The administrator of the estate of a woman who died from ovarian cancer has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson for negligence. The woman, Maureen Broderick, used J&J baby powder for feminine hygiene on a daily basis and the lawsuit alleges her use of the product caused ovarian cancer.
This lawsuit, along with thousands of other lawsuits against J&J, alleges the company knew the talculm powder in its products could increase the risk of ovarian cancer, but failed to warn consumers of the dangers.
What Is Talc?
Talc is a mineral composed of mostly magnesium, oxygen, and silicone. When ground into a powder, it is commonly used to absorb moisture and prevent rashes on the skin. It has been the main ingredient of J&J’s baby powder since 1894, but studies dating as far back as 1971 have shown a clear link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder use.
Baby Powder Lawsuits
The first baby powder lawsuit to go to trial occurred in 2013. The jury found J&J negligent in failing to warn consumers of the risk of ovarian cancer from the talc in its products. This lawsuit laid the groundwork for the next two baby powder lawsuits that went to trial earlier this year. Again, both juries found J&J negligent and awarded a total of $127 million in damages to the victims and/or families of the victims.
Although the company has said it will continue to defend the safety of its product, the evidence to the contrary is quickly becoming overwhelming. A recent study found African American women have a much higher risk of developing ovarian cancer from talcum powder use than other women, with a nearly 44% increased risk of cancer.
J&J will have another opportunity to defend the talc in its baby powder this September when the next baby powder lawsuit goes to trial.