Use of talcum powder on genitals is linked to risk of ovarian cancer

A new study, published in the journal of Clinical Oncology, has raised alarm bells by revealing a possible connection between the use of talcum powder in the private parts and the risk of developing ovarian cancer.

The findings of this research indicate that the risk is even greater in those people who use this product frequently or for long periods of time. This conclusion is based on the analysis of data collected from more than 50,000 women in the United States, spanning the period from 2003 to 2009.

These results not only draw attention to the potential health risks associated with using talcum powder on sensitive areas of the body, but They also provide significant support to the thousands of lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson. The company has been the subject of a legal controversy alleging that its talc product is linked to ovarian cancer.

Johnson & Johnson announced that it is moving forward with a proposal $6.48 billion settlement for tens of thousands of lawsuits They allege that their baby powder and other talc products contain asbestos and cause ovarian cancer.

The deal would allow it to resolve the claims through a third bankruptcy filing by a subsidiary company, J&J said.

J&J will begin a three-month voting period in hopes of reaching consensus on a solution for all current and future ovarian cancer claims. Those claims represent 99% of the talc-related lawsuits filed against J&J, including about 54,000 centered on a federal court proceeding in New Jersey.

Courts have rejected J&J's two previous attempts to resolve the lawsuits by bankrupting the subsidiary created to absorb the company's talc liabilities.ruling that the company was not eligible for bankruptcy protection because it was not in “financial trouble.”

J&J, which says its products do not contain asbestos and do not cause cancer, said its settlement is supported by attorneys representing most of the plaintiffs who have filed cancer lawsuits against the company.

Erik Haas, J&J's global vice president of litigation, said gathering votes before filing for bankruptcy would allow The new plan would succeed where J&J's previous efforts failed.

“Plaintiffs can vote, and that's the main difference here,” Haas said on a call with investors Wednesday, referring to legal challenges that resulted in courts dismissing the J&J subsidiary's previous bankruptcy filings before the voting stage.

J&J said it is confident the settlement will garner support from the 75% of pending plaintiffs needed for a bankruptcy settlement that would end the litigation entirely.including future lawsuits, and would prevent people from opting out of the settlement to file separate lawsuits.

Lawyers representing cancer victims seemed divided on the proposal.

“I believe J&J's proposed plan announced today will bring peace and closure to our customers and the thousands of women who have fought alongside us in the search for justice,” said Jim Onder, who represents about 21,000 talc plaintiffs and who supported J&J's previous bankruptcy. proposal.

Other lawyers said J&J is trying to “stuff the ballot box” by getting votes from lawyers who have not sued J&J. or whose clients have types of gynecological cancers that lack a strong scientific link to talc.

Mike Papantonio, a lawyer who opposes the deal, said J&J has been “covertly soliciting law firms to accept its deal, promising quick payout to some opportunistic lawyers.”

J&J's Haas rejected claims about stuffing the vote with non-ovarian cancer cases, saying they were “unfounded and nothing more than a red herring.”

The proposed agreement would be based on J&J's agreements with approximately 95% of people who sued the company after developing mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer linked to asbestos exposureas well as its settlements with U.S. states that alleged the company failed to warn consumers about the dangers of its talc products.


J&J said it set aside $11 billion to account for all of its talc settlements, which included settling claims outside of bankruptcy proceedings by state attorneys general and people who alleged that asbestos-contaminated talc caused their mesothelioma. The company also settled claims in the bankruptcies of its talc suppliers.

In its second subsidiary bankruptcy filing, J&J proposed paying $8.9 billion to resolve ovarian cancer, mesothelioma and state claims. This time, J&J chose to address what Haas estimated there were up to 100,000 ovarian cancer claims bankruptwhile resolving others in traditional agreements.

Previous bankruptcy filings suspended talc litigation from 2021 to 2023, but trials resumed after a federal judge ruled that the latest bankruptcy case should be dismissed in July 2023.

In March, J&J was given a new opportunity to challenge scientific evidence linking talc to ovarian cancer in centralized litigation in New Jersey federal court. The judge overseeing the cases said recent changes in the law and new scientific evidence require a new review, and asked J&J to present new arguments about the science by the end of July.

J&J said it will continue to defend itself against the lawsuits as it tries to rally votes for the deal. The company said that has prevailed in 95% of ovarian cases tried to dateincluding all courts in the last six years.

The litigation has led to some major verdicts for plaintiffs, including a $2.12 billion award to 22 women who blamed their ovarian cancer on asbestos in J&J's talc. Last month, J&J was ordered to pay $45 million in a mesothelioma case while winning an ovarian cancer case.

J&J stopped selling talc-based baby powder in favor of cornstarch-based products, citing an increase in lawsuits and “misinformation” about the safety of the talc product.

(With information from Reuters)