A South Dakota jury sided with a woman claiming her ovarian cancer was linked to her use of Johnson & Johnson talc-based body powder. After a two week trial and nearly twelve hours of deliberations, the jury said J&J should have warned consumers of the risks.
According to the Sioux Falls, South Dakota newspaper the Argus Leader in the “Verdict ties talc powder to risk of cancer” article published October 5, 2013, the woman attributed her ovarian cancer, now in remission, to 30 years of using the J&J product “Shower to Shower.” She claimed the company was negligent for ignoring research that suggested a connection. The woman first learned of studies linking talc and ovarian cancer in 2006, according to thenewspaper, and learned soon after that studies as far back as 1971 indicated a concern.
Three doctors examined the woman’s cancer tissue and found talc, concluding the body powder was the cause. The physician expert witness who had studied the connection of talc and ovarian cancer for thirty years indicated that talc probably was a contributing factor in 10,000 cases of ovarian cancer each year according to the Argus Leader newspaper.
Although the jury did not award the woman damages, they did call J&J to task. Both the jury and woman’s lawyers said they hoped J&J would publically acknowledge studies that show risks with their products and affix warning labels for consumers. J&J had chosen not to use warning labels because, they claimed, the link was unproven.
Although there were no damages awarded in this trial, as more women come forward there may be additional lawsuits.
Women who believe they have or have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer should consult a physician, and tell them if you have been a talcum/body powder user. Physicians may not be aware of the potential link between talc products and cancer.
“Verdict ties talc powder risk to cancer” Sioux Falls, South Dakota Argus Leader, October 5, 2013
“Jury ties J&J talc powder to ovarian cancer“ Drug Discovery and Development, October 7, 2013