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Talcum Powder Triples the Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Sometimes the most common household items can be the most dangerous products, often made even more so because information regarding their dangers is not widespread or readily available. One of these is talcum powder—commonly known as baby powder.

In the 1970s the first report on the dangers of talcum powder was published. The report found a link between talc particles and ovarian cancer, according to The Huffington Post. Not surprisingly, the medical director for Johnson & Johnson (a leading talcum powder manufacturer) vehemently contested these findings.

For years, The Huffington Post reports, women were encouraged to put talcum powder on themselves as a way to “mask alleged genital odors.” It was not until 1992 that a report in Obstetrics & Gynecology stated that a woman's risk of ovarian cancer was increased three times if she frequently used talcum powder. Since then, more than a dozen other reports have substantiated these findings.

More than 15,000 women die from ovarian cancer in the U.S. every year, according to The Huffington Post, and by some estimates about 20 percent of American women regularly use talcum powder on their genitals. The first lawsuit brought against Johnson & Johnson was in 2013, according to the Aberdeen News.

Deane Berg, a Sioux Fall, South Dakota resident diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006, brought the case to court. She said she had been using Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder products for roughly 30 years, and that none of the products had warning labels. Three different doctors who had analyzed Berg's cancer said that it was indeed caused by talcum powder.

The Aberdeen News reports that one doctor who had analyzed Berg's cancer, a Harvard University doctor, stated to the jury that talcum powder was likely a factor in 10,000 cases of ovarian cancer annually in the U.S. Though the jury decided that Johnson & Johnson should have a warning label on the product, the company can appeal the decision.

If you or someone you know in Illinois has ovarian cancer and suspect that the use of talcum powder could be a contributing factor, you may be eligible for compensation. Do not go through it alone. Contact Newland & Newland, LLP for a free initial consultation today.

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