Hundreds of women have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson alleging that the company’s popular Shower to Shower brand of talcum powder products for feminine hygiene gave them ovarian cancer. According to a news report on PRI.org, the company markets Shower to Shower as: “Just a sprinkle a day helps keep the odor away.” Now at least 700 lawsuits have been filed arguing that talc in this and other products led to their ovarian cancers and that the company should have warned them of the risk. Some studies beginning in 1982 have indicated that women who used talcum powder products for feminine hygiene have a higher risk of ovarian cancer than those who do not use them.
The Link Between Talc and Ovarian Cancer
Talc is the softest known mineral and talcum powder, for decades, has been used as a lubricant, in cosmetics and for personal hygiene. Johnson’s baby powder was one of the company’s original products, which has been sold for more than a century. In the last few decades, some studies have suggested a possible link between talc and ovarian cancer. These studies go back to 1971 when British researchers reported that a microscopic analysis of 13 ovarian tumors found talc particles in 10 of them.
Several other studies in the early 1980s both in the U.S. and Europe suggested that women who use talc feminine hygiene products may have up to a 35 percent higher risk of ovarian cancer than women who didn’t use those products. The idea is that talc can travel through the genital track to the ovaries and that the inflammation that is caused by talc particles being deposited there leads to the cancer.
Failure to Warn of the Risk
Attorneys expect that the numbers of women who get ovarian cancer as a result of using this powder will only go up. About 14,000 women die from ovarian cancer each years in the United States. Researchers who believe there is a causal link estimate that talcum powder could cause about 2,100 cases, roughly 10 percent of ovarian cancers. Johnson & Johnson officials say they have never issued a warning because they believe their products are safe.
The question still remains as to why the company did not warn consumers in spite of conclusive research that talcum powder use causes ovarian cancer. How prevalent is the use of talcum powder today among women for feminine hygiene? Are more women still at risk of getting ovarian cancer? It is about time the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gets involved to speed up the research and consumer warnings. Anyone who has been affected as a result of using these products would be well advised to contact an experienced baby powder injury lawyer who will protect their rights and hold the at-fault parties accountable.