Ovarian Cancer and Talc: What Legal Rights Do I Have?

Recent news stories about talcum powder, ovarian cancer, and the the multi-million dollar verdicts against Johnson & Johnson can be disturbing and confusing. You may be wondering if you are at risk, and if so, what can you do about it?

We’re here to help you understand the issues involved, and provide you with resources to learn more about your personal situation.

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    Get details about the link between talc and ovarian cancer. Learn about available support and legal options.

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    • I have ovarian cancer and a history of using talc products.

    • Can I file a lawsuit because of my diagnosis?

    • How do I contact a lawyer?

    • Understand how legal rights and diagnosis are related.

      How long you have to file a claim can differ depending on the state where you reside, are diagnosed, or have been injured. Learn more about how statutes of limitations and other factors can affect your legal rights.

      Learn About Your Legal Rights
    • Obtain a free case review to see if you have a potential claim.

      If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talc-based baby or body powder, fill out the form above to request a claim review from an experienced attorney. All our case reviews are completely FREE, and we will contact you within 24 hours.

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    • Connect with legal professionals to answer your questions.

      Only an attorney with experience in personal injury lawsuits can provide the expertise and skill to help you receive the compensation you need to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other ongoing costs related to your diagnosis.

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    FAQs

    Your questions on ovarian cancer and talc answered.

    How does talc cause ovarian cancer?

    One theory is that particles which travel from the pelvic region to the ovaries can cause inflammation, a condition that frequently plays a role in the development certain types of cancer. That inflammation can eventually lead to the formation of cancerous tumors.

    “Particles of talc were identified in approximately 75 per cent (10 of 13) of the [ovarian] tumors examined.” — The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the British Commonwealth, March 1971

    Is there scientific proof that talc causes ovarian cancer?

    The link between talc and ovarian cancer has been presumed for at least half a century. The first evidence surfaced in the 1960s, when experts suspected that trace amounts of asbestos in talcum powder could lead to health problems.

    However, it took decades for researchers to prove that even asbestos-free talcum powder raises ovarian cancer risks.

    “Talc used regularly in the genital area was associated with a 33% increase in ovarian cancer risk…” — Epidemiology, May 2016

    Since 2000, several large-scale studies have established a correlation between talc use in genital areas and the development of ovarian cancer. These include:

    • A meta-analysis of multiple early studies concluded, “Epidemiological evidence suggests that use of cosmetic talc in the perineal area may be associated with ovarian cancer risk.” (Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, April 2008)
    • A study of 66,028 women showed that “perineal talcum powder use increases the risk of endometrial cancer, particularly among postmenopausal women.” (Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, April 2010)
    • An observational study of 18,384 women found that the use of genital powder is tied to “a 20–30% increase in risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer.” (Cancer Prevention Research, August 2014)

    These and other studies have lead to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a department of the World Health Organization, to classify talc as a possible carcinogen.

    If talc products are dangerous, why are they still being sold?

    The primary uses of talc are cosmetic. While cosmetics are covered by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), they are not required to undergo any sort of review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Therefore, while talc technically is regulated, there is little – if any – oversight of its actual sale and use.

    Companies are responsible for making sure that the products they put on the market are safe for consumer use. Although companies do not have to share cosmetic safety information with the FDA, when a product is determined to be harmful, the FDA could, theoretically, do something about it.

    “A manufacturer may use any ingredient in the formulation of a cosmetic, provided that the ingredient and the finished cosmetic are safe under labeled or customary conditions of use…” — U.S. Food & Drug Administration

    So far, however, the FDA has refused to restrict the sale of talc or even require any warning labels about its use, despite multiple requests from groups like the Cancer Prevention Coalition. In its most recent denial letter in 2014, the FDA declared that there was “no conclusive evidence” to establish causality, even though talc “may elicit a foreign-body-type reaction and inflammatory response that, in some exposed women, may progress to epithelial cancers.”

    What does Johnson & Johnson have to do with all of this?

    As one of the biggest companies that sells talc powder products, Johnson & Johnson has found itself embroiled in multiple lawsuits brought by women who claim the firm’s products caused them to develop ovarian cancer.

    In early 2016, two high-profile verdicts of $55 million and $72 million, respectively, caused the cases to go viral. Now, additional cases are being brought against the company by women who have developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson products.

    “As pointed out above, a real statistically significant association [between talc and cancer] has been undeniably established independently by several investigators, which without doubt will be readily attested to by a number of reputable scientists/clinicians…” — Letter from toxicologist Alfred Wehner to Johnson & Johnson, September 7, 1997

    Even after the verdicts, Johnson & Johnson has continued to deny that their talc products cause ovarian cancer. However, evidence shared during the trials shows that company officials have known about a potential link between the two for decades. In both cases, the juries believed that Johnson & Johnson hid this information from consumers – and awarded verdicts based on that deception.

    I have ovarian cancer. Am I eligible for compensation?

    If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and have a history of applying Johnson’s® Baby Powder and/or Shower to Shower® Body Powder to your genital area, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You may also be able to receive compensation for expenses, emotional distress, and inconveniences you have endured as a result of your medical treatment.

    “Johnson & Johnson has spent more than $5 billion to resolve legal claims over its drugs and medical devices since 2013.” — Bloomberg Businessweek, March 31, 2016

    If you believe your diagnosis of ovarian cancer is associated with your genital use of Johnson’s® Baby Powder and/or Shower to Shower® Body Powder, complete the form on this page, and we will provide you with a free claim review within 24 hours to discuss your potential talc powder lawsuit.

    Have any women actually won cases against Johnson & Johnson?

    There have been four major verdicts against Johnson & Johnson for the sale and marketing of their talc-based products since 2013. Three plaintiffs were awarded damages totaling over $200 million, and sparking thousands of cases to be filed in 2016.

    The first legal victory came in 2013 when Deane Berg proved that her daily use of talcum powder played a role in the development of her ovarian cancer. Berg was offered a $1.3 million out of court settlement if she kept quiet, but she refused to sign, and pressed her case. She eventually won the case, but was not awarded damages because she wasn’t able to prove that J&J intentionally covered up the harmful side effects of their product

    Jackie Fox was the first plaintiff to receive damages of $72 million. Her lawyers produced internal documents proving that J&J knew about the evidence, and decided not to warn the public.

    Gloria Ristesund received $5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages after using products manufactured by J&J on her genitals for decades as part of her regular feminine hygiene routine

    Deborah Giannecchini was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder for more than four decades. With a 20% chance of survival, she received $70 million dollars after a court in St. Louis found Johnson & Johnson guilty of ignoring studies linking its talc products to ovarian cancer and choosing not to warn customers about the risk.

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