Women who use talcum powder, or baby powder, should know that they may be putting their health at risk. Talcum powder may cause ovarian cancer if the powder particles travel through the vagina, uterus and fallopian tubes to the ovaries, the American Cancer Society reports. Some studies indicate that talcum powder use by older women may also raise their risk of developing endometrial cancer.
In recent years, women in New York, New Jersey and across the country have filed product liability lawsuits against the manufacturers of baby powder products. Were you or a family member diagnosed with ovarian cancer after you had used talcum powder for many years? If so, you should learn about your legal rights and options. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages.
Concerns About Talcum Powder
Talcum powder is a product that is made from talc, which is “a mineral made up mainly of the elements magnesium, silicon and oxygen,” according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). The powder can absorb moisture, which helps to keep a person’s skin dry. As the ACS explains, two groups face the potential risk of cancer from exposure to talcum powder:
- Individuals exposed to talc fibers as part of their jobs (like talc miners) who may develop lung cancer as a result of breathing in the fibers
- Women who regularly use talcum powder in the genital area who may be at risk of developing ovarian cancer.
As WebMD reports, in late 2016, a St. Louis jury awarded more than $70 million to a plaintiff who filed a claim against Johnson & Johnson, alleging that her decades-long use of talc powder cause her to suffer ovarian cancer. The verdict came after other verdicts for plaintiffs in baby powder lawsuits. Currently, more than 1,700 claims in state and federal courts are pending which allege that “Johnson & Johnson failed to warn the public of research linking talc-containing powders to ovarian cancer,” WebMD states.
According to WebMD, more than 20,000 women receive ovarian cancer diagnoses each year. Health care professionals have not confirmed that a cause-and-effect connection exists between the use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer. At the same time, physicians told WebMD that women who are concerned about the possible cancer risk should stop using baby powder.
Baby Powder Lawsuits Allege Companies Failed to Warn of Cancer Risk
When consumer products cause harm, the injured party or parties may be able to file a product liability lawsuit. As the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute explains, products liability is an area of the law that “refers to the liability of any or all parties along the chain of manufacture of any product for damage caused by that product.”
Three general types of product liability claims exist:
- Design defect – The product contains a flaw that arose before the product went through the manufacturing process. In other words, the product was flawed from the start. For example, the product contains a dangerous ingredient.
- Manufacturing defect – In these cases, the defect occurs during the making of the product. For example, a contaminant got into the product along the assembly line.
- Marketing defect (or failure to warn) – In some cases, manufacturers know that a product could cause harm when consumers use it in a certain foreseeable way – even if the manufacturer did not design the product for that use. The manufacturer has a duty to warn consumers about that risk. If the manufacturer fails to issue this type of warning by putting a warning label on the product or taking other measures, then it may be liable for any harm that the failure to warn causes.
Numerous claims against Johnson & Johnson allege that the company failed to warn about the potential ovarian cancer risks associated with talcum powder. The women – and, in some cases, their family members, too – assert that Johnson & Johnson should have warned consumers about the possible connection between baby powder use and ovarian cancer.
Get Help Today from an Experienced Product Liability Attorney
When we buy and use products, we have every right to expect that they will be safe. We should also feel assured that the manufacturer has provided an adequate warning about any and all risks associated with the product. However, as women who have used baby powder and developed ovarian cancer know all too well, no cancer warnings appear on talcum powder bottles.
If you were diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using baby powder for feminine hygiene, a product liability attorney from Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., can help you. We serve clients throughout New York and New Jersey. Contact us today and allow us to review your case in a free and confidential consultation.