A lawsuit filed against Johnson & Johnson last year claimed that a woman developed ovarian cancer because of her having used talcum powder for 30 years. Her personal injury attorney was able to successfully argue her case and secure a court award of $72 million for damages and punitive damages. The outcome of the remaining cases have yet to be determined.
More than 1,000 lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson that claim the pharmaceutical giant was aware of a link between its baby powder and ovarian cancer. Instead of disclosing this risk to their customers, the company advertised that powder was safe for daily use.
What Makes Baby Powder Dangerous?
Not all types of baby powders have been linked to cancer. It is only baby powder that is made from talc, not from cornstarch. The use of talc has previously brought up health concerns about the harm it may cause if inhaled because it can cause granuloma or aspiration pneumonia.
Allegations that talc was linked to instances of ovarian cancer first came about in the 1970s. Some types of talc naturally contain asbestos, which is a known carcinogen. Talc products in the United States have been required to be asbestos free since the 1970s. Using baby powder in the genital area could allow the travel of talc fibers through the fallopian tubes up to the ovaries. Once in the ovaries, the talc fibers could be trapped for years. A study uncovered that embedded talc fibers were found in many ovarian tumors.
Studies Show Cancer Risk Increases with Talc Use
There have been many studies conducted to examine the link between talc powers and ovarian cancer. More than 2,000 women with ovarian cancer were studied along with a control group of women who were cancer-free. Researchers found that there was a 33 percent increase of ovarian cancer risk among women who used talc in their genital areas.
Litigating Ovarian Cancer Cases
One would expect that a product such as baby powder would be completely safe. After all, if the powder is safe enough to use on a baby, it is not unreasonable to expect that it would be safe for women to use as a deodorant or body freshener. Therefore, it may come as a surprise that its use has been linked to increased incidents of ovarian cancer among women. A Las Vegas personal injury attorney advises that Las Vegas women should be aware of their risks if they have used or are currently using talc baby power and seek medical help for any signs of ovarian cancer.