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After using Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower powder for nearly her entire life, a Pennsylvania woman indicates that she developed ovarian cancer due to side effects of the talcum powder products when she was only 38 years old.
In a complaint (PDF) filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on June 30, Elizabeth Morrell joins a growing number of women nationwide who indicate that Johnson & Johnson has failed to adequately warn about the ovarian cancer risk associated with long-term talcum powder use for feminine hygiene purposes.
Morrell states that she used the talc-based powders to dust her perineum from about March 1969 until February 2008, when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. However, Morrell claims that Johnson & Johnson knew or should have known about the link between talcum powder and cancer since at least 1982, when an epidemiologic study found a 92% increased risk in ovarian tumors among women who reported genital talc use.
“Since 1982, there have been more than twenty-five (25) additional epidemiologic studies providing data regarding the association of talc and ovarian cancer,” the lawsuit states. “Nearly all of these studies have reported an elevated risk for ovarian cancer associated with genital talc use in women.”
Johnson & Johnson faces several thousand similar Baby Powder lawsuits and Shower-to-Shower lawsuits, each raising similar allegations that talc contained in the products migrated through the vagina following regular and long-term use, causing the development of ovarian cancer.
There have been at least four massive multimillion dollar verdicts against Johnson & Johnson over failure to warn about the risks associated with talcum powder, including a $110 million verdict awarded to a woman earlier this year.
Morrell’s case will be transferred to a federal MDL, or multidistrict litigation, which has been established to address the growing number of complaints that raise nearly identical questions of fact and law.
U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson is presiding over the coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings in the District of New Jersey. However, if Johnson & Johnson fails to reach talcum powder settlements or otherwise resolve the litigation following the MDL proceedings, Morrell’s case and others may be remanded to U.S. District Courts nationwide for individual trial dates in the future.