Johnson & Johnson filed a motion in Illinois court to dismiss a proposed class action lawsuit alleging the consumer health care company’s classic baby powder products increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
Johnson & Johnson says plaintiff Barbara Mihalich has not developed ovarian cancer nor has she shown to suffer any injury from using the product, and thus has suffered no economic loss for which she should be compensated. She also did not claim that she bought the product to use for personal hygiene in her genital area, which the company says is the only use that the plaintiff claims is linked to the deadly disease.
Mihalich’s lawsuit came a month after plaintiff Mona Estrada filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. She claimed she regularly purchased the company’s Baby Powder, made of scented talc, since 1950 because she was led to believe it was safe. However, studies show that use of talcum powder in the genital area increases a woman’s risk by a third of developing ovarian cancer. However, the company does not warn consumers of this risk, only to keep the powder away from the eyes, avoid inhalation, and only apply it externally.
The lawsuits claim that Johnson & Johnson knew since 1982 that studies showed that women who used talcum powder in the genital area were at greater risk for ovarian cancer. One of the study’s authors says he was contacted by a Johnson & Johnson doctor who said the company should add warnings to the labels of their talc-containing products.
In 2008, the American Cancer Society announced that a study had linked long-term use of talcum powder to an increased risk of cancer.
Last year, a jury found in favor of a woman who sued Johnson & Johnson claiming her long-term use of the company’s Shower to Shower talc-containing product for personal hygiene caused her to develop ovarian cancer.