If you have been keeping up with the Johnson & Johnson talcum powder lawsuits, you likely have many questions regarding the potential link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Roberta Ness, who testified at the second J & J talcum powder trial, is a former president of the American Epidemiological Society and a former dean of the University of Texas School of Public Health. Ness claimed that among the studies which showed no link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder use, women’s exposure to talcum powder was not properly measured. In fact, Ness concluded that the use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene, could be responsible for as many as 1,500 deaths from ovarian cancer each year.
Ness also told the jury that while black women typically have a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer than white women, one recent study concluded that black women may be more at risk of developing ovarian cancer when they are exposed to talcum powder used in the genital region. The second J & J trial was brought as a wrongful death claim on behalf of the family of Jacqueline Fox, who died from ovarian cancer approximately four months prior to the beginning of the trial.
Audio testimony from Fox during a deposition was played for the jurors. In answer to the question of why she was suing Johnson & Johnson, Fox answered that she wanted women to realize they were responsible for taking care of themselves. A Missouri jury awarded Fox’s family $72 million–$10 million in compensatory damages and $62 million in punitive damages. The large punitive award clearly showed that jurors believed Johnson & Johnson had a responsibility to warn women of the potential risk between the use of talcum powder in the genital region and ovarian cancer—a responsibility they failed.
Following the second J & J talcum powder trial, a third jury also found J & J liable, awarding plaintiff Gloria Ristesund $55 million–$5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages. Johnson & Johnson currently faces more than 1,200 additional talcum powder claims, with more expected. The question as to how a woman can prove her ovarian cancer is the result of exposure to talcum powder has a fairly simple answer. As far back as 1971, researchers found talc fibers in ovarian tumors. It is theorized that talc fibers can migrate through the vagina, uterus and fallopian tubes, finding their way into the ovaries where they cause serious levels of inflammation, which has long been recognized as a factor in many different types of cancers.
While J & J denies that talc fibers can, in fact, migrate to the ovaries, one sample study demonstrated the ability of carbon particles to travel through the vagina, uterus and fallopian tubes in as little as 30 minutes. Johnson & Johnson is likely to continue its denial of any link between talcum powder used in the genital region and ovarian cancer. Despite this, many scientific researchers believe there is a link, and that link is clear enough to have convinced the pharmaceutical giant to have warned women.
If you or someone you love has developed ovarian cancer after using a talc-based product, such as Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder or Shower-to-Shower, it is important to know that you have legal options. We can help you take part in national lawsuits that are happening all across the country. At Aaron Levine & Associates, our Washington DC-based firm and our talcum powder lawsuit attorneys are ready to help you seek justice. Call us today for a free initial consultation and review of your case.