James Chakalos says manufacturers of talc-containing products knew that using talcum powder in the genital area for personal hygiene could increase the risk of ovarian cancer in women, but they refused to add warnings on the products’ labels. James has filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and other manufacturers claiming his wife’s lifetime use of the products caused her to develop the deadly cancer, which took her life in 2012 at the age of 63.
Named in the suit are Valeant, which recently purchased the Shower to Shower brand from Johnson & Johnson, as well as Chattem, maker of Gold Bond powder. Talc miner Imerys was also named in the lawsuit.
Lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and other talcum powder product manufacturers alleging failure to warn about ovarian cancer risks are climbing into the hundreds as awareness of the risks has increased in recent months. However, the link between talc and cancer was established nearly 45 years ago. A 1982 study found a 92 percent increased risk on ovarian cancer among women who used talcum powder in the genital area.
Manufacturers such as Johnson & Johnson have marketed their baby powders and body powders to be safe for both adults and infants. When the author of the 1982 study contacted a Johnson & Johnson representative about the increased cancer risk with talcum powder use on the genitals and recommended the company remove these products from the marketplace or, at the very least, warn consumers of this risk, Johnson & Johnson refused.
Researchers say that as many as 2,000 cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed each year in the United States could be attributed to regular use of talcum powder in the genital area.