In July 2018, an American jury has awarded 22 women the sizeable award of $4.7 billion (£3.6 billion) after a six week trial in the US state of Missouri.
During the trial, the jury heard arguments from the women and their families that they had developed ovarian cancer after using the brand’s baby powder and other talc products. Lawyers for the Claimants argued that the pharmaceutical company were aware that the product was contaminated with asbestos, a cancer causing mineral, and failed to warn consumers of the risks associated.
The award is the largest pay-out Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay since research first suggested that there may be a link between the baby powder and ovarian cancer. The company is currently facing 9,000 legal cases regarding its signature product.
What is Baby Powder?
Baby Powder is often used to help absorb moisture on the skin however it also has other properties such as preventing friction and protecting against rashes. It is most often used on babies and small infants.
Since the 1970s asbestos is no longer in baby and talcum powder, but research does suggest that there could be a link between the consistent use of talcum powder and the development of ovarian cancer.
The charity Ovacome says that the worst-case scenario is that using talc increases the risk of cancer by a third whilst the International Agency for Research classifies the use of talc as ‘possibly carcinogenic’.
What Is Ovarian Cancer?
The ovaries are part of the reproductive system in women. There is one ovary on each side of the body and they produce an egg each month. It is possible to get cancer in the ovaries and is the 6th most common cancer in women. 53% of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed in women over 65.
There are a number of symptoms of ovarian cancer to look out for which include:
- Discomfort in your stomach or pelvic area
- Feeling bloated
- A swollen stomach
- Feeling the need to urinate more often or more urgently than normal
- Quickly feeling full when eating
- Persistent indigestion or feeling sick
- Unexplained weight loss
If you are suffering with any one of these symptoms, it is important you see your GP to discuss your symptoms.
Can you bring a claim under UK Law?
As discussed above, prior to the 1970s, baby and talcum powders were known to be contaminated with asbestos fibres. Since then, EU law has stated that all products containing talcum powder are legally obliged to be asbestos-free.
It may be the case that a claim for ovarian cancer caused by historic use of baby powder would have a good chance of success, as the link between asbestos exposure and cancer is well established.
If you believe you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer through the historic use of baby powder, please get in touch with the Personal Injury team at Farleys Solicitors who can discuss whether you have a claim. Call 0845 287 0939 or email us today.