Ovarian Cancer and Talc

A South Dakota woman filed a lawsuit against two mining companies and Johnson and Johnson last week, alleging the companies have been failing for decades to warn consumers of the association of talcum powder and ovarian cancer.

Plaintiff’s lawsuit alleges that talc particles cause tumors in human ovaries. Plaintiff used talc-based body powder each day for over 30 years and contracted ovarian cancer in 2006.

I suspect the thrust of the lawsuit is that the National Toxicology Program found in 1993 that cosmetic grade talc caused tumors in animal subjects. The FDA has taken no action, and cosmetic grade talc remains unregulated by the federal government.

Do I think that the Plaintiff will be able to show that her ovarian cancer was caused by talc at trial? I have no idea. But I suspect not. Would I have liked to know about this National Toxicology Program finding before I wrote this post this morning? Obviously, yes.

The big thing is whether there is even more.  What did J&J know even before this study and HOW MUCH MORE did they know?

This ovarian cancer lawsuit is one of those cases where discovery is going to be critical.  If J&J has bad paper that shows that they knew a lot about this risk and told no one, that is going to be a problem.