Posted on 3rd September, 2019
by Legal Staff
Does talc baby powder cause cancer? At least 15,000 people believe the answer is yes and have made claims against Johnson & Johnson, the well-known manufacturer of a few popular talc-containing baby and bath powders.
They claim that Johnson & Johnson has known for many years that its talc products may be contaminated by asbestos and be risk factors of ovarian cancer, but failed to provide adequate warning to consumers.
Yet so far, juries and scientists have had differing opinions over the question. Although in 2019 alone three separate juries have ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $29 million, $325 million and respectively $4.8 million to three women and their families who claim the product caused them to develop cancer, in March 2019, a New Jersey jury ruled that the company's baby powder didn't cause a consumer's mesothelioma.
Johnson & Johnson has kept claiming that talc is safe.
Wayne State University researcher Ghassan Saed, Ph.D., was intrigued by that question. Millions of women who regularly use talc in their genital region think that the powder is inert and harmless. So did Saed, a professor at the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit.
Yet in findings presented at the 2019 Society of Gynecologic Oncology Annual Meeting, his team revealed an association between talc and inflammation in normal and ovarian cancer cells. In particular, the researchers uncovered the mechanism of action by determining how talc induced mutations in certain genes (including CAT, NOS and GPX1) linked to ovarian cancer.
At the meeting, researchers also showed that talc elevated the oxidation state in ovarian cancer cell lines. The surprising part came when they found that healthy Fallopian cells, which is where ovarian cancer is believed to originate, reacted in a similar pattern.
If these findings, which have been published only as an open-access peer-reviewed chapter, are confirmed, it establishes strong causal evidence that talcum powder causes some cases of ovarian cancer. If courts finally decide that the findings are reliable and can be presented as evidence they could have an important impact on the current claims.
According to government surveillance data, an estimated 22,240 women in the U.S. were diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2018, and 14,070 died the same year.
So far, two case-control studies in 2016, in which researchers asked women who already had ovarian cancer about their grooming routines, provide most of the evidence linking a woman's use of talcum powder to increased ovarian cancer risk.
Nearly all of the talcum powder claims are pending in the federal court system. The proceedings have been centralized in the District of New Jersey before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson. When the Court decides that there is enough evidence gathered, it is expected that a small group of cases will proceed to trial.
The outcomes of such early trial dates may help the parties evaluate how juries will respond. They may also help assist the progress of potential settlements or otherwise resolve the cases without the need for thousands of individual trials nationwide.
Have you developed ovarian cancer after using talcum powder regularly for personal hygiene? Are you in search of information on whether or not you have an eligible claim? Atraxia Law can help.
Our professional team of experts, that will treat you with the highest level of care and compassion, begins by connecting with you and examining your case. We then have a short process of customized questions, lasting less than ten minutes, that helps us find out if your case qualifies. We also have a call-back process. Contact Atraxia Law via our online form or call us to start discussing your case.