Talcum Powder Cancer Lawsuit Filed by 65 Women Remanded To State Court

A federal judge has remanded a talcum powder lawsuit filed against Johnson & Johnson on behalf of 65 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, indicating that the case should be returned back to state court where it was originally filed.

In an order (PDF) issued on September 24, U.S. District Judge Jean C. Hamilton ruled that Johnson & Johnson had wrongly removed the case from the Circuit Court of St. Louis in Missouri, indicating that there is a lack of diversity between the parties necessary to establish federal jurisdiction in the lawsuit.

The decision comes as dozens of Johnson’s Baby Powder lawsuits and Shower-to-Shower Body Powder lawsuits continue to move forward against Johnson & Johnson in courts throughout the country, all involving similar allegations that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn that use of the talc-based powders as a feminine hygiene product may increase the risk of 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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Talcum Powder Cancer Concerns

While talcum powder is most commonly used as a baby product, to prevent diaper rash or sooth skin, a number of women regularly use the products as body powders after a shower. As a result of the popularity of this use for Johnson’s Baby Powder, Johnson & Johnson introduced other similar products containing talc-based powders, including Johnson’s Shower-to-Shower Powder.

According to allegations raised in lawsuits now being pursued against the manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson knew or should have known about the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, but failed to provide adequate warnings for omwne about the risk of applying the powder to the genitals.

Researchers have indicated that the powder may migrate through the vagina to the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries, with evidence of talc found within some ovarian tumors.

In June 2013, a study published in the medical journal Cancer Prevention Research indicated that women who used genital powder containing talc may face a 20% to 30% higher risk of ovarian cancer than those who do not. While the overall risk remains small, women have expressed concerns about why further research has not been done by the manufacturers and why warnings have not been provided about the possible health risks.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, has classified genital use of talc powder as a “possible carcinogen,” and the American Cancer Society has indicated women concerned about the talcum powder cancer risk may want to avoid or limit use by considering cornstarch-based products.

In October 2013, a South Dakota jury found that sufficient evidence was presented during trial to establish a link between Johnson Shower-to-Shower body powder and ovarian cancer developed by a 56 year old woman who had used the product for several decades. During the trial, Harvard University’s Daniel Cramer testified that he has been looking into the links between talc and ovarian cancer for 30 years, and suggested that talcum powder may cause 10,000 cases of ovarian cancer every year.

A similar Baby Powder class action lawsuit was filed in California in April, seeking to force Johnson & Johnson to properly inform consumers about the potential health risks, including a significantly increased risk of ovarian cancer. Plaintiffs in that case allege that the manufacturer has known for decades about the risk of ovarian cancer, yet the only warnings indicate that users should avoid contact with eyes and keep the powder away from the faces of children to avoid inhalation.


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