The Science of Talcum Powder Products and Ovarian Cancer
By Karen M. Salter, RN, JD
February 26, 2016
I have been an RN for three decades which has made me somewhat resistant to legal cases that fail to fully provide a scientific basis to support the claim. In other words, I must understand how the problem is created and also identify how the problem could have been prevented in order to get fully involved and put my heart on the line.
The Link Between Talc And Ovarian Cancer
A few years ago, I heard discussions about the investigation of body powders with talc as an ingredient causing ovarian cancer in women. I was skeptical but as a student of science and the law, I researched this matter. It turns out that these products were marketed heavily through the years for the prevention of vaginal odor in women and are commonly used by women for that purpose. It appears that early evidence first emerged in the 1970s that linked the application of the powder to female genitalia to ovarian cancer. Here’s the way it happens: when applied to the groin area of women, particles travel through the vagina and into the uterus and along the fallopian tubes to the ovaries. From there, it can take years to dissolve, and research shows that it can cause inflammation.
A number of studies associate talcum powder contamination with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. The journal Cancer Prevention Research published a study in June 2013 that demonstrated women who dusted their groin area with talcum powder were shown to have a 20 to 30 percent greater risk of developing ovarian cancer than women who did not use talc products for intimate personal hygiene. That is absurd. Surely when the manufacturer observed this study they immediately removed talc from their products. Or maybe they placed consumer warnings on the product. Nope. Not a thing was done to protect the public. Despite the mounting evidence of serious health effects with genital use of talcum powder, manufacturers of talcum powder products continue to refuse to warn consumers of these deadly potential dangers.
A Big Win For Women Harmed By Talcum Powder
My friend, Andy Birchfield, is an attorney with a large Alabama law firm. He shared this news with our firm:
“Our lawyers, along with attorney Allen Smith, recently secured a $72 million verdict for our client who developed ovarian cancer after regularly using talcum powder products for feminine hygiene. These products were made and sold by Johnson & Johnson and are called Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder. The verdict includes $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages.
“The jury found Johnson & Johnson guilty of negligence, conspiracy and fraud. Internal documents show that Johnson & Johnson knew of the link between ovarian cancer and its products but hid it from the public. Testimony showed that 1,500 women per year will die of ovarian cancer linked to Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.”
We congratulate and thank Andy and his firm for the hard work that went into obtaining this verdict and the precedent that it sets for other victims.
Dedicated To Helping Women In Alabama
The personal injury law firm of Salter Ferguson, LLC, is pleased to announce our campaign to help educate, console and pursue the legal rights of women who have been adversely affected by talcum powder. If you or a loved one developed ovarian cancer from the use of a talcum product, call us locally at 205-408-4357 or toll free at 877-653-9655, or send us an email.