Johnson & Johnson has marketed talcum powder products for decades despite knowing for many years of a link discovered between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Its products are still advertised for use in the genital and groin area to keep women feeling fresh and dry and the lack of a warning on the products has consumers claiming that the pharmaceutical giant is liable for numerous cases of ovarian cancer. Many women desire that the products even be pulled from the shelves due to their inexplicable link to an elevated cancer risk. The Chicago talcum powder attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers are currently reviewing cases involving ovarian cancer as more women come forward with concerns.
The Historical Link between Talcum Powder and Cancer
While Johnson & Johnson’s talcum products have gained attention recently for their link to cancer in women, the link was established a very long time ago. An epidemiologist from Harvard, Dr. Cramer, performed and reported the results of a study in 1982 that documented the link and the study even elicited a response from Johnson & Johnson. J&J heard Dr. Cramer’s concerns and discussed the evidence he discovered, but continued to market its products despite Cramer’s suggestion that they be immediately pulled off the shelves.
Dr. Cramer was not the only party to contact Johnson & Johnson over concerns regarding its talcum products. Over twenty more studies have been performed since his back in 1982 and all of them have returned the result that talcum powder greatly increases the risk of ovarian cancer. In 1994, the Cancer Prevention Coalition penned a letter to the company reiterating Dr. Cramer’s concerns and asking them to remove the products from shelves. By 2006, one of the largest talc mining companies began to ship its talc with cancer warnings on its material safety data sheets.
Despite repeated warnings, Johnson & Johnson didn’t only continue to sell its talcum powder products, but has done so without the slightest of warnings to consumers. An internal memo from a company medical consultant was released from 1997 claimed that denying the link between talc and ovarian cancer would be to deny the obvious. Neither Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder, Shower to Shower Original or Shower to Shower Sport bear any warnings to this day, however.
Doctors Advise Against Talc Use
Concerns over the use of talc products prompted many doctors to suggest that mothers avoid using the products on their children and never to use them in the genital area. These doctors made their recommendations based on the numerous medical studies performed over the last 30 years which have established and documented the link between talc products and ovarian cancer. Concerns have even been raised about whether talc products are safe for men, as talc has characteristics which are similar to asbestos.
Johnson & Johnson has placed warnings on its baby powder products not to allow children to inhale the powder and to avoid using it near the face. This is primarily because in addition to be linked to ovarian cancer, there is an even more pronounced link between the substance and the development of lung cancer.
The Legal Precedent for Failure to Warn Provides Opportunity for Justice
Product liability law greatly favors the consumer from the aspect that a manufacturer may be held liable for any injuries its products cause so long as those products were used for their intended purposes due to a product defect. The failure to provide warnings is considered in most courts to be a product defect, which will allow many women to argue that Johnson & Johnson’s willful withholding of this critical information makes them liable for the countless cases of ovarian cancer that have resulted spanning decades.
Johnson & Johnson doesn’t just fail to warn users concerning the use of its products in the genital area, but actively encourages it. Its products are marketed to women using phrases such as, “your body perspires in more places than just under the arms. Use Shower to Shower to feel dry, fresh and comfortable throughout the day,” “ lightly dust your sleep wear or sheets to make bedtime peaceful and luxurious,” and “apply after a bikini wax to help reduce irritation and discomfort.”
Recent Verdict Foreboding for Johnson & Johnson
On May 3, 2016, a jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $55 million in damages to Gloria Ristesund, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using several J&J talcum powder products. Only $5 million in damages were compensatory, with $50 million awarded as punitive damages. This is not the first defeat for J&J. The family of a woman who died of ovarian cancer was awarded $72 million in a separate lawsuit one month earlier. These bellwether cases are likely to force Johnson & Johnson to consider a settlement agreement as more women come forward with claims. Dozens have already filed lawsuits.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers is a leading award winning law firm that represents the rights of anyone who was injured due to the careless actions of others. It is evident that Johnson & Johnson continued to profit for three decades by selling a product that it knew was dangerous to millions of women every year. If you or a loved one developed ovarian cancer after using talcum powder products, contact us today to learn more about your rights.
We will be happy to sit down with you during a risk free consultation so that we can gather the information we need to evaluate your case, answer any questions that you may have and review your legal options together. Our Chicago talcum powder attorneys are following the development of this mass tort and can let you know how recent developments affect your chances of success. Should we be unable to secure damages on your behalf, you are assured that you will not owe us a thing for our time or services.
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