J&J Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Case Goes to Trial

A lawsuit alleging Johnson & Johnson talcum powder caused ovarian cancer is going to trial in Saint Louis Missouri state court. Talcum powder is most commonly found in baby powder to prevent and treat rashes. Some women also use talcum powder for personal hygiene; products such as J&J’s “Shower to Shower” is marketed for this purpose. There are some 1,200 lawsuits nationwide alleging that talcum powder led to ovarian cancer.

The trial, which is expected to last two to three weeks, is considering a lawsuit filed on behalf of woman who died of ovarian cancer last year at the age of 62. Her lawsuit alleges J&J knew its product could increase the risk of ovarian cancer but failed to warn the public. Plaintiffs claim internal documents show J&J continued to market talcum powder for feminine hygiene despite being aware of studies linking it to ovarian cancer. The lawsuit does not contend that the talcum powder was the only cause of cancer; it alleges it was a contributing factor.

Prior to her death, the plaintiff said in a deposition that she was “raised on” J&J’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower. Before being diagnosed with cancer, she used it on a daily basis.

There have been some studies suggesting that talcum powder can travel into the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries when used in the genital area. In 2013, the journal Cancer Prevention and Research published a study showing that use of talc for feminine hygiene was associated with a 20 to 30 percent increased risk of ovarian cancer compared to those who did not. Epidemiology published a recent study showing talc was linked to a 33 percent increased risk of cancer. The risk was higher among women who used the product longer.

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