Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $55 million
In a second judgement in three months, Johnson & Johnson ( “A family company”) has been ordered to pay $55 million to a woman who claimed their talcum powder caused her ovarian cancer. It took the jury just eight hours. Currently, the debate about the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer is raging; the jury found credibility with the studies that show women who use talc, on a regular basis, have a 40 percent higher risk of developing ovarian cancer, and yet other studies show cosmetic talc to be perfectly safe.
In February, another St. Louis jury awarded $72 million to the family of an Alabama woman who died from ovarian cancer, which she said was caused by using Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and other talcum products. The attorney for both of the plantiffs, Jim Onder, said that as early as the 1970s researchers began connecting talcum powder to ovarian cancer AND that internal J&J documents show the company was aware of those studies. But the shocker (although I’m not that shocked) is that rather than warm women what they had learned- they instead targeted the groups most at risk for developing ovarian cancer. There are currently around 1,200 other talcum powder-related lawsuits are pending.
Talc is a clay mineral, composed of magnesium, silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen. Because it has a silky feel and it absorbs moisture, it’s used in many cosmetics and personal care products. The cancer risk and concern are about the link between its long-term use; with talc miners who are at higher risk of lung cancer, and women who regularly apply talc to the genital area, with ovarian cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies genital use of talc-based body powder as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
A cancer epidemiologist at Washington University’s Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis, stated that there are case studies showing women who use talc increase their chances of developing ovarian cancer by 20 percent to 40 percent. With those kinds of odds, it’s probably best NOT to use talc.
Our hearts go out to the families currently dealing with mother’s who have been diagnosed with cancer.