Talcum (baby) powder manufacturer Johnson & Johnson has come under fire in recent years because its product has been tied to ovarian and cervical cancer. In the most recent lawsuit against the company, a 63-year-old medical receptionist from Los Angeles, California was awarded $417 million after developing ovarian cancer, a diagnosis tied to talcum powder use.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, and believe talcum powder could be the cause of it, contact Steinger, Iscoe & Greene to speak with a talcum powder lawsuit attorney today. We can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Baby powder, a scented form of talcum powder, was first created in 1892 by Johnson & Johnson as a sanitary product for “toilet and nursery.” It quickly became a household product, and even today, the smell of baby powder is strongly associated with newborns. Because of its ability to absorb moisture and bad odors, as well as prevent irritation, women began using talcum powder on or near their genital area.
However, later studies showed that talcum powder wasn’t as safe as it originally seemed. In 1971, scientists from Wales were researching various ovarian and cervical tumors, and found particles of talc embedded in those tumors. Yet, even after these findings, Johnson & Johnson did not put any kind of warning on their products about the risk of cancer.
According to the company, the link between baby powder use and the development of ovarian cancer isn’t immediately clear. Further studies have been conducted regarding the link between talcum powder and cancer, but the findings have been inconsistent. However, experts believe particles could move up the genitourinary tract to the area near the ovaries, causing inflammation. This inflammation is believed to be a major factor in the development of cancer.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer classified the product as a possible carcinogen if it’s used in the female genital area. This decision was made in 2006. Yet, no federal agency has acted to force manufacturers to add warnings or take other preventative measures.
In the most recent lawsuit, the medical receptionist stated she had been using baby powder since she was 11 years old, unaware of the potential side effects. Because the possible links to cancer weren’t disclosed by Johnson & Johnson, she continued to use the powder even after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007. It was only after a different lawsuit was brought forward against the company that she heard about the risk of baby powder and discontinued use.
Only a few other lawsuits have made it to trial. Judges often dismiss these cases, but as more and more are brought forward, there is a greater chance they will be heard. In May of 2017, a judge in Missouri awarded a victim $110 million. The year before, juries in Missouri also awarded $72 million to one victim who died before the verdict, and $55 million to a different victim.
Regarding the most recent case, Johnson & Johnson has said the company would appeal the decision. In a statement, a spokesperson for the company said science doesn’t support the theory that baby powder causes cancer. The statement pointed to a study from the National Cancer Institute that states, “The weight of evidence does not support an association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.”
However, elsewhere in the report, the Institute is more ambiguous, stating “it is not clear” whether or not there is an increased risk of ovarian cancer for those that use talcum powder.
Without proper diagnosis, determining whether or not you may have ovarian cancer can be tricky. This is because victims often don’t feel any symptoms in the early stage, and if they do experience symptoms, they can be indicative of any number of conditions. As such, it’s estimated that only 20 percent of cases are diagnosed in the early stages.
Common symptoms may include:
Because these symptoms are so common, it’s not abnormal for victims to not realize there’s a problem until the cancer has progressed to an advanced stage. Once a pelvic mass has developed, you may experience:
If you experience any of these symptoms, it may be advisable to visit your doctor, especially if you have used talcum powder on or near your genital area.
If you’ve been diagnosed with ovarian or cervical cancer, and you believe it may be linked to talcum powder use, you have legal rights. Call Steinger, Iscoe & Greene today to speak with a talcum powder lawsuit attorney about your case. We have recovered over $1 billion for our clients, and we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Your first consultation is always free. Contact us today to learn more about a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson or another talcum powder manufacturer.