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Talcum Powder Side Effects Blamed For Decade-Long Uterine Cancer Battle In New Lawsuit

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Johnson & Johnson faces another product liability lawsuit alleging that side effects of talcum powder used for feminine hygiene caused the development of uterine cancer, joining a growing number of similar claims brought on behalf of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. 

In a complaint (PDF) filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on July 8, Dolores Gould alleges that she developed uterine cancer after decades of applying Johnson’s baby powder and Shower-to-Shower to her genitals for odor control.

Gould, born in 1975, was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2006. According to the lawsuit, her mother used the powder on her as a baby, and she continued to use it throughout her life. Neither she nor doctors were warned by Johnson & Johnson that talc applied to the genitals could increase the risk of cancer.

The case raises allegations similar to those presented in a number of Johnson’s Baby Powder lawsuits and Shower-to-Shower lawsuits filed on behalf of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, many indicating that evidence of talc was found in ovarian tumors. However, Gould indicates that research has also examined the link between talcum powder and endometrial cancer, which is a form of uterine cancer.

“Defendants’ products failed to contain, and continue to this day not to contain, adequate warnings and/or instructions regarding the increased risk of cancer, including, but not limited to, ovarian and uterine cancer, with the use of their products by women,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants continue to market, advertise, and expressly represent to the general public that it is safe for women to use their product regardless of application.”

Talcum Powder Cancer Risks Went Unreported by Johnson & Johnson

So far this year, at least two similar cases brought on behalf of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer following daily use of talcum powder have gone before juries nationwide, each resulting in multi-million dollar damage awards as a result of Johnson & Johnson’s failure to provide appropriate warnings for women.

While talcum powder is most commonly associated with use as a baby powder to help prevent diaper rash and maintain smooth skin, Johnson & Johnson has promoted their products for decades as a general body powder among adult women, who were encouraged to use talcum powder after every shower and place it in their underwear to maintain “personal freshness”.

A number of studies have indicated that talcum powder can increase the risk of ovarian cancer when applied to a woman’s genitals. At least one study even found particles of talc at the center of ovarian tumors.

Evidence presented at recent trials included company documents that suggested Johnson & Johnson was aware of the potential link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer since the 1970s. However, even as recently as 1992, some documents indicate that the company specifically targeted sales towards women who were high users of talcum powder, without ever warning them of the possible cancer risks.

If additional juries respond with similar verdicts after considering the evidence, Johnson & Johnson could face substantial liability if talcum powder ovarian cancer settlements are not reached to resolve individual claims brought by women and families throughout the U.S.

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