Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder (Baby Powder, Shower to Shower)

Johnson & Johnson is being sued by hundreds of women and families after one court has ruled that the company’s talcum powder products such as “Baby Powder” and “Shower to Shower” can cause Ovarian Cancer. The jury has decided that Johnson & Johnson has been negligent and has committed acts of fraud and conspiracy to hide and ignore studies that have confirmed the link between the talc-containing products and the fatal disease.

The family of a woman who died of Ovarian Cancer after use of Johnson & Johnson’s talc products was awarded a verdict of $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages, equaling $72 million in damages total. The woman was just one of hundreds of lawsuits that Johnson & Johnson is now facing.

The company’s “Baby Powder” and “Shower to Shower Body Powder” talc products have been staples in the bathrooms of women for decades. Johnson & Johnson has branded the products to be synonymous with “freshness” and “cleanliness” and these powders have long been the go-to products for feminine hygiene. Users often apply the product after showers, a common practice that keeps the user dry and reduces chafing. This use has been criticized by many in the scientific community for a long time but there has never been any official action taken by Johnson & Johnson or the Food & Drug Administration to address these safety concerns.

Decades of Warnings by Scientists and Denial by Johnson & Johnson

Speculation concerning the safety of the product has been in discussion for decades. Because talc, (magnesium silicate) is a toxic compound, it is not meant for internal use. Inhalation of the powder has been known to cause chronic lung irritation, known as “talcosis.” In the case of Ovarian Cancer, it is believed that the toxic chemical finds its way into the body via direct application and indirectly via tampons, diaphragms and other feminine products.

The first time a warning was given about the dangers of using talcum powder came in 1971 when a report came out identifying the particles of the toxic powder in ovarian cancers. The report was fiercely contested by Johnson & Johnson’s medical director, G.Y. Hildick-Smith.

Following that publication, another report by The Lancet warned of “potentially harmful effects of talc” that “should not be ignored.”

The Lancet report was confirmed in 1992 in Obstetrics & Gynecology which claimed that women are three times more likely to develop ovarian cancer after frequent and prolonged use of talc.

Since then, dozens of other respected scientific articles documented the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, including the most critical report in 2003 by Anticancer Research which performed a large scale review of 16 previously published studies involving about 12,000 women. The report confirmed a 33% increased risk of ovarian cancer.

For years, the Food & Drug Administration has rejected petitions endorsed by various activist groups and denied requests to mandate warning labels on products containing talc. It is expected that new FDA Commissioner, Margaret Hamburg, M.D., will take prompt regulatory action to protect women from the dangers of talc in the future.

However, for many women, the damage has already been done.

By the Numbers
  • Each year, more than 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
  • Of those diagnosed, 14,000 die, making ovarian cancer the fourth most fatal cancer.
  • 1,500 women will die within the next year as a result of talc use.
  • At least 45,000 women have died as a result of ovarian cancer that may be attributed to talc.
Taking Action

If you or a woman you know has been diagnosed with or has died from ovarian cancer and had or has used Johnson & Johnson product that contains talc (talcum powder, magnesium silicate,) contact us immediately for a free review of your case. Michael J. O'Connor & Associates provides a free consultation for these cases and you will not be charged any amount of money unless we are able to help you win your case. Please click here or call us at 800-518-4LAW (4529) to speak with us today. We're here to fight for you and protect your rights.

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