Johnson & Johnson has been hit with a new lawsuit involving six families who blame the company’s talc-based powders for a loved one’s death from ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson is accused of failing to warn consumers about the potential association between the use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer.
According to a complaint filed on June 1st in California Superior Court in Santa Clara County, all six decedents regularly and repeatedly used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and other talc-based products for years for feminine hygiene purposes. The lawsuit claims that talc particles from the products were able to migrate through the vagina and to the ovarian tissue. Over time, this resulted in inflammation that encouraged the growth of cancer cells.
Plaintiffs point out that a number of studies have suggested that long-term application of talcum powder in the genital region can contribute to the development of ovarian cancer, including one were talc particles were detected in the tissue of ovarian cancer victims. Yet Johnson & Johnson chose to ignore this risk for decades.
“The Defendants failed to inform its customers and end users of the products of a known catastrophic health hazard associated with the use of its products,” the complaint states. “In addition, the Defendants procured and disseminated false, misleading, and biased information regarding the safety of the products to the public and used influence over governmental and regulatory bodies regarding talc.”
Johnson & Johnson is currently facing more than 1,200 similar talcum powder lawsuits in courts around the U.S. In February, a jury in St. Louis, Missouri ordered the company to pay $72 million in compensatory and punitive damages to the family of a woman who died from the disease last year. According to the lawsuit, the decedent had used the company’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products for decades as part of her daily feminine hygiene routine.
In April, a second St. Louis jury awarded $55 million in damages to another talcum powder plaintiff who had filed suit against Johnson & Johnson.
During both trials, plaintiffs highlighted internal company documents that suggested Johnson & Johnson was aware of the potential link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer as early as the 1970s.