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Talcum Powder And Cancer In Personal Injury Claims

Talcum powder has been a household staple in the form of baby powder for many years, but concerns about the long-term use of talcum powder began in the 1970s. Talcum powder consists mostly of talc and is commonly used in baby powder, facial powder, cosmetics, and other personal care items. Talc is so prevalently used because it helps absorb moisture and can be used to reduce chafing.

The concern over long-term use of talc-based products used to be because they contained asbestos. Talc products no longer contain asbestos, but when used in the perineal area they may increase the risk of ovarian cancer.

Long term use of talc products can cause ovarian cancer because the talc is not able to break down in the body and causes irritation that can increase the risk of ovarian cancer. It is known that this irritation causes ovarian cancer because talc fibers have been found in tissue samples of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Research has concluded there is an increased risk—from 20 to 40 percent—of ovarian cancer among women who routinely use talcum powder for feminine hygiene.

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Identifying Ovarian Cancer

It can be difficult to identify cancer without speaking with a doctor first. Ovarian cancer begins in the ovaries and remains there in the early stages. When it is confined to the ovaries, it is more likely to be treated successfully. Early-stage ovarian cancer rarely causes any symptoms, and advanced-stage ovarian cancer is usually mistaken for another benign condition. However, it is most often detected when it has spread within the pelvis and abdomen. Many symptoms will not be able to be confirmed as ovarian cancer without a biopsy of the ovary and/or the tissue surrounding the ovaries.

Types of Ovarian Cancer

There are three types of ovarian cancer: epithelial tumors, stromal tumors, and germ cell tumors. Each of these types of ovarian cancer begins in a different type of cell. Epithelial tumors are the most common type of ovarian cancer and begin in the thin layer of tissue that covers the outside of the ovaries. Stromal tumors begin in the ovarian tissue that contains hormone-producing cells and can usually be diagnosed earlier. Lastly, germ cell tumors begin in the egg-producing cells, are rare, and tend to occur in younger women.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

See a doctor if any symptoms worry you and to discuss your other risk factors. Symptoms of ovarian cancer can include: 

  • Abdominal bloating or swelling
  • Quickly feeling full when eating
  • Weight loss
  • Discomfort in the pelvis area
  • Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation
  • A frequent need to urinate

Talcum Powder Products & Alternatives

Talcum powder products should not be used in the perineal area for extended periods of time. A Harvard epidemiologist, Dr. Margaret Gates, has reaffirmed that weekly use of talcum powder products for perennial dusting can increase the risk of ovarian cancer by thirty-three percent. Daily use of such products increases the risk of ovarian cancer to forty-four percent. Additionally, in 2010 Dr. Gates published a study of the role of talc particles in other endometrial cancer development. This study reinforced the idea that talc in baby powder is carcinogenic to humans even without asbestos. The best alternative to talcum powder products is cornstarch-based products. Cornstarch-based products have a similar moisture-absorbing property and can help with chafing.

Common Products that Contain Talcum Powder

  • Condoms
  • Tampons
  • Diaphragm
  • Feminine Washes
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Baby Powder
  • Body Powder
  • Vaginal Deodorants

Johnson and Johnson Cases

Johnson and Johnson has been a central defendant in cases about talcum powder products, because they are the leading manufacturer of talcum powder products and a variety of genital deodorant sprays, body powders, and baby powders. The first talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit in 2013 against Johnson & Johnson found the company liable for fraud, negligence and conspiracy after attorneys argued the company was aware of the dangers of talc yet did nothing to inform consumers. This case involved Johnson and Johnson’s Shower-to-Shower Absorbent Baby Powder and a woman that had used the powder regularly for 30 years. No damages were awarded because the plaintiff was not seeking damages and turned down the settlement agreement before trial because she did not want to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Two cases with large damages awards were decided in 2016. In the first case $72 million was awarded for a wrongful death claim. Then, a few months later, a jury awarded another woman $55 million in damages. Johnson and Johnson no longer sells talc-based products in North America, but they have not said it was a result of the ongoing litigation they are facing over the talcum powders.

Who Can Bring a Talcum Powder Lawsuit in Louisiana?

Johnson and Johnson have been a trusted household name across the country. Unfortunately, that means the issues presented by talcum powder products have not spared the women of Louisiana. An attorney may be appropriate if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and is someone with a long-term history of using talc-based products or powders before the diagnosis. The most likely suit that one would bring in this case is a product liability talcum powder lawsuit for causing ovarian cancer.

Statute of Limitations

Every lawsuit is governed by the statute of limitations surrounding the claim. The statute of limitations, known as the “prescriptive period” in Louisiana, governs the amount of time available in which to file a lawsuit. In Louisiana, for this type of case, the prescriptive period is within one year of the date on which the injury occurs. The prescriptive period could commence at many points in a talc-related ovarian cancer case. The time period could start when you find out that there are talc fibers in your ovarian tissue, when the FDA puts a recall out on talc-based products, or even when the FDA issues a warning associating talcum powder with the risk of ovarian cancer. An attorney would be best suited to help you determine where your case begins and if the statute of limitations has run.

Contact Our Office

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer as a result of talc-based product use, you should immediately contact an attorney who is experienced in handling these types of cases.  Talcum product litigation is complicated, and you need an attorney you trust to help you navigate your case.

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