Maine Talcum Powder Lawyer
“Just a sprinkle a day keeps the odor away.” This slogan sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Johnson & Johnson coined the catchy phrase in the 1980’s to promote their over-the-counter feminine hygiene product, Shower-to-Shower.
What Johnson & Johnson did not tell women was that studies dating back to the 1970s demonstrate that long-term talcum powder use for personal hygiene purposes is linked to ovarian cancer. Instead, the company continues to this day to tell consumers that the talc contained in some of their best-selling products, including Shower-to-Shower and Baby Powder, is safe.
What is Talc?
Talc is a mineral consisting mostly of magnesium, silicon and oxygen. Because of its ability to absorb moisture and reduce friction when in a finely ground form, talc is a key ingredient in baby powder and other personal care products.
Talc is similar in structure to asbestos which is a known carcinogen. In fact, talc is often mined from the same rock in the same mines as asbestos and silica. Before the 1970s, many talc products were contaminated with asbestos. After it is mined, raw talc is crushed, dried and ground into a fine powder for use in various consumer products.
Talcum Powder Increases the Risk of Ovarian Cancer
Scientists believe that talc powder when used near the genitals can travel through the vagina, up the fallopian tubes and into the ovaries where it becomes embedded in the ovarian tissue. It is very difficult for the body to break down talc fibers. The talc fibers can cause inflammation to occur which can lead cancerous tumors to develop and possibly spread due to the ovary becoming irritated by the presence of the talc particles.
In the 1970s, researchers found particles within the ovaries of women who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Since that time, the evidence of the association between peroneal talc use and ovarian cancer has grown.
In 2008, a study conducted by researchers at Harvard University compared 1,400 women with ovarian cancer to 1,800 healthy women, and they found a 36% increased risk of ovarian cancer with talcum powder use.
The World Health Organization (WHO) now considers talc a “possible human carcinogen” and both the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society consider talc use near the genitals as a “risk factor” for ovarian cancer.
How is Ovarian Cancer Diagnosed and Treated?
Symptoms of ovarian cancer can include abdominal pain, bloating, changes in bladder or bowel habits, and fatigue. Ovarian cancer is diagnosed through a biopsy (removal of a piece of the tumor and examining it under a microscope).
A combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are generally used to treat ovarian cancer.
The stage of the tumor determines the types of surgery that are necessary. There are a number of surgical options for ovarian cancer, including salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes), hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and, if necessary, surrounding tissue), lymphadenectomy (lymph node dissection), omentectomy (removal of the thin tissue that covers the stomach and large intestine), and debulking surgery.
Chemotherapy is also an important treatment regimen. Chemotherapy involves the administration of drugs into the bloodstream which work to destroy cancer cells by stopping the cells’ ability to grow and divide.
Although not a first line treatment option, radiation therapy is also used to treat ovarian cancer. Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells.
Unfortunately, recovery from ovarian cancer is not always possible. If the cancer cannot be cured or controlled, the disease may become terminal.
Talcum Powder Litigation
A growing number of talcum powder lawsuits are being filed against Johnson & Johnson and other companies. Plaintiffs allege that the companies have failed to provide any warnings whatsoever about the risk of ovarian cancer on their talc products. Plaintiffs also allege that Johnson & Johnson conspired with its talc supplier and a trade organization to influence the classification of talc as a human carcinogen by the FDA.
In October 2016, federal lawsuits involving Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products were centralized in a multi-district litigation (MDL) before U.S. District Court Judge Freda L. Wolfson in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Talcum powder cases are also being filed in state courts in Missouri, New Jersey and California.
There have already been a number of significant plaintiffs’ verdicts in talcum powder cases filed against J&J including:
- February 2016: a jury in St. Louis, Missouri awarded $72 million in damages to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products.
- May 2017: a jury in St. Louis, Missouri awarded $110 million to a woman who suffered ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products.
Maine Talcum Powder Lawsuit
If you or someone you love has suffered complications after using talcum powder, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your injuries.
To speak with an experienced, Maine talcum powder lawyer, contact Fitzgerald Law Group at (844) FITZ-LAW or (844) 348-9529, or complete the contact form on this website for a free, confidential, case assessment.