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A growing number of talcum powder lawsuits continue to move forward in various state courts throughout the U.S., alleging that women developed ovarian cancer following use of Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower-to-Shower powder for feminine hygiene purposes.
While a handful of complaints have been seen in the federal court system, many of those lawsuits have either been remanded back to the state court system or voluntarily dismissed without prejudice by the plaintiffs.
Most of the litigation is currently pending in Missouri state court or New Jersey state court, where hundreds of women are pursuing cases against Johnson & Johnson, Imerys Talc America, Inc. and Personal Care Products Council.
Each of the complaints raise similar allegations that the manufacturers failed to provide adequate warnings about the risk of ovarian cancer from talcum powder side effects when the product is applied to the female genitals.
Plaintiffs claim that evidence has existed for decades to suggest that women may face an increased risk of cancer from talc migrating through the vagina, fallopian tubs and ovaries. However, the only warnings provided on Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower-to-Shower powder indicate that consumers should avoid contact with the eyes or broken areas of skin.
In Missouri state court, a number of multi-plaintiff complaints have been filed in St. Louis, each involving 50 to 100 different women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The first trial in the state is may begin as early as February 2016.
In New Jersey state court, a motion was filed earlier this year seeking to consolidate all talcum powder cancer cases brought throughout the state before one judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings as part of a multi-county litigation, or MCL.
At the time the motion was filed in June 2015, there were at least 100 complaints pending involving 156 different plaintiffs. The New Jersey Supreme Court has yet to issue an order in response to the request. However,talcum powder injury lawyers continue to review and file additional cases, and the litigation is expected to continue to increase over the next year.
Johnson’s Baby Powder is the most popular form of talcum powder, which is commonly associated with use on infants to smooth skin and prevent diaper rash. However, it is also widely used by adult women for general hygiene purposes. Given the popularity among women, Shower-to-Shower talcum powder is marketed specifically for this use.
The lawsuits stem from concerns raised in several studies that suggest talcum powder applied to the female genitals may increase the risk of ovarian cancer, with talc often found in tumors among long-term users of the products.
While the overall cancer risk remains small, allegations raised in Johnson’s Baby Powder lawsuits and Shower-to-Shower powder lawsuits indicate that the manufacturers withheld information and warnings about the studies due to concerns that it may negatively impact sales.
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