Published On: 7.15.2014 Charlotte, NC

Jury Links Talcum Powder To Ovarian Cancer

On behalf of Robert Dill of Charles G. Monnett III & Associates


A federal jury in Sioux Falls has found that a woman’s use of Johnson & Johnson products that contained talcum contributed to her ovarian cancer.

The jury said that Johnson & Johnson should warn consumers of the link between ovarian cancer and the use of talc-based body powder for feminine hygiene.

The lawsuit was filed by Sioux Falls resident Deane Berg, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006. The lawsuit claims the 56-year-old woman used talcum-based products for hygiene purposes for about 30 years, including Shower to Shower body powder.

“This is an absolutely great day for women all over the country,” said Greg Eiesland, a lawyer for Berg. “The jury wanted this connection out there in the public. They can’t hide this anymore.”

The jury did not award Berg damages. The jury also did not agree that Johnson & Johnson’s products are defective without a warning label.

Allen Smith, another of Berg’s lawyers, said his client never would have used the products in the manner she did if she had seen a warning.

Three doctors analyzed Berg’s cancer tissue, found talc using a scanning electron microscope and concluded that body powder was the cause.

One of those doctors, Daniel Cramer of Harvard University, has studied the association between talc and cancer for 30 years. He told jurors that talc probably was a contributing factor in 10,000 cases of ovarian cancer each year.

Johnson & Johnson argued throughout the trial that talc is safe, however, and said research showing a link never has been strong enough to warrant a warning.

The company knew about studies showing a risk but chose not to affix a warning label because the association was unproven.

Allen said the verdict is a validation of the idea that the consumer ought to be allowed to decide for themselves.