Talcum Powder Use Strongly Linked To Ovarian Cancer
Talcum powder is popular for its moisture-reducing and comfort-enhancing properties. Many women regularly use products containing talcum powder for personal hygiene, including Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Bath Powder. Talc is a mineral primarily made up of magnesium, silicon and oxygen and in its natural form, may also contain asbestos, a known carcinogen. However, even though household and personal products containing talc have been asbestos-free since the 1970’s, talcum powder products are coming under increased scrutiny for their connection to ovarian cancer. According to medical experts, fine talc particles can migrate into the vagina and to the upper genital tract, attacking the ovaries, and causing ovarian cancer.
33% Higher Ovarian Cancer Risk with Talc Use
Studies by researchers are increasingly pointing to the risks of using talcum powder for feminine hygiene. One study, led by leading talc-use researcher Dr. Daniel Cramer of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, showed that women who regularly use talc products on their genital areas have a 33 percent higher risk of developing ovarian cancer than women who don’t. The study asked more than 2,000 women with ovarian cancer and 2,100 without, about their talcum powder use. Other studies have also pointed toward the connection between genital talc use and ovarian cancer. In fact, for long-term users of talc products, there is a 200-500% increased ovarian cancer risk according to experts.
$72 Million and $55 Million Jury Awards in Ovarian Cancer Cases
Juries are also being convinced of the cancer connection. A jury found in 2013 that a woman’s use of talc-based products contributed to her ovarian cancer, but did not award damages because the woman had been cancer-free for five years.
In February 2016, a jury awarded $72 million to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer after regularly using Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Bath Powder for more than 35 years. The Shower-to-Shower bath product was marketed specifically for feminine hygiene use. The lawsuit alleged that in an effort to increase sales, the company did not warn consumers that its talcum powder products could possibly cause cancer.
Most recently, in May 2016, a jury awarded $55 million to a woman who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011. The woman, who is now in remission, had used Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products for feminine hygiene for almost 40 years. The suit alleged that Johnson & Johnson knew talc posed a serious health risk but continued to sell products containing it.
In spite of the mounting evidence, the company continues to both sell talc products and to resist adding warning labels to those products.
World Health Organization Classified Talc as a Possible Carcinogen in 2006
While the jury is still out among major U.S. health organizations including the CDC and the American Cancer Society regarding the cancer risk from talcum powder, as early as 2006 the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer called talc, when used on the genitals, a possible carcinogen.
The American Cancer Society cited that studies are mixed when it comes to the connection between talc and ovarian cancer. Even so, since 1999 it has advised women to use cornstarch rather than talc-based products for feminine hygiene.
Call for a Confidential and Free Consultation
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that approximately 20,000 women get ovarian cancer each year in the U.S. Among U.S. women it is the eighth most common cancer and fifth leading cause of cancer death. Fallopian tube cancer is very rare, but still potentially devastating.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with primary ovarian or fallopian tube cancer after regularly using talcum powder products for at least four years, it is important to understand your legal options. The knowledgeable and experienced medical attorneys at Slack & Davis, LLP, are here to help you. Contact us today to schedule a confidential and free consultation. Our attorneys will work with you in a sensitive and caring way to get you the compensation that you deserve.