September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Ovarian cancer is frequently called the “silent killer,” because many women are unaware of their symptoms until after the disease has progressed to a critical stage. According to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, 21,290 new ovarian cancer cases were diagnosed in 2015, and another 22,280 are expected to be diagnosed in 2016. Regrettably, once diagnosed, only 45.6% of those patients survive the next five years.
For decades, medical research has linked the genital use of talcum powder (baby powder) to an increased risk of the development of ovarian cancer. These epidemiological studies show that the genital use of talc consistently for five years nearly doubles a woman’s likelihood of developing ovarian cancer, and consistent use of talc for twenty years triples a woman’s ovarian cancer risk. Knowing this, Johnson & Johnson continually marketed talcum powder for use by women for genital physical hygiene without warning consumers of these known dangers. The law typically requires manufacturers to warn consumers of known dangers posed by their products.
In February 2016, a jury in St. Louis, Missouri awarded the estate of an Alabama woman $72 Million, after concluding that Johnson & Johnson was aware of the cancer-causing risks of the genital use of talc, and never bothered to warn consumers. What’s more, internal Johnson & Johnson company documents showed that the company engaged in a prolonged cover-up, trying to hide its knowledge of the link between the increased risk for ovarian cancer and the genital use of talc. In May, a separate jury awarded $55 Million to the estate of another talc user.
If you currently use talcum powder for feminine hygiene: know your risks! In honor of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, tell your daughters, sisters, mothers, and wives about the danger posed to women by the genital use of talc. If you suspect that your family’s experience with ovarian cancer may be linked to your loved one’s use of baby powder, please contact us immediately, as delay could keep you from seeking justice for your loved one.