Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has promoted talcum powder for decades as part of a woman’s daily hygiene regimen for use after every shower and for personal freshness. A woman whose 43-year-old daughter was told she had ovarian cancer filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging the increasing number of ovarian cancer cases, as a result of prolonged use of talcum powder in the genital area. The mother maintains that warning labels placed on Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products could have averted the tragic outcome specifically in her daughter’s case.
In a study first published in 1982, Dr. Daniel Cramer advised J&J’s Dr. Bruce Semple that J&J should put warning labels on products containing talc. Dr. Cramer’s study revealed that prolonged use of talcum powder in the female genital area increased the risk of ovarian cancer by 92 percent. Warning labels would provide women with information to make informed decisions regarding their health. Additional research studying the association of ovarian cancer and talc powder found minute talc particles present in ovarian tumors.
The plaintiff in the case on behalf of the 43-year-old woman who died alleged that J&J knew about the risks of their talc products, but opted not to alert consumers. The data concerning the talc and ovarian cancer risk was available as far back as the 1970s. Talcum powder lawsuits this year have gone to trial with one jury awarding $72 million in February 2016 and another $55 million in May 2016.
More than 1,2000 talcum powder lawsuits are pending in which J&J is accused of ignoring or minimizing the cancer risk involved with the use of talc-based products. The likelihood of the number of cases and multidistrict litigation (MDL) to streamline rulings continues to grow.