A massive lawsuit has been filed against Johnson & Johnson alleging that the company failed to warn of cancer risks with its talcum powder products, including Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower. The suit represents 81 plaintiffs; they are a combination of women who developed ovarian cancer and loved ones of women who died of ovarian cancer. The plaintiffs similarly allege that using talcum powder in the genital region contributed to the cancer; J&J is accused of knowing this information but failing to warn consumers.
Talcum powder is used in a number of cosmetic products because it absorbs excess moisture and reduces friction. It contains talc, a mineral composed of silicon, magnesium and oxygen. Plaintiffs in the litigation allege that the fine talcum powder particles can travel up the female reproductive tract and reach the ovaries, where they build up and cause inflammation that leads to cancer.
Earlier this year, two large verdicts were awarded to talcum powder plaintiffs. A jury awarded $72 million to the family of a woman who died of ovarian cancer, allegedly due to talcum powder use. Another case that went to trial yielded a $55 million verdict to a woman who developed ovarian and endometrial cancer.
One of the plaintiffs used talcum powder products for feminine hygiene from 1985 to 2015. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, allegedly due to talcum powder use. She alleges that the cancer is a result of “unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder and [Johnson & Johnson’s] wrongful and negligent conduct in the research, development, testing, manufacture, production, promotion, distribution, marketing, and sale of talcum powder.”
Another plaintiff is suing on behalf of his deceased wife, who died of ovarian cancer. He alleges that his wife would not have used talcum powder for feminine hygiene if she were properly informed of the risks.
During an expert testimony, jurors heard that J&J should have warned of cancer risks with talcum powder products since 1982. The expert witness, David C. Steinberg, cited a 1982 study linking talcum powder to ovarian cancer and subsequent studies with similar findings.