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Baby Powder and Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits

January 23, 2017 in Articles, Personal Injury Articles | MARTIN WREN, P.C. | LEAVE A COMMENT

Baby Powder and Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits

One of the most frightening recent developments has been the news linking talcum baby powder and ovarian cancer.  In a recent jury trial from a lawsuit against Johnson and Johnson, a jury concluded that a

Robert E. Byrne, Jr.

Robert E. Byrne, Jr.

woman’s use of talcum baby powder as a feminine hygiene product over several decades caused her to develop ovarian cancer.[i]   A jury awarded $70 million in that lawsuit on the grounds that Johnson & Johnson knew about and failed to disclose the dangers of ovarian cancer from using its talc.[ii]

Baby Powder and Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits

Studies dating back to the 1970’s have found a link between talc from baby powder and ovarian cancer.[iii]  In those studies, talc particles were found to be part of ovarian tumors.[iv]  Other studies have shown that women who apply talcum powder to their genitals as a feminine product have twice the risk of other women for developing ovarian cancer.[v]  More recently, studies have indicated that African-American women who use baby powder have a significantly increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.[vi]

Talcum Powder and Mesothelioma

Other cancer dangers have been linked to the use of baby powder.  It turns out that talcum is a substance that it gathered through mining, and there have been instances where the talcum powder includes traces of asbestos.  Asbestos fibers are a well-known cause of a specific type of cancer called mesothelioma.  Studies show that inhaling airborne talc powder and its asbestos particles is a known cause of mesothelioma.[vii]

Large Verdicts for Baby Powder Cases

This link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer can explain how juries have found in favor of women with ovarian cancer.  And a review of some of the evidence explains why juries have reached such significant results.

First, Johnson & Johnson had been aware of some of the risks caused by baby powder use because even its talc supplier starting warning of some of those dangers.[viii]  Despite that, Johnson and Johnson refused to provide a warning of these dangers.  In fact, Johnson and Johnson continued to advertise the use of its baby powder as a feminine product even after some of the dangers had been discovered in studies.[ix]

Second, evidence suggests that Johnson & Johnson has targeted certain women as its customer base for baby powder.  The evidence at trial indicated that baby powder use was advertised for African American, Hispanic, and overweight women.[x]  Women from those groups tend to be most at-risk for developing ovarian cancer from talcum powder use.[xi]

Third, plaintiffs’ attorneys have convincingly argued that, instead of spending money warning about the dangers of its talc products like baby powder and Shower to Shower, Johnson & Johnson spent money, time, and effort to prevent the government from regulating its products.[xii]  This has obviously convinced jurors that Johnson & Johnson is more concerned about profits than it is about the safety of its products.

Conclusion

Scientific studies have shown a link between talcum powder and deadly ovarian cancer.  If you or a loved one have ovarian cancer and you have been a user or baby powder or other talc products, you need to check to see whether your ovarian cancer may have been caused by your use of talcum powder.  If so, you may be entitled to damages.

To learn more, or for a free consultation from a Virginia product liability attorney, please call Robert E. Byrne, Jr. of MartinWren, P.C.  Bob can be reached by phone at (434) 817-3100 or by email at byrne@martinwrenlaw.com.

 

[i] http://www.webmd.com/ovarian-cancer/news/20161104/does-baby-powder-cause-ovarian-cancer

[ii] http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2016/10/28/johnson-jnj-talcum-baby-powder-ovarian-cancer/92878176/

[iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/5558843

[iv] http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/05/23/lawsuits-over-baby-powder-raise-questions-about-cancer-risk/

[v] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7083145

[vi] http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2016/05/12/1055-9965.EPI-15-1281

[vii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4164883/

[viii] http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/05/23/lawsuits-over-baby-powder-raise-questions-about-cancer-risk/

[ix] http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/05/23/lawsuits-over-baby-powder-raise-questions-about-cancer-risk/

[x] http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/28/jury-awards-more-than-70-million-to-woman-in-baby-powder-lawsuit.html

[xi] http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/28/jury-awards-more-than-70-million-to-woman-in-baby-powder-lawsuit.html

[xii] http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/28/jury-awards-more-than-70-million-to-woman-in-baby-powder-lawsuit.html

 

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