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Harvard MD Testifies to the Link Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

Los Angeles Jury Awards $40.3 Million to Woman Who Says Johnson & Johnson's Baby Powder Caused Her Mesothelioma

A Harvard epidemiologist told a Missouri jury this week that he can say with “medical and scientific certainty” that a woman’s daily use of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products in her genital area for four decades was the primary reason she developed ovarian cancer. According to a news report on Law360, Dr. Daniel Cramer testified on the tenth day of the trial involving plaintiff Lois Slemp, which is ongoing in St. Louis. Slemp’s is the fifth case over the alleged link between J & J’s talcum powder products and ovarian cancer to head to trial in the city. J & J’s talc supplier, Imerys, is a co-defendant in this case.

Overwhelming Evidence

Cramer testified that he had assessed the plaintiff’s medical and lifestyle factors to evaluate the likely cause of her ovarian tumors. He said that while Slemp’s obesity, family history of different cancers and decades of smoking could have had some impact, it was her use of talcum powder that weighed the most. In Slemp’s case she had used talc daily for four decades. And that’s a lot of talc, Cramer said. He said her genital use of talc was the “major contributing cause and substantial cause” in the development of her ovarian cancer. He also noted that Slemp had been genetically tested and found not to be carrying the genes that increase the risk of ovarian cancer.

Cramer added that the evidence “almost speaks for itself” and that the reason talc particles were found in the ovarian tissue Slemp had removed was due to the fact that she used J & J’s talc-based baby powder and Shower to  Shower products. Interestingly enough, Cramer was one of the first scientists to connect the dots between talc use for feminine hygiene and ovarian cancer. In fact, he had published an article as early as 1985 urging doctors to warn their patients against using talc on their genitals.

Talcum Powder Lawsuits

So far J &J has been hit with $200 million in verdicts. The first talc trial in St. Louis resulted in a $72 million jury award to the family of Jacqueline Fox who died of ovarian cancer after having used talcum powder for decades. In the second trial, plaintiff Gloria Ristesund was awarded $55 million and in the third, Deborah Giannecchini was awarded $70 million. J&J has also been able to convince another St. Louis jury that a plaintiff’s ovarian cancer was not connected to her talcum powder use. The first California trial is set for July.

Our talcum powder lawyers hope the facts about talc’s link to ovarian cancer come out and that doctors and product manufacturers are required as a result to warn consumers about the dangers of using talcum powder on their genitals. It is outrageous that J&J was able to get away with aggressively marketing and selling these products to women over several decades.

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