How Does Talcum Powder Cause Ovarian Cancer?

Michael Bennett
July 10, 2016 - 45 Views

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For decades women have used Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products for feminine hygiene because they are believed to be safe. Over the past 20 years, however, studies have shown that women who use Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products such as Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower may actually be at a higher risk for developing ovarian cancer.

Women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and who have a history of using J&J talc products may be eligible to file a talcum powder cancer lawsuit. See statute of limitations of talcum powder cancer cases.

Thousands of women have already filed claims against Johnson & Johnson, alleging the company failed to warn them of the cancer risk. A Virginia woman was awarded more than $160 million in the latest talc ovarian cancer claim. She was awarded $5.4 million in compensatory damages and $155 in combined punitive damages against J&J and Imerys Talc.

So, how does talcum powder cause ovarian cancer? There isn’t a clear black and white answer to this question. But, studies do suggest that when talcum powder is applied directly to the vaginal area or even sprinkled on underwear or feminine napkins, the tiny talc particles can enter the body through the vagina, travel through the uterus and fallopian tubes and make their way to the ovaries. The particles can cause inflammation in the ovaries and, over time, may lead to the development of cancerous tumors.

Because talc particles have been found inside tumors that have been removed from the ovaries and surrounding areas of the body, we know that talc particles can travel from the vagina (where applied) to the ovaries. Even though there is no clear link between the particles and ovarian cancer, researchers believe that they could be playing a role in the development of the tumors.

Such results have swayed juries to side with several plaintiffs in talc ovarian lawsuits brought against J&J and other defendant companies.

What is Talcum Powder?

Talcum powder is a soft powdery substance made from talc, a mineral made up of magnesium, silicon and oxygen. Women use talcum powder as a way to keep dry and prevent odors and rash. It can be used to prevent razor burn after shaving or applied to the underwear to prevent extra moisture and odor caused by menstruation.

The most common talcum products made by Johnson & Johnson are:

  • Johnson & Johnson’s Shower-to-Shower Powder: a feminine hygiene product designed to eliminate odors and absorb moisture.
  • Johnson’s Baby Powder: a product that has been used on babies for the prevention and treatment of diaper rash for more than 100 years. It is believed to be safe for even the most delicate little bodies. Because it is believed to be safe for babies, women have been using it for years for their own hygiene.

Talc has also been used in a number of other products because of its ability to absorb moisture. Some of these products include cosmetic products such as eye shadow, blush and foundation; antiperspirants; in the outer coating of chewing gum and other candy to prevent sticking to the wrapper; and various soaps.

I Use Baby Powder: Should I Be Tested for Ovarian Cancer?

Women who use talcum powder products should be aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer and should visit a doctor if they develop any pain or unusual symptoms.

Symptoms can develop in the earliest stages of ovarian cancer and can include:

  • Unexplained bloating
  • Pain in the pelvic or abdominal areas
  • Difficulty eating/feeling full quickly
  • Urgent or frequent need to urinate
  • Back pain
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Chronic and unexplained fatigue

If I am Diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer Can I Sue J&J?

Any women who is diagnosed with ovarian cancer and who has a history of using a J&J talc product for feminine hygiene should consider speaking with a lawyer about her legal options. Thousands of talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits have already been filed nationwide and many more are expected to be filed as more women are diagnosed with cancer.

Juries have started to side with women in these claims because J&J was made aware of the possible talc ovarian cancer link many years ago but failed to add a warning to the product label or make any attempt to warn the public.

Product makers have a legal responsibility to American consumers and should warn the public of any potential side effects as soon as they catch wind of them. J&J has created a name for itself, one that American consumers have come to know and trust. Because of this, many people use their products thinking they are the safest on the market.

Studies are showing that Johnson & Johnson may have been privy to a possible link between talc powder and ovarian cancer many years ago but decided not to tell the public or the FDA. According to reports, however, J&J continues to stand by the safety of its talc products and will continue to fight such ovarian cancer claims.

Will I Qualify for Compensation?

One thing to keep in mind is every case is different and comes with its own set of unique circumstances. So, even though you may have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and you have been using J&J products for years, you may not qualify for damages.

In the event that you do qualify, it may be significant, so it is worth a call to an attorney. Damages can include pain and suffering; medical bills; lost wages in the event you are unable to work; loss of economic and social relationships; and more. If someone you love died from ovarian cancer, you may be eligible to sue for wrongful death.

The only way to find out if you or a loved one is eligible to file a lawsuit and pursue damages is by contacting a lawyer. Persons should be prepared to discuss their medical histories and should be prepared to provide medical records of ovarian cancer diagnosis. They should also be prepared to answer a number of personal health questions to determine eligibility.

It is important to keep in mind these types of cases do have time limitations, so it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Michael Bennett

About Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett is Editor-in-Chief of Consumer Protect.com. Since 1999, he's worked across a multitude of areas of consumer protection including defective products, environmental issues, identity theft, predatory lending and more. His mission with Consumer Protect.com is to promote & support competition in all industries but not at the expense of the consumer. If you find his articles helpful please share them with your readers.