Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Look at the Most Notable Early Studies on Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

September 14, 2016 - Women across America, who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, likely have many questions regarding baby powder ovarian cancer dangers. Likewise, women who have used Johnson & Johnson baby powder with talc for a significant length of time, may also have questions regarding talcum powder ovarian cancer dangers. Three separate juries have found Johnson & Johnson liable for the injuries suffered by the plaintiffs and their families. The first Johnson & Johnson talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit ended in favor of plaintiff Deane Berg, although no damages were awarded.

 

The second Johnson & Johnson talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit ended in a Missouri jury awarding the family of Jacqueline Fox $10 million in compensatory damages, and $62 million in punitive damages. The third trial, also decided by a Missouri jury, in May 2016, was decided in favor of the plaintiff, Gloria Ristesund. Ristesund was awarded $55 million, with $50 million of that award being designated as punitive damages.  In these trials, J & J was found guilty of failure to warn, conspiracy to conceal the potential risks of talcum powder products, and negligence. 

 

First Indications that Talcum Powder Used for Feminine Hygiene Could Cause Ovarian Cancer

While there have been some 22 studies conducted on the subject of talcum powder and its link to ovarian cancer over the past thirty-five years, in fact, the first indication that talcum powder, when used in the perineal area, could potentially cause ovarian cancer, occurred in the early 1970’s.  In 1971, British researchers analyzed 13 ovarian tumors under a microscope. The researchers found talc particles deeply embedded in ten of those tumors. This leads credence to the theory that talc fibers can migrate up through the vagina, uterus and fallopian tubes, finding their way to the ovaries.

 

Once embedded in the ovaries, the talc fibers cause significant levels of inflammation—a well-known factor in many types of cancers. While it seems the finding of talc fibers in ovarian tumors would have signaled a serious issue was present, the findings of the British researchers went largely unnoticed. Later, an article was published in The Lancet in the early 1970’s which concluded that the “potentially harmful effects of talc…in the ovary…should not be ignored.”

 

Statistical Link Found Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

The first study which clearly showed a statistical link between the use of talcum powder used for feminine hygiene and ovarian cancer was published in 1982 in the journal Cancer. Not long after the publication of this study, the author of the study, Harvard Medical School professor and gynecologist, Dr. Daniel Cramer, attempted to persuade a scientist from Johnson & Johnson that women should be made aware of the potential risks associated with the use of talcum powder in the perineal area.

 

Cramer noted that the J & J scientist was equally adamant in persuading Cramer that the use of talc for feminine hygiene was a harmless habit. Nearly 17 years later, Dr. Cramer, along with other authors, would conclude the use of talcum powder in the perineal area could be responsible for as many as 10 percent of all diagnoses of ovarian cancers in the United States. Once again, Dr. Cramer would ask that women at least be warned of the potential dangers of talcum powder so they could make a decision with all the facts.  

 

Getting the Legal Help You Need

While Johnson & Johnson continues to deny there are any dangers associated with talcum powder, when used in the perineal area, many studies have found otherwise. If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and wonder whether your use of talcum powder could have contributed to that diagnosis, it could be beneficial to speak to an experienced baby powder ovarian cancer attorney as soon as possible.
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Author: Andrew Sullo
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Andrew Sullo

Andrew SulloAndrew Sullo

Andrew Sullo is a National Trial Lawyer's Top 100 Selection for 2013-2018. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice.

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