When one thinks about the pharmaceutical company Johnson and Johnson, images of mothers, babies, and clean, innocent products may come to mind. However, this company has been under fire for its products being allegedly linked to causing ovarian cancer and for not informing consumers of this danger. Johnson and Johnson lost three verdicts in 2016 that altogether totaled $197 million, and there are thousands of other pending lawsuits against them. Most recently, on May 4, 2017 a Virginia woman was awarded an unprecedented $110 million verdict in a lawsuit with the allegations that the use of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder led to her cancer.
Many studies have purported that the use of talcum powder does in fact directly correlate to causing cancer. One of the earliest studies that discussed the link between ovarian cancer and the use of talcum powder use was done in 1971, and it is titled, “Talc and Carcinoma of the Ovary and Cervix”. This study analyzed the tissue from patients with ovarian and cervical tumors and discovered that in both cases, talc particles were greatly embedded in the tumor tissue. Similarly, in 2006 the International Agency for Research on Cancer listed talc as a potential carcinogen. Despite these studies, not every jury is convinced that the talcum powder leads to cancer. Last year, a New Jersey state court judge found insufficient scientific backing for the claims.
The dangers of talcum powder extend beyond solely leading to ovarian cancer. According to an article from Huffington Post, the inhalation of substantial amounts of powder can cause talcosis, which is a lung irritation. Similarly, another article from the Huffington post states that baby powder in the United States contained asbestos in it, until its removal in the mid 1970’s. According to WebMD, asbestos are mineral fibers that are hazardous if breathed in over long spans of time, and they can cause one to be at greater risk for diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
If you or a family member have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and you have used baby powder throughout your life, please call my office for a free consultation.