April 22, 2016 — A lawsuit has been filed against Johnson & Johnson by a man who blames baby powder for his wife’s death from ovarian cancer, according to My News LA.
The wrongful death lawsuit was filed by Soren Threadgill in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of his wife, Eva Maria. The defendants include Johnson & Johnson, Imerys Talc America (a major supplier of talcum powder), Rite Aid Corp., and the Gelson’s supermarket chain.
Threadgill claims his wife bought talc-based products like Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower for feminine hygiene purposes and used them for 25 years. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1998 and died in December 2012.
In February, a jury in St. Louis, Missouri awarded $72 million in compensation and punitive damages to the family of Jacqueline Fox, a woman from Birmingham, Alabama who died of ovarian cancer last October at the age of 62. Like many women in her generation, she used talcum powder for decades.
Johnson & Johnson marketed Shower-to-Shower to women with the slogan, “Just a sprinkle a day keeps the odor away.” Baby powder ads promised consumers they could use it “anytime you want skin to feel soft, fresh and comfortable.”
The company is now facing about 1,200 lawsuits from women with ovarian cancer. They accuse Johnson & Johnson of negligence for failing to warn about the risk. For example, the Cancer Prevention Coalition notified the CEO in 1994 that using talcum powder in the genital area poses a “serious risk of ovarian cancer.”
In recent trials, lawyers also presented an internal memo from a Johnson & Johnson medical consultant who compared people who deny a link between genital talc use and ovarian cancer would be perceived in the same way as those who deny a link between smoking cigarettes and cancer — “denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.”
In May 2015, the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer analyzed 23 case-controlled studies conducted and found that talc use increased the risk of ovarian cancer by 30-60% in “almost all well-designed studies.”
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