Have you or a loved one used Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder-based products and been diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer? You or your family may qualify for compensation. Click the button to the right to learn more and get in touch with our attorneys today.
Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson finds itself the subject of numerous class-action lawsuits filed in 2014, which claim the company is responsible for ovarian cancer through its talcum powder products like Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.
The class-action filings came one year after South Dakota resident Deane Berg won her legal claim that J&J was negligent because it did not warn her during three decades of Baby Powder use could put her at greater risk for developing ovarian cancer. Berg was diagnosed with that type of cancer in 2006.
Women and Talcum Powder
Over many decades, women used talc-based powders to keep the groin area cool and comfortable and discourage the development of vaginal odors. Additionally, the reproductive tracts of many women were exposed to talcum powder via diaphragms or condoms sprinkled with the product.
women are winning their fight
Five women have been awarded over $700 million in their fight against Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive. Read more about their successful cases below:
Does talcum powder cause ovarian cancer?
Conclusions of Talc and Ovarian Cancer studies have differed over the years:
- In 1971, scientists in Wales pointed to a possible connection between the dusting of female genitals with talcum powder and ovarian cancer. They discovered particles of talc embedded in ovarian and cervical tumors. The scientists believed that talc particles entered a woman’s reproductive tract through the vagina and traveled through the cervix into the uterus, then moved through the fallopian tubes to the ovaries. Researchers detailed findings in The Lancelet journal that a majority of ovarian tumors had particles of talc deeply embedded in them. That study was followed by another study published in 1982 in the journal Cancer. The 1982 case-control study was the first to link genital talc use with ovarian cancer. Dozens of subsequent studies confirmed the association, with varying degrees of increased risk. A 2014 study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found no association; however, at least one expert has said that study was flawed because it didn’t weigh the role of estrogen in increasing the risk for postmenopausal women.
- Dr. Daniel W. Cramer and his colleagues compared 215 white women with ovarian cancer with 215 similar women without ovarian cancer. They found women who used talcum powder were at nearly twice the risk for having ovarian cancer when compared with nonusers. Women who used talcum powder on their genitals and sanitary pads on a regular basis were at more than three times the risk. Cramer, who is a Harvard epidemiologist and head of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Epidemiology Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, has testified as a paid expert in lawsuits against talcum-powder makers.
- The 2016 study in Epidemiology analyzed case-control data collected over 16 years on talc use and ovarian cancer. It found ovarian cancer was one-third higher among women who used talc on their genitals on a regular basis. Researchers asked 2,014 ovarian cancer patients and 2,100 healthy women about their talcum powder use. Women who said they regularly dusted their genitals, sanitary napkins, tampons and underwear with talc had a 33 percent higher risk of ovarian cancer, according to the study. Most women in the study reported using Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower to Shower. The results are consistent with a recent pooled analysis from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium, which reported that use of talcum powder on genitals is associated with a 24 percent increased risk of ovarian cancer.
- Researchers at the Tisch Cancer Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, New York looked at 24 previously published statistical analyses and studies with data on more than 300,000 women with ovarian cancer. Their findings, published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention in 2017, suggest a “weak but statistically significant association between genital use of talc and ovarian cancer, which appears to be limited to serous carcinoma. Overall, it is about a 20 percent higher risk for women who say they used talc, compared to women who say they did not use it.” In addition, The journal Cancer Prevention Research published a study in June 2013 that showed an increased risk of ovarian cancer between 20 and 30 percent for women who used talcum powder for intimate personal hygiene. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital reviewed data from eight research papers that involved nearly 2,000 women.
- In a study of African American women, genital powder use was significantly associated with ovarian cancer risk. Critics say that Johnson & Johnson specifically marketed talcum powder products to African American women. In 2016, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention published the study by Joellen M. Schildkraut, which found African American women who use talcum powder in their groin area have a 44 percent increased risk for ovarian cancer.