Women who have regularly used talcum powder products on their genitals for personal hygiene and have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer may be entitled to compensation.
In October 2013, Deane Berg filed a lawsuit against consumer health care giant Johnson & Johnson claiming the company’s Shower to Shower talc-containing body powder and Johnson’s Baby Powder caused her ovarian cancer. It was hard to believe the claims. After all, the Johnson & Johnson products have been around for decades. The company had always advertised them as safe enough for babies.
The jury’s verdict in the case, however, started consumers thinking. Jurors found in favor of Berg, agreeing with the plaintiff that Johnson & Johnson should have warned consumers of the risk of ovarian cancer with genital use of the powder.
Talc is the softest of all the minerals and is used in products such as paint, paper, rubber, roofing and ceramic materials. It is also used as an additive in some foods and fillers in capsules and pills. Talc deposits are often interlaced with other minerals, including asbestos, a known carcinogen.
In 1971, British researchers conducted a study during which they analyzed 13 ovarian tumors and found talc particles “deeply embedded” in 10 of them. In the years that followed, nearly two dozen more studies linked the use of talcum powder on the genitals to ovarian cancer. One report claimed as many as 10 percent – or 2,000 – of the 20,000 new ovarian cancer cases diagnosed each year are caused by talcum powder products.
“Appropriate warnings should be provided to women about the potential of regular use of talc in the genital area,” researchers concluded.
A researcher even contacted Johnson & Johnson and urged the company put warnings on its talc-containing products. The company refused. Even after Berg’s lawsuit, where a jury agreed the company was negligent in not warning consumers, Johnson & Johnson held firm that it would not add ovarian cancer warnings to its products’ labels.
“We’re dealing with a company that has done nothing to inform customers of the risk and, in fact, I believe has taken steps to hide the risk from the public,” Beasley Allen attorney Ted Meadows told FairWarning.
Johnson & Johnson and other talc manufacturers currently face more than 700 lawsuits alleging the products caused ovarian cancer. Attorneys with Beasley Allen Law Firm are currently investigating cases of ovarian cancer in women who have used talc-containing products on their genitals for personal hygiene.