The litigation involving Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based powders continues to grow, with the recent filing of a uterine cancer lawsuit in California federal court. The plaintiff named in the complaint claims that her long-term use of Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower for feminine hygiene purposes contributed to the development of her cancer.
According to the filing in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, the plaintiff was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2006, and was forced to undergo surgical removal of her ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes. Fortunately, the disease has been in remission since 2007.
Prior to her diagnosis, the plaintiff had applied Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower talc-based powders to her genitals on a daily basis for decades. During that time, neither product bore any labeling that would suggest they could be associated with an increased risk of cancer. Rather, Johnson & Johnson marketed their talcum powder products as a safe way to eliminate excessive skin wetness, prevent chafing and eliminate unwanted odors, particularly when used in the perineal area.
The complaint further alleges that Johnson & Johnson has been aware for years of evidence suggesting that the regular and repeated application of talc-based powders to the perineal region increases the risk of ovarian cancer. The lawsuit also asserts that since the early 1970s, at least 22 studies have been published that provide proof of this elevated cancer risk
Johnson & Johnson is currently facing more than 1,200 talcum powder lawsuits in courts around the U.S., most of which were filed on behalf of women who allegedly developed ovarian cancer due to the company’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products. In April, a jury in St. Louis, Missouri, awarded $55 million in compensatory and punitive damages to an ovarian cancer victim who used Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based powders for nearly 40 years as part of her feminine hygiene routine. In February, another St. Louis jury ordered the company to pay a total of $72 million to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer.
Earlier this month, a Motion for Transfer was filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) seeking consolidation of the federal talcum powder docket in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois. The JPML has not yet set a date for a hearing on the matter.