A woman has filed suit against Johnson and Johnson, alleging she developed ovarian cancer after utilizing the company's baby powder for nearly 50 years.
Judith Harlan alleges she used the baby powder from 1964 until 2013 as a feminine hygiene product. The product caused her to develop ovarian cancer at 66 years old, according to the complaint filed Jan. 20 in Madison County Circuit Court against Johnson and Johnson, Johnson and Johnson Consumer Products, Imerys Talc America, Personal Care Products Council f/k/a Luzenac America Inc., and Walgreens.
Harlan says the first study linking cancer to the product emerged in 1971. A 1982 study revealed a 92 percent increased risk in the cancer with women who reported genital talc use, the suit states, and since then there have been 22 additional studies providing data linking the association of talc to ovarian cancer.
In 1996 the condom industry stopped brushing the contraceptives with talc because of the risk of ovarian cancer, according to the complaint.
Johnson and Johnson knew of the dangers of the powder, but failed to warn of the catastrophic health hazards associated with it, the suit states.
Harlan cites Walgreens as a defendant, saying it negligently failed to warn of the hazards associated with the products, sold a product it knew did not contain a warning of a significant danger and failed to advice users on how to prevent or reduce exposure.
Harlan alleges strict liability for failure to warn, negligence, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranties, civil conspiracy. She seeks a judgment of more than $400,000, plus unspecified punitive damages, costs and other relief the court deems just.
Attorneys James G. Onder, William W. Blair, Michael J. Quillin and Stephanie L. Rados, of Onder, Shelton, O'Leary and Peterson in St. Louis, will represent Harlan.
Madison County Circuit Court case number: 15-L-84