Talc Powder Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Over Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis

The family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer alleges that side effects of daily talc powder use for feminine hygiene purposes caused the development of the difficult to treat form of cancer. 

According to a complaint (PDF) filed against Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America on June 9, Maureen Broderick Milliken’s death from ovarian cancer in 2014, was caused by “regular and prolonged” use of talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder around her genital area for nearly her entire life.

The lawsuit was brought in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by Nancy Bors, representing Milliken’s estate, who was 58 years old when she died from ovarian cancer.

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Talcum Powder Lawsuits

Talcum powder or talc powder may cause women to develop ovarian cancer.

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Johnson & Johnson faces several thousand similar Baby Powder lawsuits and Shower-to-Shower lawsuits brought by women and families throughout the United States, many of which involve talcum powder wrongful death claims.

Bors and other plaintiffs allege that the manufacturer knew or should have known about the link between talc powder and ovarian cancer for decades, yet withheld information from consumers and continued to market use of the products in the underwear and around the genitals, which may cause talc to migrate through the vagina and increase the risk of cancer.

“During the time in question, the Johnson & Johnson Defendants advertised and marketed this product as a beacon of ‘freshness’ and ‘comfort’, eliminating friction on the skin, absorbing ‘excess wetness’ helping keep skin feeling dry and comfortable, and ‘clinically proven gentle and mild’,” the lawsuit states. “The Johnson & Johnson Defendants compelled women through advertisements to dust themselves with this product to mask odors.”

So far this year, at least two cases involving allegations that women developed ovarian cancer from talcum powder have gone before juries nationwide, each resulting in multi-million dollar damage awards after finding that Johnson & Johnson failed to provide adequate ovarian cancer warnings.

Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Risks Ignored by Johnson & Johnson

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.

Despite the findings, Johnson & Johnson has refused to provide warnings for women using their products about the potential side effects of talc in Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower, continuing to stand by the decision to ignore the potential risk for decades.

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.


  • BarbaraJune 30, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    A thought--trans-dermal patches are used, and the medication is absorbed thru the skin. Then do all the chemicals etc in body lotion absorb into our system, too?

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