Talcum Powder Lawsuit - Talc Ovarian Cancer Risk
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Talcum Powder Lawsuit

talcum powder

The emergence of the talcum powder lawsuit comes in sharp contrast to the generations-old image of the gentle application of Johnson’s baby powder on a baby’s bottom, a loving gesture and rite of passage for young moms everywhere. In fact, talc is considered a basic hygiene product used by women  of fall ages after a shower or bath.

How troubling is it now to learn that the sweet-smelling powder in the white bottle is recognized as a deadly carcinogenic agent linked to a 30% increase in ovarian cancer?

Baby powder cancer verdicts

In February 2016 a Missouri jury awarded a $72 million verdict to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer after over three decades of using talc-based Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products manufactured by defendant Johnson & Johnson. Plaintiff Jacqueline Fox died in October 2015 at the age of 62. The verdict includes $62 million in punitive damages against J&J in response to the company’s alleged misconduct, including allegations of fraud, negligence and conspiracy. Plaintiffs claimed that the company knew for decades about the cancer risk posed by its talcum powder products, but never alerted the public, the medical community or regulatory agencies about the risks.

Just three months later J&J was hit with another trial loss in a case filed by Gloria Ristesund. On May 2, 2016, the company was ordered to pay Ristesund $55 million in damages, after hearing evidence and testimony of the plaintiff’s ovarian cancer diagnosis and treatment after years of using the company’s talc-based products. The verdict included $5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages for the 62-year-old Ristesund who had to endure a hysterectomy during her treatment. Legal counsel for the claimant told NBC News that the jury’s verdict should end the talc litigation and hopefully compel J&J to settle the remaining lawsuits.

If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using baby powder or talcum body powders for intimate feminine hygiene, the product liability lawyers of The Sanders Firm want to talk to you about your right to file a talcum powder cancer lawsuit.

First talcum powder cancer lawsuit a defeat for J& J

The first talc cancer lawsuit was filed in federal court last year by a 56 year old ovarian cancer sufferer against Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of several well-known talcum powder products including Johnson’s Baby Powder and Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower talc powder. In the landmark case Deane Berg vs. Johnson & Johnson, three examining physicians found talc particles in her ovarian tumor which they then determined was the causative agent of her cancer. The jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for negligence in failing to warn the plaintiff that she faced an increased risk of ovarian cancer by using their product.

During that trial, an attorney representing the cosmetics giant admitted that J & J executives had known about the association between baby powder and ovarian cancer for years but did not deem the risk significant enough to require a product warning. Dr. Daniel Cramer, a Harvard epidemiologist and gynecologist, also testified that as many as 10,000 cases of ovarian cancer may be caused by talcum powder each year. It is estimated that 14,000 deaths occur each year from ovarian cancer.

The Sanders Firm has built its national reputation on its refusal to back down to companies who place profit before consumer safety. If you are a victim of ovarian cancer and have been a user of Baby Powder, Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower, or another similar product, call a talcum powder cancer lawyer at The Sanders Firm to determine if you should file a lawsuit and be compensated for your hardship and suffering.

Talcum powder and ovarian cancer risks

Talcum powder is made from talc, a mineral made up mainly of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. When ground into a powder and applied to the skin, it absorbs moisture and cuts down on friction, keeping skin dry and smooth. It is used by millions around the world in various cosmetic products such as baby powder as well as adult body and facial powders. Johnson & Johnson is the best-known manufacturer of talcum based products, but there are hundreds of smaller manufacturers worldwide who also manufacture talc-based baby and body powders. 

Talc previously contained asbestos, a recognized carcinogen known to cause several types of lung cancer when inhaled, but consumer talcum powder products have not contained asbestos since the 1970s.

According to various medical sources, the increased risk of ovarian cancer lies in the fact that if powder is applied to the genitals or on sanitary napkins, diaphragms, or condoms, the particles may travel through the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes to the ovary where it can cause prolonged irritation of the ovaries, which is known to promote the growth of ovarian cancer cells.

Inflamed tissue in the ovaries can lead to excessive cell proliferation and DNA damage, which in turn may cause malignant cell transformation and cancer. Talc has poor solubility, which means that baby powder particles may stay embedded in body tissue for years.

Researchers estimate that approximately 20% of women in America apply talcum powder to the genitals on a regular basis.

Talcum powder cancer risk under scrutiny since 1971

As early as 1971, researchers found talc particles embedded in 75% of all ovarian tumors studied. At least six medical studies conducted since 1992 have shown an increased risk of ovarian cancer in users of talcum products.

A 2009 study led by Dr. Margaret Gates from the Harvard Medical School in Boston found that women who used talcum powder around their genital area had a 40 percent higher risk of getting ovarian cancer.

In June 2013, an article in the medical journal Cancer Prevention Research entitled “œGenital Powder Use And Risk Of Ovarian Cancer; A Pooled Analysis” reported on the pooled data of eight studies finding that genital talcum powder use was associated with a 20-30% increase in the risk of epithelial ovarian cancer over women who did not use genital talcum products.

Research suggests that women who use talc continuously for at least 4 years, are BRCA negative and under the age of 65, face a 200-500% increased risk of ovarian cancer.

One recent study also suggests that genital talcum powder use may slightly increase the risk of endometrial (uterine) cancer in women who are past menopause. Research is ongoing on that finding.

FDA does not ban talcum powder in cosmetics

Talc is even considered by the FDA to be a Generally Recognized as Safe ingredient in some foods, such as table salt, as long as concentrations remain below a minimum level.

Though manufacturers of condoms and diaphragms ceased using talc on their products long ago due to the cancer risk, the FDA does not require a special label on talc powder warning women of this potential hazard, especially if they use talc in the peritoneal region. There is also no language that specifically warns against using baby powder with talc to prevent diaper rash.

Time limits for filing a baby powder lawsuit

The amount of time to file your baby powder cancer lawsuit varies from one state to the next. If you fail to file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires in your state, your case will be thrown out. It’s important to consult an attorney immediately to ask if you’re at risk of losing your opportunity to collect damages for your injury.

At The Sanders Firm, our lawyers will help you determine if you have a case by reviewing the four basic elements of a valid product liability claim:

  • you must prove that you have been injured
  • you must prove that the product was somehow defective or lacked proper warnings or instructions.
  • you must prove that the defect or lack of warning was the specific cause of your injuries
  • you must prove that you used the product in the manner in which it was intended.

Talcum powder cancer lawyers

Damages fall into two basic categories: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are intended to restore you to the condition you were in before the injury occurred. These include “economic” losses such as medical expenses or lost wages or profits. They also include certain “non-economic” losses, such as pain and suffering.

Punitive damages apply when a judge or jury decides to punish a defendant for its conduct and deter others from engaging in similar conduct. Both the manufacturer of a dangerous product and its distributors can be found liable for damages in a product liability case.

Call The Sanders Firm to understand your rights and your legal options for pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. Our attorneys have five decades of experience litigating product liability lawsuits in both state and federal court for clients who have been injured because of dangerous drugs and defective medical devices.

Call 1-800-FAIR-PLAY (1-800-324-7752) to schedule a free consultation and evaluation of your case.