Talcum powder, the popular powder made from the mineral known as talc, could bring some alarming news along with it – it has links to causing ovarian cancer in women. This astonishing news is apparently anything but new, as early as the 1980s, studies were done to show that women who used the powder had higher rates of obtaining ovarian cancer than other women. Many people will use talcum powder, a popular dusting to put on babies after a diaper change, for their own personal odor by dusting it on the genital area or underwear once a day. Supposedly, it prevents perspiration in those areas. The most upsetting fact of the matter is that every year in the U.S. there are 20,000 women who will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. (1)
The facts are unfortunate news to companies like Johnson & Johnson, one of the most highly known carriers of talcum powder. In 2014, this pharmaceutical giant found itself at the center of two class-action lawsuits under the claims that they should be held responsible for women receiving ovarian cancer after using their products.
After a South Dakota resident named Deane Berg won a claim against the company, more lawsuits followed as people started to speak up. Why was J&J held responsible and seen as liable for the cancer? They were negligent in the way that they did not warn her that after three decades of repeatedly using the baby powder, she could be at such a great risk of ovarian cancer. She had been diagnosed with the cancer in 2006, and the litigation decided that J&J should be more responsible about warning consumers of the drastic side effects, especially in women. (2)
So what proof do we have to go off of? Even as far back as 1971, studies were conducted and found that talc particles could easily enter a woman’s reproductive tract through the vagina and travel through the cervix into the uterus. This would then move the particles through the fallopian tubes to the ovaries, where the cancer would form. In The Lancelet journal, researchers found that a majority of ovarian tumors would have particles of talc actually embedded inside them. J&J, however, has referred to all research as inconclusive and has refused to put a warning notice or label on the product. (3) Some say that the company has taken measures to indeed hide the risk from the public, which is incredibly irresponsible for a company based in care products.
Deane knew the hardships that came with her journey of ovarian cancer and couldn’t believe that J&J would try to deny what has happened to her and so many other suffering women. She had suffered extreme losses such as months of lost work time and wages, permanent hearing loss, and more due to chemotherapy. She even authorized a lawyer to handle analyzing her tumor tissue, where it was concluded that the talc particles were found.
What would you do?
If you knew that there was a risk with a product and the possibility that it could cause cancer, would you use it? Furthermore, should companies like J&J be held responsible to warn others about possible risks? They were found negligent once and it could happen again if people are not properly educated on the subject. Despite what research claims, it is up to each person to make a clear decision themselves based on what they have seen and go from there. And, when the situation calls for it and you believe a company has been negligent, contact a lawyer you can trust for all your needs.