Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
A recent consumer protections case has allegedly revealed a long-standing cover-up by Johnson & Johnson, a major U.S. Pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and hygiene company. According to the charges, and numerous studies since 1971, frequent use of talc-based products, such as “Shower to Shower” and the company’s widely-distributed baby powder, can result in an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Despite the company’s continued denial, a jury ruling on the case of Jacqueline Fox, a woman who contracted ovarian cancer after years of using the products, awarded her estate $72 million dollars after she passed away from her illness.
Because of generations of marketing, the perception of talcum powder has been unimpeachable. The product is a naturally occurring mineral, and has a reputation as a safe and benign presence in the medicine cabinets of any number of homes. However, medical findings over the course of the last half-century have suggested that the truth is otherwise, and that talc powder can be a potent carcinogen for women.
Talc particles, when used for hygiene, sometimes get carried into the fallopian tubes, and from thence to the ovaries, where the insoluble particles can cause irritation and inflammation. This can lead to the production of cancer cells, which seems to be the case in Mrs. Fox’s situation. When examined by a pathologist, her ovaries were found to contain high levels of talc particulate matter. As a result, women who use talc-based products, especially after a shower, waxing, or for hygiene, should stop immediately in order to avoid continued risk of exposure to a carcinogen.
Negligence is one thing, and is bad enough when it leads to an avoidable death. However, internal Johnson and Johnson memos that were turned up during the case seemed to indicate that the company, and the company that supplied them with the raw materials for their products, were well aware of the studies and of the risk that baby powder and “Shower to Shower” might pose to their customers. While the supplier was found to be without fault, the jury found that Johnson & Johnson made a concerted effort over the course of decades to mislead consumers and to deny the mounting scientific evidence that their product was to blame for ovarian cancer.
While the judgement is almost certain to be appealed, this victory for consumer rights highlights the importance of holding companies responsible for their misconduct, and the extent to which corporations attempt to conceal the dangers their expose their customers to. While the prevalence of talcum powder products makes this case especially noteworthy, it is far from the only egregious violation of consumer rights, and it is up to customers and California consumer protection attorneys to uncover abuses and to seek reparations for those who’ve been damaged by corporate greed and recklessness.
If you feel that you or a loved one has been the victim of negligence or misconduct on the part of a corporation, contact the California consumer protection attorneys at Evans Law Firm. Our attorneys have experience dealing with large corporations, and have helped both classes and individual plaintiffs to seek just compensation for their injuries. We can be reached for a free initial consultation at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.