The New York Times (5/23/16) shares the story of Deane Berg, who at 49 was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer despite having no risk factors for ovarian cancer. The only potential link that she could see was her use of baby powder.
So Berg filed a lawsuit, alleging Johnson & Johnson knew or should have known about studies linking talcum powder and cancer. Johnson & Johnson says its powder is safe to use, but at least one study, conducted back in 1971, reportedly found evidence of talcum powder particles in ovarian tumors.
In a document filed in relation to Berg's lawsuit, Dr. Daniel Cramer noted a questionnaire completed by Berg after her diagnosis suggested Berg had applied talc to her genital area more than 11,000 times (document found at fairwarning.org).
"It has been about 40 years since talc producers, the cosmetics industry, in general, and Johnson and Johnson, in particular, have been aware of a possible connection between cosmetic talc use and ovarian cancer," Dr. Cramer wrote. "Had a warning label been placed on talc products in 1982 discouraging use in the genital area, Ms. Berg might have stopped her talc use and avoided more than 20 years of exposure."
Because cancer can take a long time to develop, and because it would be unethical to expose women to talcum powder to see if they develop cancer, studying the link between cancer and talcum powder is difficult. But some observational studies have suggested a link between women using talcum powder on their genitals and developing ovarian cancer.
READ MORE TALCUM POWDER LEGAL NEWS
Meanwhile, citing more than 1,200 pending talcum powder lawsuits, attorneys for the plaintiffs have filed a motion to consolidate all federally filed lawsuits for pretrial proceedings. The Motion for Transfer was reportedly filed July 15, 2016, and requests the Southern District of Illinois as a venue. Lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson allege the company knew about an increased risk of ovarian and other cancers linked to the company's talcum powder but did not warn consumers and may have concealed evidence of the link.