Johnson & Johnson is a staple in the homes of many parents of little ones, having long been used as a trusted product to help prevent diaper rash. The familiar fresh scent and cooling effects appeal to adults as well, and for many people, it is one of the first things they reach for when getting dressed in the morning or after taking a shower or bath. While baby powder has the power to provoke feelings of both comfort and nostalgia, the long term effects of its use have been the subject of recent controversy. Over 1,000 women have filed personal injury lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson in light of studies linking its use to an increased risk for certain types of cancers. The following is important information to be aware of regarding the lawsuit, as well as the potential adverse health effects posed by this seemingly innocent and widely used product.
Talcum Powder Lawsuits
According to a March 2016 article in Bloomberg Businessweek, Johnson & Johnson is currently in the midst of multiple lawsuits alleging the company knew of potential cancer risks associated with the use of their talcum powder, yet failed to warn consumers of the dangers in order to protect one of their most popular, flagship products. As early as the 1980s, researchers indicated to the company the potential links between the use of their powder for feminine hygiene, and increased risks for ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest types of cancers, and the Bloomberg report states that roughly 20,000 new cases are diagnosed and over 14,000 women die from the disease each year. While the overall odds of a woman developing ovarian cancer are one in 70, the odds for developing it among women who use talcum powder are one in 53.
Currently, over 1,000 women have filed suit against J&J, with thousands more cases set to follow. A St. Louis jury recently awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $62 million in punitive damages to the family of a woman with ovarian cancer who died before the verdict was reached, an amount over and above what her attorney had requested. Additional cases are set to go to trial through spring and early summer of 2016.
Cancer Risks Associated With Talcum Powder Use
The Bloomberg report states that while talc is a component in numerous cosmetic products that are on the market, it is the use of talcum powder in the genital region that causes the most concern. Scientists linked the use of the powder to increased rates of ovarian cancer as the result of detecting trace amounts of the substance embedded within tumors, and experts advise women to switch to cornstarch based powders, which are considered safer.
One of the factors that makes ovarian cancer so deadly is that the symptoms are often overlooked, allowing the disease to go undetected and spread to other organs. According to the American Cancer Society, symptoms of ovarian cancer may include the following:
- Bloating and pain in the abdominal region;
- Fatigue and upset stomach;
- Menstrual changes and back pain;
- Constipation and urinary problems; and
- Pain during sex.
Let Us Assist You Today
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and you suspect talcum powder may be to blame, contact an experienced Portland personal injury attorney immediately. At the Johnston Law Firm, we can assist you in holding responsible parties accountable for your pain and suffering, while ensuring your rights and best interests are protected. Get the caring, compassionate legal service you deserve, and contact our Portland office today for a free consultation.