This is Michael Brady Lynch, lead trial attorney for the Michael Brady Lynch Firm.
It took one brave individual to stand up and say, “How can you put a value on a life?” This heroic person is Deana Berg. Johnson & Johnson offered her over a million dollars out of court to settle her case that their talcum powder caused her ovarian cancer. If she accepted the money, she would have to sign a confidentiality clause. She rejected it. Her bravery helped pave the way to expose the dangers of talc powder use to the public.
Berg sued Johnson & Johnson because she felt that using their talc baby powder for years contributed to being diagnosed in 2007 with stage 3 ovarian cancer. After being diagnosed, she quickly removed both ovaries, but despite this, the cancer spread to Berg’s lymph nodes. With a life expectancy of less than five years, the mother of two underwent a full hysterectomy. As she was preparing for chemotherapy, her oncologist shared a study citing talc powder could cause ovarian cancer. This led to her lawsuit filed in 2013, where a federal judge declared the baby powder was a factor that caused her cancer.
Studies since the 1970s have been outlining the dangers of using talcum powder for feminine hygiene. Over 20 journal articles have found a 200-500% increased risk of ovarian cancer from any female that uses talcum powder. This is not a quick process. Many women use the powder for decades before cancer develops. What occurs is talc fibers go up the uterus, into the fallopian tubes before settling in the ovaries. Fibers from the talc can stay there for years like a ticking time bomb.
The second whistle blower that blew the case wide open was Jacqueline Fox. Unfortunately, she passed away from ovarian cancer before her trial ended, but the jury was so enraged by the internal documents the plaintiff’s attorney uncovered that they awarded her estate $10 million in actual damages along with $62 million in punitive damages.
There were multiple documents from internal employees and talcum powder suppliers to Johnson & Johnson talking about concerns of public denial of ovarian cancer risks while using the powder along with unethical measures discussed to block the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) from categorizing talcum powder as a carcinogen. The talc supplier, Luzenac and manufacturer Johnson & Johnson both discussed threatening the IARC with significant economic ramifications if did in fact follow through with the carcinogen labeling.
The most enraging evidence uncovered was a letter from an employee to the president. In it, he foreshadowed the questions they possibly would field in court when suits of ovarian cancer and talcum powder were filed. One of the questions he posed was, “Were profits worth it over the lives of the women you were killing?”
Each year, 25,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Out of those, 1,500 died from talc-related deaths per year.
If you or a love one used talcum powder and later developed ovarian cancer, contact the dedicated attorneys at The Michael Brady Lynch Firm, today at 877-513-9517.