Why Talcum Powder is Killing Women

Many of the pills and medical devices that have proved deadly are prescribed for serious medical conditions.

But on occasions, we see products that have been linked to harmful side effects that seem to be innocuous. A good case in point is talcum powder. Although talc has been used for more than four decades by women, concerns that it has caused cancer in women have led to a spate of recent lawsuits.


Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson was the subject of two class-action lawsuits filed last year.  They claim talcum powder products were responsible for giving women ovarian cancer. The products in question are Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.

Class action lawsuits were filed in the courts a year after South Dakota resident Deane Berg won her legal claim that Johnson & Johnson was negligent because it failed to warn her that three decades of using Baby Powder put her at greater risk of developing ovarian cancer. Berg was diagnosed with cancer in 2006.

The lawsuits raise the concern that J&J is failing to warn women about the dangers of its talc-based powders. It’s not the first time that this manufacturer has been sued. Johnson & Johnson is currently involved in litigation over FLQ antibiotics. It’s a very common accusation levelled at the pharmaceutical industry where big profits often take precedence over the safety of the people who use their products.

The first cancer trial to be held at a state court is scheduled to start in Feb. 2016, in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, Mo. A jury will hear claims brought by Jacqueline Fox, a 61-year-old woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer two years ago. Ovarian cancer is a very serious condition and the victim is reported to have undergone many surgeries as well as chemotherapy. She used Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for female hygiene for more than 35 years and claimed that the company’s failure to warn caused her condition.

A number of medical studies in recent years have suggested the long-term use of talc-based powders by women as a hygiene product is associated with ovarian cancer.

Recently an influential study pooling the results of eight research papers involving almost 2,000 women found an increased danger of between 20 percent and 30 percent for ovarian cancer in women who used talc for “intimate personal hygiene.”

Notwithstanding the mounting evidence of a link between talc and this extremely serious cancer which is associated with the genital use of talcum powder, the manufacturers of this product have consistently failed to warn consumers of the potential dangers.

Lawyers across the United States are reviewing potential lawsuits from women who believe they were made ill by talcum powder. I fully expect to see an increase in lawsuits related to this issue in coming years.

Johnson & Johnson is no stranger to lawsuits. The pharmaceutical giant has faced a class action claim for millions of dollars over its transvaginal mesh products. More than 70,000 mesh-insert cases against a wide range of manufacturers have been consolidated in Charleston in West Virginia. Others have been filed in state courts across the country.


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