Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Johnson & Johnson is being sued by a man who alleges his wife died of ovarian cancer after years of using talcum products marketed by the company and bought in stores in Los Angeles County.

Soren Threadgill filed the wrongful death lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking unspecified damages. His other allegations include fraud, negligence, breach of implied warranty and strict products liability.

The complaint filed Friday also names Imerys Talc America, a producer and distributor of the talcum powder used by Threadgill’s wife, Eva Maria Threadgill; Rite Aid Corp. and the Gelson’s supermarket chain.

A Johnson & Johnson representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Threadgill’s wife bought Johnson & Johnson talc-based products Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene purposes at Rite Aid and Gelson’s, the suit states. She used the products for 25 years, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1998 and died in December 2012, according to the complaint.

Johnson & Johnson marketed Shower to Shower with the slogan, “Just a sprinkle a day keeps the odor away,” the suit says. Johnson Baby Powder ads promised consumers they could use the powder “anytime you want skin to feel soft, fresh and comfortable,” according to the lawsuit.

Johnson & Johnson knew or should have known about the dangers associated with talcum-based powders because cancer organizations had told them about the problem, the suit alleges.

For instance, the Cancer Prevention Coalition notified Johnson & Johnson’s CEO in 1994 that studies evaluating talcum powder in the genital area posed “a serious risk of ovarian cancer,” the suit states.

The International Association for the Research of Cancer concluded in February 2006 that talc-based body powder was a human carcinogen, according to the suit.

Despite such knowledge, Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers of the dangers of talcum powder use, the suit alleges.

In February, a Missouri jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $72 million in compensatory and punitive damages to the family of Jacqueline Fox of Birmingham, Alabama. She died of ovarian cancer in October at the age of 62 after years of using the company’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene.

—City News Service

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