Johnson & Johnson’s Talc Powder and Ovarian Cancer Risk
As a growing number of Johnson Baby Powder lawsuits and Shower-to-Shower body powder lawsuits are being filed nationwide by women diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using the talcum-based product around their genital areas, questions are being raised about when Johnson & Johnson first learned about the link between side effects of talc powder and ovarian cancer, and why adequate warnings were not provided for consumers.
The lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are reviewing potential ovarian cancer claims for women nationwide who may be entitled to financial compensation as a result of Johnson & Johnson’s apparent decision to place their desire for profits before the health and safety of women.
Although it is early in the litigation, and additional information is certainly going to be discovered as the lawsuits continue through the court system, it appears clear that Johnson & Johnson knew or should have known about the ovarian cancer risks from talc in their baby and body powders for decades.
Johnson’s Baby Powder Cancer Risk Timeline
Johnson & Johnson has had more than 100 years of data and adverse event reports available about Johnson’s Baby Powder and talc body powders sold by the company.
A growing body of independent research has also established the link between ovarian cancer and talc, yet Johnson & Johnson continued to sell it’s baby powder and shower powder products as safe without warning women about the risks.
1893: Johnson & Johnson first develops Baby Powder, promoting it as a means of absorbing unwanted moisture and odors from babies and women. Over the next century, use of the talc-based powder will continue to grow, with the manufacturer pushing use for adult women as a means to keep their skin fresh. Johnson’s Baby Powder is a top selling product for the global manufacturer, and is now commonly found in nearly every home.
1961: A study found that carbon particles similar to talc can translocate from the exterior of women’s genitals to women’s ovaries.
1968: Another study found that 19% of talc was fibrous content, which could cause unsuspecting health problems. Some of these included fibers similar to asbestos.
1971: Researchers found talc particles deeply embedded in ovarian and cervical tumors of women with cancer. They also found that women without cancer had less of a chance of having such particles in their body.
1976: In a follow-up to the 1968 study, researchers determined that regulatory standards needed to be created for talc use due to the fibrous content. They also called for an evaluation of the possible health risks.
1982: Harvard researchers found that genital talc use increased the risk of ovarian cancer by 92%, proving an epidemiologic association between using talc for genital hygiene and ovarian cancer, but not a causal link. This was followed by 21 different studies worldwide, almost all finding an association between talc and ovarian cancer. Rather than warning about the potential risks, Johnson & Johnson and other talc powder manufacturers claimed the study findings were inconclusive.
1988: Researchers find a dose-response relationship between genital talc use and ovarian cancer and determined that 52% of cancer patients regularly used talc on their genitals before their cancer diagnosis. Similar results were found in a study the following year.
1992: A study by researchers from Johns Hopkins found that applying talc to the genitals using a sanitary napkin increased a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer by 379%.
1993: The U.S. National Toxicology Program determined that talc was a carcinogen even when asbestos-like fibers were not present.
1994: The Cancer Prevention Coalition (CPC) cited numerous studies to Johnson & Johnson in a letter urging the company to issue talcum powder recalls to remove the products from the market.
1996: The condom industry ceased the practice of dusting condoms with talc because of concerns about the risk of ovarian cancer for women.
1997: A toxicology consultant for Johnson & Johnson warned the company that on three separate occasions the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association, which included J&J officials, had released false safety information on talc.
1998: Canadian researchers found that women who used talc on their perineum faced a 149% increased risk of ovarian cancer.
2004: California researchers looked at data on nearly 1,400 women and found a 77% increased risk of invasive ovarian cancer among talc users. However, there was no increased risk if the women used cornstarch-based powder products.
2006: The World Health Organization (WHO) classified genital talc use as a possible human carcinogen, noting that 16-52% of women around the world were using talc in a way that may increase their cancer risk. That same year, Canada classified talc as “very toxic” and “cancer-causing.”
2007: Researchers were able to induce carcinogeneisis by applying talc to ovarian cancer cell lines, showing that talc can cause ovarian cancer.
2008: In what became known as the “Gates Study” researchers funded by the National Cancer Institute found a strong and positive dose-response relationship indicating the more talc a woman used on her genitals, the higher her risk of ovarian cancer. The researchers urged women not to use talc on the genital area and asked physicians to inquire with female patients on their talc use and to advise them to stop. That same year a petition from the CPC called for a cancer warning on cosmetic talc products.
The Gates study led to officials from the American Cancer Society determining that there was finally a relationship between talc and ovarian cancer.
2011: In what was the strongest association to date, Harvard researchers funded by the National Cancer Institute again found a dose-response relationship between use of talc on the genitals and ovarian cancer. The 4,000-woman study revealed a 200% to 300% increased risk of cancer from perineum talc use. The study also appeared to determine why the dose-response relationship had been hard to detect decades before.
Talc Powder Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits
There is a clear line of association established between numerous studies that show side effects of talc can cause ovarian cancer when used on the genitals. However, Johnson & Johnson continues to fail to warn women of the risks, despite knowing that millions of women worldwide use its products in a way that puts their health in jeopardy.
For decades, Johnson & Johnson has failed to act to make Johnson’s Baby Powder, Shower-to-Shower and other body powders safer or warn women of the risks. As a result of their apparent decision to place their desire for profits before the health of consumers, financial compensation may be available if you, a friend or family member have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after regular application of talc powder on the genitals.
All claims are handled by our talc powder lawyers on a contingency fee basis, which means that there are never any out-of-pocket expenses to hire our law firm and there are no attorney fees or reimbursed expenses unless a recovery is obtained.
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