Baby powder has been a staple in millions of American households for decades. Some use it as its name suggests – to powder a baby during a diaper change – but others find it helpful as a deodorant, shampoo, or a freshener. Often, baby powder is comprised of talc, which is why is can be called talcum powder in some instances, though some baby powder may be made of corn starch.
Though its use remains high, recent concerns over the safety of baby powder have many questioning whether it is smart to use the product liberally. Health concerns about inhaling the talc component of baby powder have been known for some time with possible long term harm including aspiration pneumonia or granuloma but recent legal action has focused on a link between the use of baby powder and an increased incident of ovarian cancer.
As of today, more than 1,000 women have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson to allege that the pharmaceutical company knew of a link between use of its baby powder and ovarian cancer but that it failed to disclose that risk to consumers, instead advertising the product as safe for daily use. In response, Johnson & Johnson states that its baby powder and the talc contained in that powder is safe and denies any link between use of the product and increased cancer rates.
Allegations at present suggest that use of baby powder in or around the genitals can allow talc fibers to travel to the ovaries where they may remain trapped for years. Concern over talc and a possible link to ovarian cancer was first disseminated in the 1970s and grew when a study revealed that many ovarian tumors contained embedded talc fibers.
Last year, a woman who claimed she developed ovarian cancer after using talcum powder for 30 years resulted in a $72 million verdict in favor of the plaintiff for her damages and in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson. A large majority of the other 1,000 cases filed against Johnson & Johnson have yet to be resolved.
Presently, women are being encouraged to talk to their doctors about any symptoms or problems they may have with their health, especially if they have a history of using baby powder or talcum powder. A proper medical evaluation can help these women learn whether they have suffered from ill effects, and if so, what steps need to be taken to get them healthy once again.
As more of these claims proceed to trial, more victims will learn whether they will receive the compensation they deserve for their injuries. While these claims are spread throughout the nation, the lives of some in the greater Chicago area have also been affected, leading them to question whether they are entitled to relief.
Prior Blog Entry:
Chicago Lead Concerns High over Problems in Other Cities, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published April 9, 2016.
Baby powder maker faces lawsuits over claimed cancer connection, by David Wenner, pennlive.com, published March 31, 2016.