A Missouri jury is now considering evidence in the state’s fourth trial regarding the connection between Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products and ovarian cancer.
Approximately 20,000 U.S. women annually are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and more than 14,000 die. Despite the link between talc and ovarian cancer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet issued a warning, and does not typically monitor safety problems with cosmetic products and ingredients, with the exception of color additives, because they do not have to undergo FDA review and approval before being introduced to consumers.
J&J Talcum Powder Lawsuits
Over 2,000 talcum powder lawsuit are currently pending against J&J in courts across the U.S. Litigation is underway in various state courts, including New Jersey’s Bergen County Superior Court and Los Angeles, CA Superior Court. Nearly 100 are currently in coordinated pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey and approximately 1,000 have been filed in Missouri’s 22nd Judicial Circuit Court, where the current case is being tried. Three previous talcum powder trials held last year all resulted in multimillion-dollar verdicts for the plaintiffs.
The lawsuits make similar allegations against J&J, including:
- The company knew about the possible negative health effects of the company’s baby powder but never told consumers.
- They chose to market the talcum powder products to women for hygienic use despite the risks.
- J&J put their desire for profits before consumer safety by withholding information about the potential ovarian cancer risk associated with talc.
Does Talc Cause Ovarian Cancer?
According to cancer.org, it is not clear if talcum powder use increases cancer risk. Until more information becomes available, the American Cancer Society is recommending women limit their use of talcum powder. They may want to consider using cornstarch-based products instead.
A 2016 study conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia found that regular use of talcum powder resulted in a higher risk of ovarian cancer. It did not matter where it was applied, and African-American women were at a greater risk than any other demographic. African-American women have historically reported a significantly higher use of feminine hygiene products, including genital powder.