For the second time in just four months, giant pharmaceutical firm Johnson & Johnson losses another lawsuit and ordered by the court to pay $55m to Gloria Ristesund, who developed ovarian cancer after years of using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder (the first lawsuit was in February wherein Johnson & Johnson was made to pay $72m to the family of a woman who died of ovarian cancer which she claimed she developed during the 35 years that she used the company’s talc-based baby powder).
Amidst Johnson & Johnson’s claim that cosmetic talc is safe, as proven through 30 years of studies by medical experts worldwide, the lawsuits allege that Johnson & Johnson knew about the dangers associated with using talcum powder, yet it covered up results of the studies that showed a link between its baby powder and ovarian cancer. Instead of including a warning on its product’s label, no information about the dangers of using talcum powder was said in order to increase sales.
Talc, the source of talcum powder, is a mineral that contains magnesium, oxygen and silicon. It is used in various cosmetic products due to it capability to keep the skin dry and prevent rashes. According to the American Cancer Society, a number of studies suggest that regular application of talcum powder in the genital area (or on condoms, diaphragms, or sanitary napkins) might cause cancer in the ovaries, especially if powder particles travel to the ovary.
While Johnson & Johnson plans to appeal this May ruling, if it succeeds, Johnson & Johnson will need to worry anew due to the 1,200 similar lawsuits that it will also have to face.