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New Lawsuit Links Baby Powder and Ovarian Cancer

talc powder cancer lawsuitAllegations that Johnson’s Baby Powder may cause women to develop ovarian cancer have surfaced once again in a talc powder cancer lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. The complaint dated May 23, 2014 by Barbara Mihalich seeks class-action status to include all Illinois purchasers of the ubiquitous baby powder in the state.

Baby powder is commonly known as a preventative for diaper rash and a soothing agent for an infant’s skin. However, many women now use Johnson’s Baby Powder as a general body powder after showering. Johnson & Johnson and other manufacturers of powder products have taken that cue to specifically target women in their marketing and product lines, such as Johnson’s Shower to Shower, encouraging women to use anytime they want their “skin to feel soft, fresh and comfortable”.

Concerns have increased in recent years about the potential risk of ovarian cancer when baby powder is applied to the female genitals. Researchers have indicated that the baby powder may migrate through the vagina to the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries, with evidence of talc found within some ovarian tumors.

Talc powder cancer lawsuit highlights studies

The product liability attorneys at Eisbrouch & Marsh have long been aware of the potential link between talc-based powders such as Johnson’s Shower to Shower and Johnson’s Baby Powder and ovarian cancer. The firm is currently investigating potential legal claims for ovarian cancer victims whose illness may be tied to talc powder products. At least six medical studies conducted since 1992 have shown an increased risk for ovarian cancer among users of talcum-based products.

One recent Boston study, “Genital Powder Use and Risk of Ovarian Cancer” authored by Kathryn L. Terry of Brigham and Womens Hospital’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Epidemiology Center, found that “…genital powder use was associated with a modest increased risk of epithelial ovarian cancer relative to women who never used powder. Risk was elevated for invasive…, endometrioid…, clear cell tumors…, and for borderline serous tumors.”

In June 2013, a study published in the medical journal Cancer Prevention Research indicated that women who used genital powder containing talc may face a 20% to 30% higher risk of ovarian cancer than those who do not.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, has classified genital use of talc powder as a “possible carcinogen,” and the American Cancer Society has indicated women concerned about the talcum powder cancer risk may want to avoid or limit use by considering cornstarch-based products

Talcum powder lawsuit testimony: 10,000 ovarian cancer cases yearly

In 2013, a South Dakota jury found sufficient evidence during trial to establish a link between J&J’s Shower to Shower body powder and ovarian cancer in a 56 year old woman. During the trial, Harvard University’s Daniel Cramer testified that he has studied the links between talc and ovarian cancer for 30 years and suggested that talcum powder may cause 10,000 cases of ovarian cancer yearly.

The Illinois class action complaint reads, “Despite the potential catastrophic health consequence, Defendants do not tell consumers about the dangers associated with talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder. Instead, Defendants continue to… represent that the product is safe for use… in the very manner most likely to result in an increased risk of ovarian cancer.”

A similar class action was filed in May in California, alleging that the manufacturer knew for decades about the risk of ovarian cancer, yet it placed desire for profits above consumer safety by withholding the potential risk information from consumers.

The Illinois talcum powder lawsuit is one of a rising number of complaints filed on behalf of women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using Johnson’s Baby Powder and other similar talc-based products.

If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and have used any talc-based powder products, contact Eisbrouch & Marsh for a free consultation. Our attorneys boast a long track record of successful personal injury verdicts and settlements throughout New York and New Jersey. To learn more about your legal options, call 201-342-5545. 

  1. Cancer.org, Talcum Powder and Cancer http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/talcum-powder-and-cancer
  2. The Madison-St. Clair Record, Metro East’s Legal Journal, Ovarian cancer blamed on baby powder and Shower to Shower http://madisonrecord.com/issues/895-product-liability/264693-ovarian-cancer-blamed-on-baby-powder-and-shower-to-shower#