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Product Liability Claims Regarding Talc and Ovarian Cancer Increase

Talcum PowderTalcum powder, a combination of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen was first introduced to the American public by Johnson & Johnson in 1893. The Johnson & Johnson talcum powder was marketed to absorb moisture as well as to alleviate friction by keeping the skin dry to prevent skin irritations. Additional product lines such as shampoos, body lotions, and baby wipes were added to the Johnson & Johnson family of products in the 1980s. During early production, the powder contained asbestos, a known carcinogen. Although this component was chemically removed in the 1970s, both women and Johnson & Johnson are finding out there is more to the story.  

For 40 years or perhaps even longer, the use of talc has been questioned by the medical industry, so much so that medical studies to date have failed to prove that the product is 100 percent safe. This speculation exposes Johnson & Johnson to public scrutiny and product liability claims.

Warnings and Research

Historically, talc has been used in cosmetics, baby products, and as a personal feminine hygiene product. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently states that there are no physical or chemical dangers in talc but warns against inhalation. In the 1960s, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly warned against the use of talc due to aspiration risks while The International Agency on Research on Cancer states that using talcum powder around the genital areas increases risk of cancer in humans as studies indicate traces of talc in both the ovaries and pelvic lymph nodes.

Although the debate continues whether the use of talc is specifically linked to ovarian cancer, many believe that the link is clear enough that manufacturers of talc products should be adding a warning to product labels. This request was in response to a 1971 study linking talc to increased cases of cancer but manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson chose not to alert or educate the public on the possible dangers.

Legal Battles

In 2013, the issue was escalated as the first talc-ovarian cancer lawsuit was won against Johnson & Johnson in federal court. During this lawsuit, a lawyer representing Johnson & Johnson admitted that the company was aware of the association of talc and ovarian cancer for decades but did not find the connection significant enough to add a warning label to their products.

Although Johnson & Johnson claims that scientific references are minimal, more than 2,000 women have sued the company. While Johnson & Johnson was successful in having two cases thrown out by a judge for insufficient evidence, two women have been paid over $127 million dollars to date. In October 2016, a California woman was awarded over $70 million dollars as she claimed that Johnson & Johnson talc product was the cause of her diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Currently, as more women have joined together, it is almost certain that Johnson & Johnson will be named in a class action lawsuit.

We Can Help

The trust we place in brand-name companies and their reputations is not always rewarded with the same level of honesty and transparency. If you find yourself facing a diagnosis of ovarian cancer and believe it may be a result of using a talc-based product, the trusted Monterey product liability attorneys of Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. can help. With over 45 years of legal experience, CMA has been building trusted relationships with clients in Monterey County. Contact us today at (408) 298-7200 to learn more about our services.

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