each case may go back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for a separate trial date in the future.
Contact Us For Honest Answers About Talcum Powder Cancer Lawsuits
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talc-based powder products, you may be entitled to compensation for medical care, pain, suffering, and loss.
We offer a free telephone consultation to examine the facts of your individual situation and determine the best option for you. Don’t delay. Consult us today by calling 1-877-962-9411, or use our online contact form.