If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using products containing talcum powder, call Wagner Reese today at 1-888-710-9377.
Nearly 25,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States each year. 15,000 women, tragically, die from this often-silent killer. As with any disease, there are many possible contributing factors in the development of ovarian cancer. Some experts now believe up to 10% of all ovarian cancer cases in the United States could be related to long-term exposure to talc in baby powder products.
The product liability attorneys at Wagner Reese are reviewing claims of women who developed ovarian cancer after long-term use of using talcum powder products, including talc-based baby powder, on the perineal or genital area. Whether the product was applied directly to the genitals or onto underwear, tampons, or sanitary napkins, there appears to be a higher risk of the user developing ovarian cancer.
The unfortunate truth is that we do not yet know how many Indiana women and their families have faced tragically altered lives as a result of harms caused by talcum powder and related products. Health product company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is currently facing 1200 pending lawsuits over claims the talcum powder in their baby powder products caused cancer in hundreds of women.
Studies Show Significant Risk for Regular Users of Talcum Powder
Warnings of potential dangers of the talc, the primary ingredient in talcum powder, have been sounded for over 50 years. In an unprocessed state, talc contains asbestos and is carcinogenic. Though cosmetics and other products have used asbestos-free talc since the early 70s, there still have been more than 20 research studies that have found a link between the use of talc-based powders and ovarian cancer.
A multi-study analysis found the risk of ovarian cancer increased by 33% for regular users of baby powder. One study of cancerous tumors found talc deeply embedded in the core of the tumors more than 80% of the time. Even the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer finds talc to be “possibly carcinogenic.” Still, J&J failed to inform their customers about the risks. In fact, there is evidence they targeted marketed to African American women and overweight women by essentially shaming them about their own bodies and the intense need to avoid “feminine odors.”
Targeted Marketing Increased Risk for Some Women
Recent court documents make it clear Johnson & Johnson specifically targeted African-American women and overweight women with advertising after health-related declines in sales. This despicable advertising leveraged years of false, emotionally manipulative, and racially motivated campaigns focused on the hygiene of women, crudely implying some women should be particularly concerned about feminine cleanliness and odors. One product, Shower-to-Shower, was marketed specifically as a feminine hygiene product, with ads claiming “A sprinkle a day helps keep odor away!” J&J placed all women, but especially Black women and overweight women, at risk for lethal, difficult-to-treat ovarian cancer.
A new study coming out of the University of Virginia Charlotte unmasks the negative effects of the advertising. Joellen Schildkraut, a UVC epidemiologist, knew Black women are much more likely to use powder in the perineal area than their White or Hispanic counterparts. With this in mind, Schildkraut and her colleagues interviewed 1300 black women in the Southern, Eastern, and Midwestern United States, 584 of whom had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Nearly 63% of the subjects with ovarian cancer had used powder as a vaginal hygiene product, and 53% of the subjects without ovarian cancer had also used the product. Unlike many other studies, the results of Schildkraut’s interviews indicate an increase in cancer risk regardless of where the individual used the powder. That said, the increased risk for these consumers who used the products in the perineal area was over 40%.
J&J Knowingly Sold a Potentially Dangerous Product Without Warnings
Johnson & Johnson has marketed itself as a family company for decades, with many products for women, children, and infants. They aggressively market baby powder as a useful product for absorbing moisture, especially for use as a feminine hygiene product and for babies’ diaper areas. Despite these concerns, Johnson & Johnson continued producing and promoting potentially dangerous products, such as Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower, with no additional warnings to its customers.
Armed with stacks of evidence showing a possible link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, J&J failed to protects its customers by neglecting to warn them of the risks. There was no additional labeling or warning added to products that focused on use of their products in feminine hygiene even though there were inhalation warnings added after cases of talc inhalation poisoning and mesothelioma (related to asbestos-containing powder) arose.
Johnson & Johnson Facing Multiple Lawsuits
J&J is facing a class action lawsuit, as well as individual lawsuits. The class action is limited to the recovery of compensation for the purchase of the products. Even those who have not been diagnosed with ovarian cancer are eligible to participate.
Individual lawsuits are more focused on seeking justice for women who have suffered or died from ovarian cancer related to use of baby powder products. Many cases are just beginning, but a few key cases are likely to have an influence in the others that come after.
- Deanne Berg was the first woman to have a court find in her favor with regard to a claim against J&J. Berg was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006. The court found J&J liable but did not award any damages. (2013)
- An Alabama family whose mother died of ovarian cancer after 40 years of regular talcum powder use was awarded $72 million. (2016)
- A cancer survivor from South Dakota was awarded $55 million. (2016)
Contact Us Now To Discuss Your Case
If you or a loved one regularly used products containing talcum powder and were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the product liability attorneys at Wagner Reese can help. It is important for victims in Indiana to understand the class action cannot provide victims with compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or funeral expenses. Our job, after helping you to understand your options, is to ease your burden by seeking maximum compensation for the illness and pain caused knowingly by Johnson & Johnson.
If you believe you or a family member may have been harmed by J&J products, please give us a call at 1-888-710-9377 or use our contact form to schedule a risk-free, no-cost consultation.