Does Baby Powder Cause Ovarian Cancer?

Learn What the Experts Have to Say

The long-awaited Daubert decision was given by Chief Judge Wolfson, the judge overseeing the Johnson & Johnson baby powder ovarian cancer multidistrict litigation at the end of April 2020. Wolfson gave a 141-page opinion that comprehensively analyzed the factors which will determine whether scientific expert witnesses (both for the plaintiffs and for the defendants) will be allowed to testify on various issues that are critical to the cases pending on baby powder ovarian cancer.

One of the most prominent issues at hand was the defendant’s (Johnson & Johnson) claim that the studies done by Dr. Longo that found asbestos in talcum powder were “junk science.” This, despite the fact that in October 2019, the FDA reported J & J’s own laboratory identified trace amounts of asbestos in their baby powder products that contained talcum powder. While the Daubert decision was pending, emerging reports were brought to the Court’s attention, although whether plaintiffs’ experts will utilize data from these reports or rely on previous findings is unknown.

Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Experts - An inflammation and oxidative stress expert for the plaintiffs, Dr. Ghassad Saed found a causal connection between the relationship between inflammation and other pathological conditions in ovarian cells and the pathogenesis of ovarian cancer. In layman’s terms, Dr. Saed found that the introduction of particles of talcum powder into normal ovarian cells clearly leads to oxidative stress and inflammation—both known to cause ovarian cancer. While J & J lawyers took issue with the methods, procedures, and conclusions from Dr. Saed, his study was found reliable under Daubert standards. That being said, Dr. Saed will only be allowed to testify that talcum powder can cause oxidative stress and inflammation and will not be able to offer his opinions regarding the connection between ovarian cancer and talcum powder.

Dr. Longo, another of the plaintiffs’ baby powder ovarian cancer experts, tested 72 samples of talcum powder taken from railroad cars and containers over a period of four decades for asbestos contamination. Dr. Longo used a polarized light microscope and a transmission electron microscope in his study, concluding that 50 containers out of the 72 tested rendered a 69 percent positive result—both for the Johnson & Johnson baby powder with talc containers and the Shower to Shower containers, as well as for the railroad cars—for asbestos. Dr. Long’s conclusion was that it was more likely than not that those using J & J’s Shower to Shower and Baby Powder with Talc would likely have been exposed to “significant airborne levels of both regulated amphibole asbestos and fibrous (asbestiform) talc.”  Dr. Longo will be allowed to discuss the asbestos findings but will not be allowed to say that women using the powders were exposed to asbestos.

Drs. McTiernan, Carson, and Clarke-Pearson have been called by the plaintiffs’ attorneys to testify regarding causation—whether those using talcum powder products were exposed to a higher risk of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. These three doctors would testify that when women use talcum powder in the genital region for the purpose of feminine hygiene, their risk of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer significantly increases—and the court was satisfied that these three doctors were qualified to argue causation based on properly conducted control studies. In fact, the court found there was sufficient scientific evidence to support the inclusion of experts from both sides—even though the body of relevant scientific evidence could be “open to different interpretations.”

How an Experienced Baby Powder Ovarian Cancer Lawyer Can Help - If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder with talc or Shower to Shower with talc for feminine hygiene, it could be very beneficial for you to speak with an experienced talcum powder ovarian cancer lawyer from Sullo & Sullo. We will answer your questions and help you determine whether a talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit is right for you.  

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Author: Andrew Sullo
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