Although healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has maintained its baby powder products are perfectly safe for months, an increasing number of lawsuits allege its products cause ovarian cancer. But J&J’s struggles over baby powder have gone international, with over 20 women in Ireland gearing up to file a lawsuit of their own.
Just like their American counterparts, the Irish women all used J&J’s baby powder products around their groins for years before developing ovarian cancer. The women believe J&J failed to warn consumers the talc in its baby powder products could cause cancer. The women plan to officially file their lawsuit against the company in the New Year as they eagerly watch the U.S. baby powder litigation.
J&J’s next baby powder trial will take place in a St. Louis court in July 2017. Unlike previous baby powder trials, this one will feature six plaintiffs, potentially increasing any damage awards six-fold. Another loss could have J&J thinking of settling the remaining cases, but now the company has international lawsuits to consider. While both Irish and Canadian women are joining the baby powder litigation, lawsuits in other countries may be filed as well. J&J’s worldwide popularity could also be its downfall.
The first link between the talc in baby powder and ovarian cancer dates as far back as 1971 when British researchers found talc particles deeply embedded in ovarian tumors. Since this initial discovery, more than 20 epidemiological studies have also found a link between talc and cancer. When using baby powder with talc around the groin, talc particles can work their way up the genital tract and cause a biological response.
J&J knew about the link between the talc in its products and ovarian cancer at least as far back as the 1990s when they hired an independent consultant to evaluate the risk. Despite the consultant’s recommendations and four separate jury verdicts for the plaintiffs, J&J still believes its products are safe.