Articles Posted in Talcum Powder

When using a product that is supposed to be soothing and pain relieving, the last thing you should have to worry about is whether or not you’re taking a long-term health risk. Unfortunately, many thousands of cases filed against corporate conglomerate Johnson & Johnson allege that their baby powders and talc-based products are potentially harmful. If you or a loved one has developed a serious illness, like cancer, and believe it to be caused by such a product, contact Altman & Altman LLP today.

For many years, Johnson & Johnson has claimed that their baby powder and other talc-based products are soothing and safe to use. Over 16,000 lawsuits – including the first large one of 2020 filed on behalf of the Attorney General of New Mexico – allege otherwise, saying the powders contain harmful elements such as asbestos that cause various types of cancer, including mesothelioma.

The New Mexico lawsuit, filed at the beginning of January, alleges that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers about the dangers of their products and misled consumers – particularly children, black women and Hispanic women – about the safety of using those products.

A recently-released Reuters report indicates that Johnson & Johnson (J&J) knew about the hidden dangers in its talc products for decades. Despite this knowledge, the manufacturing giant failed to warn regulators and the general public of the risks associated with using its products, such as Shower to Shower and Baby Powder. A form of asbestos, which has been linked to deadly diseases such as ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, is present in talc particles. As a result, thousands of J&J customers (mostly women) may have developed cancer from using talcum powder.

According to the Reuters report, J&J explained away early findings that talc contained asbestos by calling those findings statistically insignificant. The company may have also performed product tests in a manner that avoided detection of the deadly mineral. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been harmed by using talc-based products.

After J&J was ordered to turn over thousands of pages of internal reports, company emails, and other documents, Reuters discovered that the company knew its talc-based products had tested positive for asbestos starting as early as 1971, and leading up until the early 2000s. In addition to failing to inform regulators and the general public, J&J appears to have influenced government-led scientific research on the adverse health effects of talc.

Mesothelioma Isn’t Just for Construction Workers

Although most mesothelioma cases involve construction and mine workers who spent years working in close proximity to asbestos, multiple victims of mesothelioma linked to talc-based products have been awarded huge sums in recent years. Mesothelioma is a particularly-aggressive form of lung cancer. A MA personal injury attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been harmed due to the negligence of J&J or any other manufacturer.

Even more victims and their families have filed lawsuits for ovarian cancer linked to talcum powder use. According to research, when women use talcum powder for feminine hygiene purposes, the talc particles can travel into the vagina and through the fallopian tubes, embedding in the ovaries. Once this occurs, the embedded particles can cause irritation and inflammation, and may eventually lead to cancer. African-American women have been disproportionately impacted by the negligence of J&J and other manufacturers of talc-based products.

Thousands of Lawsuits Pending Against J&J

Earlier in 2018, plaintiffs won a $4.69 billion verdict after proving that their ovarian cancer was caused by J&J products Shower to Shower and Baby Powder. J&J is currently facing thousands of similar lawsuits. Asbestos is a particularly dangerous substance because of its extremely long latency period. Men who haven’t worked around the mineral for 40 years are still being newly diagnosed with mesothelioma today. This means that women in their 60s who haven’t used talc products since their 20s and 30s could soon be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, mesothelioma, or other complications related to talc use more than 30 years ago. Continue reading

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been awarded to plaintiffs who have suffered injuries from using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products. Although the company has continued to defend the safety of its products, research has shown that talc-based products can dramatically increase the risk of ovarian cancer when used for feminine hygiene purposes.

Last week, J&J finally got its way, when one of the multi-million dollar verdicts was reversed. But women who have suffered talcum powder-related injuries should not be discouraged; the reversal had nothing to do with the merit of the case. It had only to do with where the case was tried. A Boston injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to a defective or dangerous product.

The family of Jacqueline Fox, an Alabama woman who died in 2015 from ovarian cancer after using Johnson’s Baby Powder for upwards of 35 years, was awarded $72 million in 2016. Although Fox lived in Alabama, her family’s lawsuit joined with dozens of others in the state of Missouri, as part of Multi-district Litigation (MDL) intended to expedite the process.

Out-of-State Restrictions

In a case involving Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in June 2017 that courts only have jurisdiction over an out-of-state claim if there exists an “affiliation between the forum and the underlying controversy, principally, [an] activity or an occurrence that takes place in the forum State.” Basically, this means that for a personal injury case to be tried in a particular state, the injury had to have occurred in that state, or the company being sued must be headquartered in that state.

J&J used this June ruling to their advantage, appealing the Fox family’s verdict based on the Supreme Court’s determination. Judge Lisa Van Amburg overturned the ruling, saying that: “The fact that resident plaintiffs sustained similar injuries does not support specific jurisdiction as to non-resident claims.” The bottom line is, the case should never have been tried in Missouri. As a result, the judgment has been reversed and vacated. Fox died four months before the trial began. Only two of the plaintiffs in the 65-person lawsuit with Fox were residents of Missouri.

Fox’s family is likely to appeal the decision. Continue reading

A hospitalized woman who claims that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder caused her ovarian cancer was awarded a record $417 million on Monday. The lawsuit alleges that when used for feminine hygiene, talc particles in the baby powder can enter the vagina and embed in the ovaries, leading to irritation, inflammation and – potentially – this especially-aggressive type of cancer.

The lawsuit brought by Eva Echeverria is the highest award in a string of talcum powder verdicts  across the nation over the last few years. Echeverria claims to have used the baby powder daily for more than 50 years, until she received the ovarian cancer diagnosis in 2007. According to her lawsuit, the cancer was a direct result “of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder.” A MA product liability attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a talc-based product.

The $417 million award consisted of $340 million in punitive damages and $68 million in compensatory damages. Included in the evidence presented in the case were multiple internal documents showing that Johnson & Johnson was aware of the risks associated with its baby powder but continued to market the product anyway. According to Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman Carol Goodrich, the company plans to appeal the verdict because scientific research supports the product’s safety.

“We are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder,” wrote Goodrich in a statement. “In April, the National Cancer Institute’s Physician Data Query Editorial Board wrote, ‘The weight of evidence does not support an association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.’ We are preparing for additional trials in the U.S., and we will continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”

Does Talcum Powder Cause Cancer?

Talc is a mineral that is often mined alongside asbestos, another well-known carcinogen. In fact, asbestos was found in some talc-based powders in the past. But does talcum powder actually cause cancer? According to Dr. Daniel Cramer, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the answer is yes. “Overall, women may increase their risk in general by about 33 percent by using talc in their hygiene,” said Cramer.

When women put talcum powder in their underwear for feminine hygiene purposes, talc particles may travel through the fallopian tubes to the ovaries, where they embed, causing irritation and inflammation which can lead to cancer over time. A Boston product liability attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by talcum powder or another dangerous product. Continue reading

When Deane Berg was 49 she was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. While searching the internet for possible causes of this deadly cancer, she was surprised to see talcum powder on the list. Although Berg had no other risk factors, such as endometriosis, she had been using baby powder for feminine hygiene every day, for at least 30 years. “I knew nothing about this before,” said Berg. “I figured baby powder is for babies, it must be safe.”

Ms. Berg was the first in a long line of women who filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, claiming that the manufacturing giant’s baby powder products caused their deadly disease. Johnson & Johnson stands behind its baby powder, saying the product is safe, despite thousands of lawsuits claiming the opposite. In fact, research dating back to 1971 links talc particles used in the genital area to ovarian cancer and cervical tumors. According to this research, and many studies that have been conducted since, talc particles have been found embedded in ovarian tumors. In response, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified talcum powder as a human carcinogen when used for feminine hygiene.

Johnson & Johnson plans to appeal two recent jury awards, both in the tens of millions of dollars. The company says that research linking talc to cancer is flawed. “We have children ourselves,” said Tara Glasgow, the head of research and development for J&J’s baby products franchise. “We would never sell a product we didn’t believe was safe.” A Boston injury lawyer can help if you think you were harmed by a talc-based product.

24% Greater Risk of Developing Ovarian Cancer Among Women Who Use Talcum Powder

In addition to evidence showing that talc particles can enter the vagina and migrate through the fallopian tubes and into the ovaries, talc is often mined near asbestos, a known – and very deadly – carcinogen. In the early 80s, Harvard professor Dr. Daniel W. Cramer led a study comparing 215 healthy women with 215 women who had ovarian cancer. The women who used talcum powder in the genital area regularly had more than three times the risk. Similar studies involving 20,000 women found that talcum powder use is linked to a 24 percent increase for ovarian cancer risk.

As cancers go, ovarian cancer is particularly aggressive, and deadly. In 2008, a nonprofit organization called Cancer Prevention Coalition petitioned the FDA for warning labels on talc-based products. The FDA denied the request. However, in the 2014 denial letter, the agency admitted that talc “may elicit a foreign-body-type reaction and inflammatory response that, in some exposed women, may progress to epithelial cancers.” A MA defective products attorney can help you determine how to move forward if you have developed cancer after using talcum powder.

In 2006, J&J’s talc supplier added a warning label to the talc…but J&J didn’t transfer the warning to its products containing that talc. “Talcum powder is an interesting case, because it’s not something that’s necessary,” said Dr. Anne McTiernan, an epidemiologist at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. “If there’s any doubt, why should anyone use it?” Continue reading

Lawsuits claiming that talc-based products have caused ovarian cancer in women who use them have been on the rise in recent years. According to research, women who use talcum powder for personal hygiene have a significantly higher risk of developing ovarian cancer than those who do not. Despite this risk, however, talcum powder products are still on the market. Even more disturbing is new evidence that manufacturers of talc-based products, such as Johnson & Johnson, may have known about the risk for decades.

The United States vs. Europe

In Europe, talc is banned from personal care products. In the United States, however, manufacturers are permitted to add minimal amounts of ingredients to personal care products with limited safety testing. In some cases, no safety testing is required at all. The difference between the US approach and that of the EU is night and day. Laws in the EU state that “chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects simply don’t belong in cosmetics.” To more clearly illustrate the difference, consider this: The EU has banned more than 1,300 potentially toxic chemicals from personal care products while the US has only banned 11. If you have been harmed by a dangerous product, contact a Boston injury lawyer today.

The Link Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

In 2013, the journal Cancer Prevention Research published a study on the risk of talcum powder use. The Brigham and Women’s Hospital study reviewed data from nearly 2,000 women. Their results showed an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer of up to 30 percent for women who used talc-based products for personal hygiene. According to research, when used for personal hygiene, talc minerals can travel through the fallopian tubes to the ovaries. If the particles become lodged in the ovaries, they can irritate the tissue, resulting in inflammation which can, in turn, become tumorous.

Large Awards in Wrongful Death and Product Liability Lawsuits

After using Johnson & Johnson baby powder for 35 years, Jacqueline Fox was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Last year, the pharmaceutical giant was ordered to pay $72 million for the wrongful death of the victim. Although Fox passed away a few months before the trial began, she expressed her desire to warn other women of the dangers of talcum powder. Another victim, Gloria Ristesund, was awarded $55 million last year for her talcum powder liability claim. Ristesund claimed that she used baby powder and Shower to Shower for more than three decades before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011. If you have been injured by a defective product, contact a MA injury lawyer today.

Despite all of the above, the FDA claims there is insufficient evidence to support the link between talc and ovarian cancer. As such, the agency refuses to label talc-based products as carcinogens even though they agreed that talc has a similar behavior pattern as asbestos. Continue reading

A woman suing pharmaceutical titan Johnson & Johnson has been awarded $70 million as the result of a case brought before court in St. Louis. The case was reportedly swung by the revealing of written communications between Johnson & Johnson and their supplier of talcum powder, Imerys, which “proved that the company was aware of the dangers for over 30 years.”  Medical professionals have known for years that repeated use of talcum powder is dangerous to both infants and children, causing symptoms such as difficult breathing. Now, with the help of this court ruling, it has been revealed that repeated talcum use can actually cause a dramatic increase in the likelihood for a woman to develop ovarian cancer.

Approximately one in 70 women will develop ovarian cancer on average. However, women who use talcum powder – which is made from the naturally-occurring clay mineral, talc – as part of a daily feminine hygiene regiment are reportedly 30 to 60% more at risk of developing ovarian cancer than women who do not use talcum powder regularly.  It is the third major payment issued to a plaintiff suing on the grounds that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder has caused them life-threatening health complications. The other plaintiffs, which filed in 2014, were awarded $55 million and $72 million. With this verdict, it is almost certain that more cases will come to light.

Aside from these high-profile litigations, Johnson & Johnson is now the subject of multiple class-action lawsuits on behalf of women who used talcum powder. Although not every woman who has used talcum powder regularly has or will develop ovarian cancer, the lawsuits stand as an indication that people are furious that Johnson & Johnson could continue to sell a product with known links to such a deadly disease. Despite the situation, Johnson & Johnson continues to sell its talcum powder products without any warning labels.

Talcum powder dangerous for women and infants

Talcum powder is a product that nearly everybody can remember either their parents, grandparents or themselves using at one point or another. The seemingly innocuous product is used in baby powders and adult powders meant to prevent odor and itching in areas of the body prone to sweating and heat. Many women use the products in their private area, which has been revealed to lead to a potentially increased risk for ovarian cancer.  A Harvard doctor, Daniel Cramer, studied the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer for 30 years and testified in court that talcum powder “was likely a contributing factor in 10,000 cases of ovarian cancer annually.” The testimony was part of a lawsuit filed by a South Dakota woman in 2006, which ruled that Johnson & Johnson was negligent about the dangers of its product but awarded no damages to the woman, who did develop ovarian cancer as the result of her talcum powder use. Continue reading

For decades, thousands of women used – and many continue to use – talcum powder as a feminine-hygiene product. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of those women may have developed ovarian cancer as a result. One of the deadliest forms of cancer, ovarian cancer is linked to the use of talc-based products, including Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.

The Risk of Ovarian Cancer Has Been Known for Decades

Talcum powder gets its name because it contains a mineral called talc. When these products are used in the genital area, talc particles can enter the vagina, and travel through the fallopian tubes into the ovaries. When talc particles embed in the ovaries, resulting irritation can cause inflammation, which can lead to the formation of cancerous cells. Most disturbing is the news that manufacturing giant Johnson & Johnson may have known about this deadly risk since the 1970s.

Talcum Powder Increases Risk of Ovarian Cancer by 20 to 30 Percent

Researchers have known about the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer since 1971. Studies conducted that year revealed that 75 percent of ovarian tumors studied contained talc particles. More recently, a 2013 study published in “Cancer Prevention Research” found that talcum powder use increases a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer by up to 30 percent. J&J’s failure to warn about these risks may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of women. When companies put profits before the health and safety of customers, they should be held accountable.

Signs of Ovarian Cancer

If you develop any of the following signs or symptoms, contact your physician immediately:

  • Abdominal pain, bloating, or nausea that won’t go away
  • Unexplained loss of appetite
  • A feeling of being “always full”
  • Pelvic and lower back pressure
  • Frequent urination
  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Constant fatigue
  • Abdominal swelling

All of the above symptoms are related to multiple health conditions, some of them harmless. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry. This is especially true with ovarian cancer, which has been dubbed the “silent killer” because symptoms often go unnoticed until it’s too late.

Many lawsuits have been filed against J&J, and at least two cases have already been successful. In fact, the family of one deceased plaintiff was awarded $72 million in 2016 for the loss of their loved one to ovarian cancer. Another woman received $55 million this year, after she developed ovarian cancer from decades of baby powder use. Experts have reported that talcum powder use may be linked to an estimated 10,000 new ovarian cancer cases each year. New studies suggest that use of talc-based products may also be linked to mesothelioma, another highly-aggressive form of cancer. Continue reading

Talc, also known as talcum powder, is a naturally occurring mineral made up of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen that is highly stable, chemically inert and odorless.  Talcum powder is generally accepted as safe for cosmetic and personal use, as it is known to absorb moisture and prevent friction, thereby functioning to keep skin dry and prevent rashes.  Most people are aware of its presence in baby powder and adult body/facial powders.  When found naturally, talc can contain asbestos, a known carcinogen when inhaled.  However, all consumer talcum products have been required to be asbestos-free since the 1970s.  Still, there are concerns that there may be a link between talcum powder and cancer.  These concerns have focused on two main risk groups.  People who have long-term exposure to natural talc fibers at work, talc miners for example, may be at a higher risk for lung cancer as a result of inhaling talc fibers while on the job.  The other risk group is women who regularly apply talcum powder to the genital area, as they may have an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Although companies that manufacture talcum powder products, most notably Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, repeatedly claim their products are safe and non-cancer causing, some studies have surfaced that have highlighted the link between genital talcum powder use and ovarian cancer.  The first study linking the two was in 1971 published by several Welsh doctors in which talc particles were found in tumors of the cervix and ovaries.  After this initial study, numerous other studies were completed and published, many supporting the link between genital talc use and ovarian cancer.  Recently, a report released by Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention claimed a 44 percent increased risk for invasive epithelial ovarian cancer among African American women who applied talc to their genitals regularly.  Johnson & Johnson still holds that its baby powder is safe, although several claims against the company have resulted in multimillion-dollar awards by the company.

Of the dozens of studies involving talcum powder and cancer, many supporting the link between talcum powder and cancer, and many providing no evidence between the substance and cancer at all.  The studies that allege a relationship between talcum powder and ovarian cancer argue that by dusting female genitals or feminine products with talcum powder, talc particles can enter the vagina, travel in the uterus, and finally to the ovaries.  The products were targeted towards women, with manufacturers noting the appeal of a powder that could keep women comfortable and free of vaginal odors.  Johnson & Johnson, although has been the recipient of several claims regarding ovarian cancer and their body powder products, has claimed that the research linking talcum powder and cancer is inconclusive and has failed to place any sort of warning label on its products.  Since 2013, the drug manufacturer has spent over $5 billion to resolve various legal claims regarding Johnson & Johnson drugs and medical devices.  Julie Hennessy, a marketing professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, commented on the lawsuits saying, “Whether or not the science indicates that Baby Powder is a cause of ovarian cancer, Johnson & Johnson has a very significant breach of trust.”  Aside from the cancer risk, these products are made for babies.  If there is a potentially cancerous element to Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, parents should be made aware, shouldn’t they?  The only label that the product does have warns against inhalation, saying it is for external use only.  Although some lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson have been successful and resulted in damages paid to the claimants, it may be some time before enough studies conclusively prove that there is a link between the talcum powder products and ovarian cancer. Continue reading

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