November 25, 2016 - If you are a woman in the United States, you may have considerable anxiety regarding the latest baby powder ovarian cancer lawsuits in which Johnson & Johnson was found liable. In the first Johnson & Johnson talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit, held in South Dakota, the jury found that J & J was guilty of negligence for failing to warn plaintiff Deane Berg of the risks of ovarian cancer when their baby powder with talc is used for feminine hygiene. In a puzzling verdict, however, Berg was awarded no damages. During Berg’s 2013 trial, Johnson & Johnson medical experts dismissed the idea that talc was responsible for her cancer, calling it “biologically implausible.”
The presence of talc fibers in her ovarian tumor was explained as “contamination,” which the medical experts said was common in hospitals. Unfortunately, that explanation could hardly account for the 1971 study by British researchers, which found talc fibers deeply embedded in the ovarian tissues of ten out of thirteen women who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Other studies also linked the use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene to ovarian cancer.
Studies Linking Talcum Powder to Ovarian Cancer
In 1992, the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology published a study which concluded women who used baby powder with talc, on a weekly basis for feminine hygiene, were increasing their risk of developing ovarian cancer threefold. Two years later, the Cancer Prevention Coalition asked that the FDA require warnings on the labeling of talcum powder which would tell women that when talcum powder is used for feminine hygiene, the risks of ovarian cancer are increased. The FDA claimed there was insufficient evidence to require such a warning, and Johnson & Johnson refused to issue the warnings voluntarily. In 1997, the American Journal of Epidemiologyaffirmed that when talcum powder was used in the perineal region, the risks of ovarian cancer increased.
In 1999, Dr. Daniel Cramer, one of the early pioneers in the studies of talcum powder and ovarian cancer as well as an advocate for warning women of the risks of talcum powder, worked with other authors in a baby powder ovarian cancer study. The authors concluded that when talcum powder was used for feminine hygiene, as many as ten percent of the ovarian cancer diagnoses each year could be attributed to that use. Cramer and his co-authors estimated as many as 2,000 cases of ovarian cancer each year could be tied to the use of baby powder with talc, and that women should be warned of the risks. Many years earlier Cramer was visited by a senior scientist from Johnson & Johnson who, Cramer claimed, spent the entire time attempting to convince Cramer that the use of talcum powder was a harmless habit.
In 2003, a meta-analysis compiled and reviewed data from sixteen prior talcum powder ovarian cancer studies. This meta-analysis was published in Anticancer Research, and concluded that the perineal use of baby powder could increase the risk of ovarian cancer by 33 percent. It appears that, despite J & J claims to the contrary, many studies have found a definitive link between the use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene, and ovarian cancer. If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and you are wondering whether that diagnosis is related to your use of Johnson & Johnson baby powder with talc or Shower to Shower with talc, it could be beneficial to speak to a knowledgeable baby powder ovarian cancer attorney as soon as possible.