What’s the real story? Does talcum powder cause cancer? Thousands of women believe they developed ovarian cancer after regular use of Johnson & Johnson products, and decades of research has shown that talcum powder could cause cancer.
In fact, the lawsuits filed by the women allege that manufacturer Johnson & Johnson knew about the increased cancer risk yet still continued to advertise talc-based powders such as Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for intimate use.
If you used these products and also received in ovarian cancer diagnosis — or if you lost a spouse or parent to ovarian cancer — you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation or join a mass tort currently in progress. The Toledo dangerous product lawyers at Gallon, Takacs, Boissoneault & Schaffer Co., L.P.A. can evaluate your case and help you weigh your legal options. Call us today at 419-843-6663 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
What is the basis for these lawsuits?
The lawsuits allege that the manufacturer of these talcum powders had an obligation to warn women about the possible link between regular use of talc-based powders and ovarian cancer. As early as 1971, a study found talc-based powders embedded in the diseased tissue of women with ovarian cancer. All the women in the study used these powders regularly for feminine hygiene.
According to documents presented in the lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson was aware of this and other studies conducted over the next decade. Company executives wrote internal memos and other documents acknowledging the possible link. Yet they issued no warning. Women continued to apply their products to their genital area, including using it on sanitary napkins, undergarments, and even diaphragms.
Does the research prove talcum powder is dangerous?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies talcum powder and other talc-based products as cosmetics, which allows them to go to market without any type of FDA approval. Manufacturers, however, must ensure they do not cause illness or disease under normal use. If using them for feminine hygiene use increases a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer, they require a warning label against this type of use. But is there enough evidence to show they increase the risk?
According to one of the most well-known researchers into this link, there is plenty of proof. Dr. Daniel Cramer is a Harvard Medical School professor of gynecology and a central figure in many talcum powder lawsuits. In a 2011 prepared statement, Dr. Cramer says he advised executives from Johnson & Johnson about his findings linking talc-based powders and ovarian cancer in 1982.
Dr. Cramer’s research looked at women who used talcum powder for feminine hygiene, either directly on the genital area or on sanitary napkins. He found that women who used talc-based products were three times as likely to develop ovarian cancer compared to women who did not. The American Cancer Society’s journal Cancer published this study in 1982.
Other research continued to link the increased risk of cancer with the powders. A 2008 meta-analysis looked at 20 different studies and found that overall women who used talcum powder for any feminine hygiene use had a 30 to 60 percent increase in the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Dr. Cramer also continues research into the dangers of talcum powder. His most recent research, published in Epidemiology in 2016, showed that women who used talc-based powders for feminine hygiene purposes are 33 percent more likely to develop ovarian cancer.
At the time Dr. Cramer issued a prepared statement on the topic in 2011, he listed additional epidemiological studies showing similar results as his own almost 30 years before. While some still question this link, many doctors are saying it is better to be safe than sorry. An Ohio oncologist and cancer researcher issued a warning last year, advising people to find a safer alternative to talcum powder.
Do the courts link talcum powder and ovarian cancer?
While there are far more than one thousand cases unsettled, recent court rulings show mixed feelings about the strength of the scientific evidence:
- The first talcum powder lawsuit pitted South Dakota resident Deane Berg against Johnson & Johnson in 2013. The court ruled in favor of Berg, saying Johnson & Johnson had an obligation to warn women about the danger.
- A St. Louis court ruled in favor of the surviving family of an Alabama woman who died of ovarian cancer in February 2015. The family received an award of $72 million.
- The same St. Louis court awarded a victim $55 million in a May 2016 ruling.
- On October 27, 2016, the St. Louis court issued a ruling awarding another woman more than $70 million to cover her damages.
- Another court — this time in New Jersey, home to Johnson & Johnson — recently ruled testimony from researchers “too speculative.” The judge disqualified the researchers from providing expert testimony in dozens of cases filed in the state.
What should I do if I believe I have a claim?
If you received an ovarian cancer diagnosis after years of talcum powder use, or if you lost a loved one to this deadly cancer, you should call our Toledo office to schedule a free consultation with one of our product liability lawyers.
At Gallon, Takacs, Boissoneault & Schaffer Co., L.P.A., we understand how daunting it is to take on a corporation in court. However, we have the skills and resources necessary to represent you. We are working closely with other law firms to ensure our clients have access to the best expert witnesses, including leading researchers and medical professionals.
Call us today at 419-843-6663, and set up a time to discuss your case with one of our Toledo talcum powder-ovarian cancer lawsuit attorneys. We can help you recover the compensation you deserve.