Recently, almost 4,800 individual lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson claiming that the company failed to warm women that if they used the powder on or near the pelvic area, they were at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. Recently, one woman received an award of $417 million after she was able to show that she used Johnson and Johnson baby powder and developed ovarian cancer soon thereafter. According to the New York Times, “Eva Echeverria, 63, of East Los Angeles is one of thousands of women who have sued the consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson claiming baby powder caused their disease, pointing to studies linking talc to cancer that date to 1971, when scientists in Wales discovered particles of talc embedded in ovarian and cervical tumors.” Echeverria alleged Johnson & Johnson failed to adequately warn consumers about talcum powder’s potential cancer risks. She used the company’s baby powder on a daily basis beginning in the 1950s until 2016 and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007.
So what exactly should you know about this risk, and what can you do if you feel as though you or someone you know may have been affected? This article will help you make the right decisions moving forward.
Many women use talcum powder, which is what Johnson and Johnson baby powder contains. According to the American Cancer Society, many women use this product because, “it absorbs moisture well and helps cut down on friction, making it useful for keeping skin dry and helping to prevent rashes.” The problem with this powder is that if you used it prior to the 1970’s, it contained asbestos. Most people recognize the term asbestos because it is the same substance that can be inhaled through the lungs and cause cancer. Today’s consumer products do not contain asbestos, but there is still a fear that when this powder is applied to the female genital area, it could travel up the vagina and into the uterus or fallopian tubes and eventually make its way to the ovary. Plaintiffs in the talc cases, citing studies from 1971 on, said that talc in baby powder can be absorbed by the reproductive system and cause inflammation in the ovaries when applied for feminine hygiene purposes.
Testing has begun to discover the extent to which this talc powder can increase the risk of getting ovarian cancer, and studies have shown that indeed, the use of talcum powder may increase the risk of endometrial (uterine) cancer in women who are past menopause.
There are thousands of different women who are claiming that they used the Johnson & Johnson baby powder, and that use caused their ovarian cancer. The interesting part is that these women are not submitting their claims as part of a class action lawsuit, they are each individually making a claim against the pharmaceutical giant. As explained by the New York Times, women are choosing to go after Johnson & Johnson individually because, “In many product liability complaints, class action status is difficult to win, given the various ways the product can be sold and used. Such cases often end up being individually litigated with the expectation that there will eventually be a mass payout.” According to many plaintiff’s lawyers, this is an effective approach because, “Each successive verdict, they say, sends a signal about how much plaintiffs can expect to be paid if, and when, a company agrees to settle.” In addition to seeking damages because of the injuries these women have sustained, they are also seeking a requirement from the court that Johnson & Johnson add warning labels to their bottles which state the potential danger of using this product on certain areas of the body.
If you have sustained injuries or developed ovarian cancer as a result of using Johnson & Johnson, or if you know someone who has, you should contact a knowledgeable Florida lawyer as soon as possible to assist you with your case. The skilled lawyers at Dolman Law Group know and understand Florida laws and can use the laws to your advantage in helping you recover monetary compensation for your injuries and damages.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions. You can reach us in one of these 4 ways:
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, Florida 33765