Jury Finds Link Between Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

If you are a woman who believes you developed ovarian cancer after using baby powder or talcum powder in the genital region, you may want to consider speaking to an experienced attorney from Martinson & Beason. Last week, a jury in St. Louis, Missouri ordered J & J to pay $72 million in compensatory and punitive damages to the family of a woman who died of ovarian cancer this October. Jacqueline Fox, of Birmingham, Alabama, was only 62 years old at the time of her death. Fox had used J & J Baby Powder as well as J & J Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene for many years.

Supplier of Talc Absolved of Any Wrongdoing

The Fox trial was the first of more than 1,200 ovarian cancer claims filed over the past two years against Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America Inc. Imerys Talc, who supplied talc to Johnson & Johnson, was absolved of any wrongdoing in the Fox trial. Fox’s son claimed the lawsuit’s purpose was to create awareness about the dangers of talc, after the issued had been “suppressed for so many years by Johnson & Johnson.”

Johnson & Johnson Doesn’t Believe Scientific Evidence Supports Claimed Risks of Talc

A spokeswoman for J & J, stated the company was disappointed with the outcome of the trial, and believe the safety of cosmetic talc is supported by scientific evidence. Both J & J and Imerys contend, that with no causal connection between talc and ovarian cancer, there was no reason for them to warn the public of potential risks. It is expected J & J will seek a reversal of the verdict through an appeal or post-trial motions. Despite claims to the contrary, there are a number of studies which link a higher rate of ovarian cancer with talc use for genital hygiene—as much as a 35 percent increased risk—placing the odds of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer at one in fifty rather than one in seventy.

Prior J & J Talc Verdict Finds for Plaintiff—But Awards No Damages

A previous, somewhat puzzling verdict, was handed down in October 2013, in a case filed by plaintiff Deane Berg against Johnson & Johnson. The case was heard in a Sioux Falls, South Dakota federal court, and while the jury found Johnson & Johnson guilty of failure to warn of the risks of ovarian cancer from the use of its talc products—they awarded zero damages to Berg. A member of the jury stated that the panel believed there should have been warnings on J & J’s talc products to warn of a possible risk, but they weren’t convinced the talc was responsible for Berg’s cancer. Despite the lukewarm “win,” the case sparked hundreds of ovarian cancer claims against the pharmaceutical giant.

Information on Talc and Studies on Talc

Talc is the softest of all minerals, and is used in the manufacture of ceramics, roofing materials, rubber, paper and paints, as a food additive, as a filler in capsules and pills, and in cosmetics. Despite J & J’s claim that talc is perfectly safe, there were issues brought to light about talc as far back as 1971. British researchers analyzed 13 ovarian tumors under a microscope, and found deeply embedded talc particles embedded in ten of those. The journal, Cancer, published the first study in 1982, which showed a statistical link between the use of talc in the genital region and ovarian cancer. The 1982 study also found that women using talcum powder during ovulation had a staggering 92 percent increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Epidemiology Study Finds 33 Percent Higher Rate of Ovarian Cancer in Women Using Talc

The results of another study, published in December 2015 in Epidemiology, found a 33 percent higher rate of ovarian cancer among women who used talc for feminine hygiene; the highest risks were for those who used talc for the longest period of time. At least 20 epidemiological studies have found an increased risk of ovarian cancer for women using talc for feminine hygiene purposes. In 1997, a J & J consultant attacked statements claiming there was no statistical association between the use of talc and ovarian cancer. The consultant stated that anyone denying the risks of ovarian cancer associated with talc would be just like the cigarette industry—“denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.”

Talc Classified as “Possibly Carcinogenic

The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies the use of talc near the genital region as “possibly carcinogenic,” because of mixed evidence. Talc, in its natural state, does contain asbestos, and does cause cancer, however since the early 1970’s, asbestos-free talc has been used in baby powder and other cosmetics. The studies on asbestos-free talc have had very contradictory results. One charity, Ovacome, claims the “worst-case scenario” would be that the use of talc increases the risk of cancer by about a third. Even if that worst-case scenario turns out to be a realistic number related to the risk of developing ovarian cancer from talc, it would seem prudent for Johnson & Johnson to place a warning on their talc products.

Getting Legal Help for You’re a Talc-Related Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer

The recent Fox case was a bellwether trial. Since the jury clearly found the evidence compelling, others who have filed lawsuits against J & J have reason to be hopeful about the success of their own case. If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and you believe that diagnosis stems from use of Johnson & Johnson talc powder for feminine hygiene, it could be extremely beneficial for you to speak with a knowledgeable attorney from Martinson & Beason, P.C. Our attorneys have extensive experience and knowledge of the laws pertaining to your case. Our goal is to help you obtain real justice for your injuries.

The attorneys at Martinson & Beason have a wide range of accolades to their credit, which greatly benefit each and every client. We want to discuss your options for recovering the financial compensation necessary to pay for your treatment and long-term care. Don’t lose the compensation you are entitled to because of a company who failed to warn of the known risks of talc. Call Martinson & Beason today.