The manufacturing company Johnson & Johnson, a leader in medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and consumer packaged goods, has made headlines across the country due to a rash of personal injury lawsuits concerning the company’s iconic baby powder. A product many of us grew up with, it has been a trusted staple in American homes for decades. Unfortunately, studies have linked its use to ovarian cancer, a particularly dangerous and potentially fatal disease.
Hundreds of women who trusted the Johnson & Johnson name and relied on the absorbent qualities of baby powder as part of their own personal hygiene routines are now coming forward in personal injury lawsuits. Claiming the company knew of the risks but failed to warn consumers, they are seeking damages worth millions of dollars. If you are one of the many people who have relied on this product regularly, the following is important information you need to be aware of concerning your own cancer risks.
Talcum Powder and Increased Cancer Risks
The American Cancer Society (ACS) advises that the traditional baby powder most of us were raised on is made from talc, a mineral that is made up of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. In its natural state, talc can also contain asbestos, a known cancer causing agent. While asbestos containing products have been banned for use in American homes since 1970, there are still concerns about links between talcum powder use and increased cancer risks. These focus on two major issues:
- The risk for talc miners of developing lung cancer due to inhaling asbestos fibers;
- The risk for women of developing ovarian cancer as a result of using talcum powder in the genital region.
Talcum powder is renowned for its absorptive qualities, making it ideal for use on hot, humid days or after a bath or shower. Many women grew up relying it as a way of staying ‘fresh’, using it on their thighs to prevent chafing as well as in the perineal area, applied either directly or indirectly through sanitary pads or contraceptives. The risk of developing ovarian cancer stems from particles in the talcum powder, which may travel through the vagina and the uterus into the fallopian tubes and ovaries.
Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits
While there is some disagreement among researchers over the amount of risk associated with the use of talcum powder, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that numerous studies over the past three decades have concluded the connection between talcum powder and ovarian cancer is real. In terms of the baby powder lawsuits being filed, liability lies in the following facts:
- That Johnson & Johnson was aware of studies showing a correlation between their product and ovarian cancer;
- That they continued to sell and promote the use of its product among women for use in the perineal region;
- That they failed to warn consumers of the research or the potential risks.
According to an August 2017 New York Times article on baby powder lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson first became aware of the problem in 1971, when scientists in Wales found trace elements of talcum powder embedded within ovarian and cervical tumors. Since that time, researchers have found that women who regularly use talcum powder in the perineal region may be up to 40 times more likely to develop ovarian cancer.
Johnson & Johnson was recently ordered to pay $417 million in a personal injury lawsuit filed by a Los Angeles women dying of ovarian cancer. While it may be too late in her own case, she hopes her lawsuit will raise awareness of the overall problem in using Johnson & Johnson talcum powder in the genital region, thereby preventing other women from suffering the same fate. This case is just the latest and largest example of similar lawsuits filed by thousands of women throughout the U.S.
Reach Out To Our Portland Personal Injury Lawyer if You Need Help
If you are a woman who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson talcum powder, we want you to know that the Johnston Law Firm is here to help.
Our Portland personal injury lawyer, Marc Johnston, has dedicated his career to standing up for the rights of injury victims. Voted one of Oregon’s Top 50 Super Lawyers, he provides the compassionate, professional legal representation you need when going up against large corporations, such as Johnson & Johnson. Call or contact our Portland office online today to request a free consultation to discuss your potential claim.