Why Has Johnson & Johnson Not Changed Its Warning Label for its Baby Powder Products with Talc?

The Lesser Known Association Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

Regarding the ongoing Johnson & Johnson talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits and the recent victories on the part of plaintiffs who claimed J & J’s baby powder with talc gave them ovarian cancer—many wonder why there are not warning labels on baby powders which contain talc.  In the fall of 2017 a Los Angeles jury awarded a woman a substantial verdict in her talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit. Sixty-three-year-old Eve Echeverria blamed her terminal ovarian cancer on her use of J & J baby powder with talc for feminine hygiene, starting from the time she was about 11 years old. Echeverria argued the pharmaceutical giant should have warned women about the potential risks of using their product. Echeverria joins five other plaintiffs who also had positive outcomes to their baby powder ovarian cancer lawsuit.

Evidence Which Points to Risks Associated with Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

There are currently more than 5,500 talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits filed against J & J. Since over the past five decades as many as 40 peer-reviewed papers, which studied the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, have been published in medical journals, there is a significant amount of evidence which supports the claims of these plaintiffs. In 1971, the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology published a small study which revealed talc particles had been found in three-fourths of the ovarian and cervical tumors removed from 13 different women. At least 22 studies have indicated a potential link or a positive link between the use of talcum powder in the perineal region and ovarian cancer. Even the studies which found no such link recommended further study.

J & J’s Failure to Warn about Ovarian Cancer Risks

Manufacturers of products can be held liable for marketing defects and for failure to warn consumers about the potential risks of using their products. This means that whether J & J believes their product brings certain risks to women or not, if they knew there was a potential risk, they could be found liable for a failure to warn its consumers. According to a lawyer for one of the many women who have filed suit, Johnson & Johnson knew about “the association of talc and ovarian cancer” as far back as 1979. Johnson & Johnson decided against adding a warning to the product label on J & J baby powder with talc. Johnson & Johnson continues to maintain that their baby powder products with talc remain completely safe.

It is still undetermined why J & J refuses to place a warning label on its baby powder with talc and its Shower to Shower powder with talc. Further, most other companies began using corn starch rather than talc in their talcum powders, simply to avoid any potential risks; while J & J does market a powder made with corn starch, the company continues to manufacture two powders which contain talc, with no warnings to women about any potential risks.

Getting Legal Help from an Experienced Baby Powder Ovarian Cancer Lawyer

Women who have developed talcum powder ovarian cancer from the use of J & J’s baby powder with talc or Shower to Shower with talc, could benefit from seeking the advice of an experienced baby powder ovarian cancer lawyer. A knowledgeable and experienced baby powder ovarian cancer attorney can determine whether a baby powder ovarian cancer lawsuit is appropriate to pursue.

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Author: Andrew Sullo
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Andrew Sullo

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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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