On February 23, 2016, a Missouri jury returned a verdict of $72 million to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer. The jury found that her death was caused by her use of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products for feminine hygiene. About 1200 similar cases are waiting to be heard primarily in Missouri and New Jersey.

Talc is a naturally-occurring mineral that is widely used in cosmetics and personal care products. Johnson & Johnson has long promoted its talcum powders to adults and children for use over the whole body including in the genital area, for all-day freshness. A catchy commercial jingle reached millions of female consumers, touting “a sprinkle a day helps keep odor away.”

The link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer dates back as early as 1971, when a study of ovarian cancer patients revealed talc particles in their ovarian tissues. Talc is a mineral comprised of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. It is widely used to help keep skin dry and prevent rashes. When used on the genitals, however, dangerous talc particles can travel into the ovaries and remain trapped for years. These particles can cause inflammation and lead to the growth of ovarian cancer cells.

Research suggests that talcum powder can contribute to cancer in the ovaries of particles enter the body through the vagina. An article in the medical journal Cancer Prevention Research indicated that women who regularly used talc-based powder for feminine hygiene might increase their risk of ovarian cancer by about 41 percent. In 1992 a study found that regular use of baby powder increased the risk of developing ovarian cancer threefold. In 2010, a Harvard study concluded that talc in baby powder was carcinogenic to humans.

Despite numerous studied that pointed to the connection between talc and ovarian cancer, Johnson & Johnson has continued to market and promote use of its talc-containing products to women, especially women of color, for decades. The recent verdict in St. Louis is the first step in stopping Johnson & Johnson from pushing this dangerous product on unsuspecting women who unknowingly put their health at grave risk.

If you or someone you know developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder or Shower to Shower powder for genital hygiene, contact the Johnson Johnson & Schaller Law Firm now for a free consultation.