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CATEGORY: Product Liability

Lexington County Personal Injury Lawyers discuss Chemotherapy and Permanent Baldness: Why Lawsuits are Emerging

Chemotherapy and Permanent Baldness: Why Lawsuits are Emerging

Chemotherapy and Permanent Baldness: Why Lawsuits are Emerging

Alopecia—hair loss—is a common side effect of chemotherapy. Permanent alopecia is not. Typically, a chemotherapy patient’s hair will fully regrow within 6 months of the end of treatment. In very rare circumstances (less than 1%), however, the intense drug regimen can permanently damage hair follicles, resulting in permanent baldness. But a new wave of lawsuits alleges that a very popular chemotherapy drug for breast cancer—Taxotere—has been causing permanent alopecia at a rate ten times that seen in other chemotherapy drugs. The lawsuits also allege Taxotere’s manufacturer knew of this risk and failed to advise doctors or patients of that fact.

Two of the most popular chemotherapy drugs for breast cancer patients are Taxol (owned by the American company, Bristol-Myers Squibb) and Taxotere (owned by the French company, Sanofi-Aventis). Both drugs emanate from the bark of the yew tree, but Taxotere is 2.5 times as cytotoxic (poisonous to cell growth) as is Taxol.

Both drugs were approved by the FDA for chemotherapy use in breast cancer patients in the 1990s. Concerns over the toxicity of Taxotere, however, limited its approval for treatment of women “with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer after failure of prior chemotherapy.” This prevented Taxotere from becoming a “first-line treatment” option for breast cancer patients, thereby greatly limiting the market of potential customers. It is here that existing litigation alleges the French company Sanofi-Aventis began to engage in nefarious activity designed to boost its sales at the risk of injuring unsuspecting cancer patients.

In May of 2002, Sanofi-Aventis began marketing Taxotere to oncologists as a “first-line treatment” option for breast cancer despite the FDA’s previous limitation. In publicly available documents which can be viewed at www.fda.gov, the agency reprimanded the pharmaceutical giant for false advertising.

[w]ith minimal survival benefits in patients with newly-diagnosed [cancer], and the potential for increased toxicity with its use, Taxotere as a single agent was not indicated as first-line therapy and certainly was not “at the center of more strategies every day” as claimed in your sales aid. Therefore, Aventis’ false or misleading promotion in the sales aid may compromise patient survival and safety.

Duly chastised, Aventis assured the agency that all such marketing materials would be destroyed.

Sanofi-Aventis changed its marketing strategy, however, only to market directly to breast cancer patients themselves. The company crafted a circulation wrap for “People” magazine that featured the queen piece with the ominous slogan “THE NEXT MOVE MAY BE THE KEY TO SURVIVAL.” The advertisement was also featured in “Cure” and “Coping” magazines—publications specifically for cancer patients and their families. On November 12, 2003, the FDA issued a warning letter to Aventis separate and apart from its previous reprimand in 2002: “[w]e are concerned that you continued to promote Taxotere in a similar manner to consumers in popular consumer magazines.”

Your claim also implies to patients that if they do not add Taxotere to their treatment, they will not survive. This is misleading, given that there are other treatments available for breast cancer and lung cancer with proven survival benefits.

Meanwhile, clinical studies continued to confirm that Taxotere showed no medical benefit beyond that offered by its less-toxic competitor, Taxol. In April of 2008, a study of 4,950 breast cancer patients published in the New England Journal of Medicine “found no significant differences in survival between the groups treated with [Taxol] and those treated with [Taxotere]…”. At the same time, a European study funded in part by Sanofi-Aventis revealed that 9.2% of Taxotere patients continued to suffer from permanent baldness 10 years after their initial treatment. No such risk has been associated with Taxol.

But the pharmaceutical company declined to warn doctors or cancer patients of this substantial risk of permanent scarring.

The healthcare community, however, was beginning to catch on. In 2010, an article appeared in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology analyzing the existing body of literature on chemotherapy-related permanent alopecia. The article recognized that “[w]hy some patients develop permanent, rather than temporary, alopecia following chemotherapy is unknown,” but went on to state that the evidence in this particular case study “suggests that [Taxotere] is the implicated agent.” Two years later, a group of French doctors conducted a prospective study of 20 patients receiving Taxotere chemotherapy. After six months of recovery, all of the patients showed signs of permanent alopecia.

On December 11, 2015, Aventis finally changed the Taxotere warning label and package insert to contain the following phrase: “Cases of permanent alopecia have been reported.” Ten days later, the litigation dam burst with the first American lawsuit being filed in the District of Colorado. By October of 2016, 100 additional cases were filed throughout the United States and the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered the establishment of an MDL proceeding in the Southern District of Louisiana. There are currently 859 cases pending in the MDL and more are being added each week.

The number of victims of Taxotere-induced permanent alopecia is unknown. But as noted above, this was a billion-dollar drug in the United States, alone. Taxotere patients certainly number in the tens of thousands. With nearly a thousand lawsuits already pending, the likelihood appears high that there will be thousands more.

Our law firm is investigating cases involving Taxotere and permanent baldness across the Southeast. If you would like to speak to a South Carolina personal injury lawyer at Chappell, Smith & Arden about a potential case, please call us at 1 (800) 531-9780 or contact us online.

Richland County Personal Injury Lawyers discuss IVC Filters: Case Screening

Blood clots are a common—and potentially fatal—condition associated with significant trauma and a variety of surgeries and medical treatments. Typically forming in the legs, clots have the ability to travel to your lungs, plugging vital vessels in those organs and resulting in a pulmonary embolism. One-third of people with untreated pulmonary embolisms do not survive.

Doctors have long prescribed blood-thinners (such as Coumadin or Warfarin) to combat the development of blood clots, but some patients cannot tolerate these medications. In the 1970s, in response to this need, medical engineers developed the first “IVC filter” to implant into patients at risk for blood clotting who could not take blood thinners.

The inferior vena cava is shown as the large blue vein travelling from the legs, between the kidneys, directly to the heart.

The inferior vena cava is shown as the large blue vein travelling from the legs, between the kidneys, directly to the heart.

“IVC” is an acronym for the inferior vena cava, the largest vein in the body. With an average diameter of 2 centimeters, the function of the inferior vena cava is to drain all of the deoxygenated blood from the lower body into the heart, at which point the blood is pumped to the lungs for a new dose of oxygen. The “IVC filter” is a metallic, net-like device inserted into the inferior vena cava through the femoral vein. The metal prongs of the filter are designed to stop significant clots in the IVC, thereby preventing their migration to the lungs.

IVC filters first appeared on the market in the 1970s. Boston Scientific designed and marketed the first model, known as the “Kimray-Greenfield filter” (or KG filter), and it enjoyed substantial success. The KG filter was designed to be permanent and required annual check-ups for evidence of clotting around the filter, evidence of damage to the blood vessel, or signs that the filter was migrating towards the heart.

In 1995, a prospective study revealed that KG filter recipients were experiencing recurrent pulmonary embolisms in only 4% of cases, that damage to the inferior vena cava was negligible, and that only 8% of patients showed any movement of the filter within the IVC itself.

An example of one model of IVC filter. The tip of the filter is inserted through the femoral vein towards the heart. Upon releasing the filter, the “legs” expand to the internal wall of the inferior vena cava.

An example of one model of IVC filter. The tip of the filter is inserted through the femoral vein towards the heart. Upon releasing the filter, the “legs” expand to the internal wall of the inferior vena cava.

The success of the KG filter caught the attention of Boston Scientific’s competitors and the race to patent better filters for more prolific uses was on. The biggest problem the industry faced, however, was the fact that pulmonary embolism patients who cannot use blood thinners are relatively few in number. So even if KG filter competitors gained market share, the market itself was quite small.

The competitors—primarily Bard, Cook Medical, and Cordis—chose to attempt to expand the market and differentiate their products from the KG filter by creating a line of filters that could be removed from the inferior vena cava after a short period of time. Theoretically, such filters could then be prescribed for patients for whom the permanent KG filter would not be—namely, those for whom a pulmonary embolism was not an existing problem, but was merely a threat due to tangential (and very common) medical issues such as traumatic injuries, cancer treatment, orthopedic surgery, OB/GYN surgery, and bariatric surgery.

The first “retrievable filters” began to be implanted in late 2003. The marketing efforts of Bard, Cook, and Cordis dramatically increased the ubiquity of the product: in 2004, 49,000 filters were implanted; by 2013, approximately 400,000 Cook filters, alone, were implanted (and Cook controlled only 43% of the market).

But trouble was on the horizon. The “retrievable” filters turned out to be not-so-retrievable. Within weeks of the filters’ insertion, the walls of the inferior vena cava began to grow around the metal “legs” of the filter. This increased the danger of removal of the filters, as doing so risked puncturing the largest vein in the body—a possibly fatal consequence for the patient.

As more doctors abandoned the practice of retrieving these devices, additional problems began to arise. The filter “legs” began to punch through and protrude from the walls of the inferior vena cava. The device would sometimes tilt, placing unequal pressure on the legs. Those that did not punch through the vein often broke off, becoming free-floating objects and lodging themselves in the patient’s heart or lungs. Worst of all, the device broke free of the vein of some patients, becoming lodged in the heart and requiring open heart surgery.

This is an image of open heart surgery being performed on a patient whose IVC filter has migrated through the inferior vena cava approximately 10 inches from its place of implantation (about an inch below the kidneys) into the heart itself. The white arrow indicates the filter, which is covered in tissue.

This is an image of open heart surgery being performed on a patient whose IVC filter has migrated through the inferior vena cava approximately 10 inches from its place of implantation (about an inch below the kidneys) into the heart itself. The white arrow indicates the filter, which is covered in tissue.

As one might imagine, a flood of litigation has ensued. Presently, 1,244 lawsuits are pending against Bard in federal court. These suits have been consolidated, for discovery purposes only, in the District of Arizona. Likewise, 1,237 suits are pending against Cook, consolidated in the Southern District of Indiana. The first Cook case is scheduled to be tried on October 2, 2017 while no trials of Bard have been scheduled as of yet.

Our law firm is investigating many IVC filter cases across the State of South Carolina. If you would like to speak to a Columbia personal injury lawyer at Chappell, Smith & Arden about your potential case, please call us at 1 (800) 531-9780 or contact us online.

The Big Lie: Johnson & Johnson, Talc, and Ovarian Cancer

The Big Lie: Johnson & Johnson, Talc, and Ovarian Cancer

The Big Lie: Johnson & Johnson, Talc, and Ovarian Cancer

In the aftermath of verdicts of $72 million and $55 million on behalf of ovarian cancer victims, Johnson & Johnson is fighting back by releasing a public statement which misleads women about the connection between perineal use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Here, we dissect the pharmaceutical giant’s claims to bring you the truth.

J&J Claim No. 1: “When concerns about an association between talc and ovarian cancer were first raised in the early 1980s, Johnson and Johnson took them very seriously and did the things you expect from a company you trust…”

Concerns about talc and ovarian cancer were not “first raised in the early 1980s.” In fact, as Dr. Stephen A. Narod of Toronto’s Women’s College Institute recently noted, “[i]nterest in a possible link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer risk dates back to the 1960s when the public was concerned about asbestos contamination in talc.”[1] British researchers first identified talc particles in ovarian cancer tumors in 1971.[2]

The first published epidemiological study finding a statistically significant link between talc exposure and ovarian cancer was published in the American Cancer Society’s journal, Cancer, in July of 1982.[3] The author of the study, Dr. Daniel Cramer, later recalled Johnson & Johnson’s reaction to his research.

After this publication, I was contacted by Dr. Bruce Semple of Johnson and Johnson and we met in Boston in late 1982 or early 193. My recollection of the meeting was that Dr. Semple spent his time trying to convince me that talc use was a harmless habit, while I spent my time trying to persuade him to consider the possibility that my study could be correct and that women should be advised of this potential risk of talc. I don’t recall further meetings or communications with him.[4]

The specific “things you expect from a company you trust,” according to Johnson & Johnson, were as follows.

J&J Claim No. 2:

  • “Testing to ensure that the talc in JOHNSON’S®Baby Powder meets the highest Quality standards (US Pharmacopeia)”
  • “Engaging with the FDA, regulatory agencies, and governments around the world”
  • “Monitoring studies and all available information examining the safety of talc”
  • “Talking with independent consultants from outside our company about their point of view on the safety of talc.”

The “highest quality standards” for Baby Powder had nothing to do with the 1982 study linking talc to ovarian cancer, but rather had been implemented in 1976 when it was discovered that cosmetic talcum powder often contained measurable quantities of asbestos. After implementing those standards, Johnson & Johnson then began retaining the consultants of “independent consultants” such as Dr. Alfred P. Wehner to conduct studies on the asbestos content within its talcum powder.[5] Successful studies were published and touted by Johnson & Johnson as evidence of the safety of its products.

As more studies in the 1980s and early 90s continued to link talc (rather than asbestos) to ovarian cancer, however, Johnson & Johnson began to fear regulatory action against its Baby Powder and other talc-based products. As a result, the company helped form the “Talc Interested Parties Task Force,” which included representatives from other cosmetics companies. The Task Force, during the 90s, successfully staved off government intervention but, in doing so, Johnson & Johnson alienated some of its own so-called “independent consultants.” In 1997, Dr. Alfred P. Wehner complained to Johnson & Johnson that the Task Force was ignoring increasing scientific evidence of the connection between talc and ovarian cancer.

At that time (1994) there had been about 9 studies (more by now) published in the open literature that did show a statistically significant association between hygienic talc use and ovarian cancer. Anybody who denies this risks that the talc industry will be perceived by the public like it perceives the cigarette industry: denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.[6]

But Dr. Wehner’s warnings fell on deaf ears.

J&J Claim No. 3: “After 30 years of studies by medical experts around the world, science, research and clinical evidence continues to support the safety of cosmetic talc. Two widely-accepted, very large studies which followed women over a period of time — the Nurses’ Health Study by the Harvard School of Public Health published in 2009 and the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Cohort by the U.S. National Institutes of Health published in 2014 – found no association between talc and ovarian cancer. We also know that some epidemiology studies have reported an association between talc and ovarian cancer.”

Johnson and Johnson, of course, has known about all of the studies which have linked ovarian cancer to talcum powder exposure. In fact, in response to the 1982 Cramer study, Johnson and Johnson was quoted in the New York Times on August 12, 1982 and labeled the study’s results “inconclusive.” Said the Johnson & Johnson spokesperson,

We agree more study is needed, and we are going to conduct appropriate new studies. We feel there is a vast amount of published research on talc in humans and animals that has shown no tendency of pure cosmetic-grade talc to cause cancer.”[7]

As shown above, this continues to be Johnson and Johnson’s assertion 34 years later.

Johnson and Johnson does correctly cite two studies conducted in 2009 and 2014 which found no association between talc and ovarian cancer. In doing so, however, it attempts to minimize the existence of “some epidemiology studies” that continue to demonstrate the association. In fact, as of May of 2015, thirty-one studies had been conducted on the topic revealing “increased ovarian cancer risk by 30-60% in almost all well-designed studies.” According to Dr. Roberta Ness, “elimination of talc use could protect more than one quarter or more of women who develop ovarian cancer.”[8] Needless to say, that finding is completely inconsistent with Johnson and Johnson’s present insistence that “evidence continues to support the safety of cosmetic talc.”

J&J Claim No. 4: “We continue to believe in the safety of JOHNSON’S®Baby Powder containing talc and we trust our consumers to make their own decisions – which are why we want to provide the scientific support for the safety of talc. Our goal is always to meet our consumer’s needs and we are fortunate to have had this opportunity for more than 130 years.”

This final statement from Johnson and Johnson is amazingly contradictory. One would think, if the company truly trusted its “customers to make their own decisions” it would disclose all of the relevant data pertaining to the connection of talc exposure and ovarian cancer. But Johnson and Johnson continues to deny any connection whatsoever, just as it did in August of 1982.

Meanwhile, epidemiological evidence continues to mount against Johnson & Johnson with a May 2016 study from Duke University reporting a “significant association” between perineal use of talcum powder and elevated risks of ovarian cancer. As Dr. Joellen Schildkraut, the study’s primary author, told Reuters in a recent interview: “I was a cynic until these recent studies came out. As you look across all these studies, I would say, why use it? It’s an avoidable risk for ovarian cancer,” she said.[9]

Why, indeed.

Our law firm is investigating many cases of ovarian cancer across the State of South Carolina. If you would like to speak to a Columbia SC personal injury lawyer at Chappell, Smith & Arden about your potential case, please call us at 1 (800) 531-9780 or contact us online.

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[1] S.A. Narod, “Talc and Ovarian Cancer,” Gynecologic Oncology, Vol. 141, Issue 3 at 410 (June 2016).

[2] W.J. Henderson, C.F.A. Joslin, A.C. Turnbull, and K. Griffiths, “Talc and Carcinoma of the Ovary and Cervix,” British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol. 78, Issue 3 at 266 (March 1971).

[3] Daniel W. Cramer, “Ovarian Cancer and Talc: A Case-Control Study,” Cancer, Vol. 50 at 376 (July 15, 1982).

[4] Dkt. 171-2 at 4, Berg v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., 4:09-cv-04179 (D.S.D.), Expert report of Daniel W. Cramer, MD

[5] A.P. Wehner, G.M. Zwicker, W.C. Cannon, C.R. Watkin, and W.W. Carlton, “Inhalataion of Talc Baby Powder by Hamsters,” Food and Cosmetics Toxicology, Volume 15, Issue 2 at 126 (1977).

[6] Letter from Alfred P. Wehner to Michael R. Chudkowski (Sept. 17, 1997)(Plaintiff’s Exhibit #111, Berg v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., on file with U.S. District Court for District of South Dakota).

[7] Author unknown, “Talcum Company Calls Study on Cancer Link Inconclusive,” New York Times, August 12, 1982.

[8] Ness, R., “Does Talc Exposure Cause Ovarian Cancer?” International Journal of Gynecological Cancer,  Vol. 25, Supp. 1 (May 20150.

[9] See http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-talc-ovarian-cancer-idUSKCN0YO2T7 (last viewed July 5, 2016).

Columbia Personal Injury Lawyers discuss10 Essential Firework Safety Tips for a Safe & Fun July 4th Celebration

10 Essential Firework Safety Tips for a Safe & Fun July 4th Celebration

10 Essential Firework Safety Tips for a Safe & Fun July 4th Celebration

Fireworks are often a highlight of July 4th celebrations, adding a fun, dynamic element to many festivities. As captivating as fireworks can be, however, they can also come with some risks. In fact, at least 11 people were killed in fireworks accidents in 2014.1

Additionally, the latest findings about fireworks accidents in the U.S. indicate that, in 2014:

  • About 10,500 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries in U.S. emergency rooms.
  • Children under 15 years old comprised about 35 percent of the victims of fireworks accidents.

To minimize you and/or your children’s risk of firework accidents and injuries this year, here are some important fireworks safety tips to incorporate in this year’s festivities:

  1. Never throw fireworks at another person.
  2. When setting off fireworks, make sure you have a hose, fire extinguisher, and/or pail of water ready just in case a fire breaks out.
  3. Do not let young kids play with sparklers without the supervision of an adult.
  4. Do not let young kids use lighters/matches, play with fireworks or ignite fireworks.
  5. When lighting the fuse of fireworks, stand back. As soon as the fuse has been lit, back up a safe distance. Never bend or hunch over the firework when or after lighting the fuse.
  6. Do not pick up or try to reignite fireworks that have failed to fully ignite.
  7. Do not shoot fireworks off within containers, such as glass or metal containers.
  8. Do not transport or carry fireworks in pockets.
  9. Before throwing away spent fireworks casings, etc., be sure to douse them in water to prevent a fire.
  10. Do not set off fireworks if it is not legal to do so in your town, city or county. Check with city hall officials (or the local fire department) if you are unsure about whether it’s legal to set off fireworks in your area.

What are your plans for a safe and fun July 4th holiday weekend? Share them with us on Facebook & Google+.

Contact a Columbia SC Personal Injury Lawyer at Chappell, Smith & Arden 

If you have been injured in an accident caused by a defective firework – or any faulty or dangerous product, contact a Columbia SC personal injury lawyer at Chappell, Smith & Arden for clear answers about your rights and recovery options. Since 1993, our lawyers have been committed to protecting the rights of injured people, providing them with effective legal advocacy as we help them succeed in their financial recovery.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or contact us online to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.

From our six office locations throughout South Carolina, our attorneys provide the highest quality legal services to injured people and families in Columbia, Alken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout South Carolina.

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1: The latest year for which complete statistics are available; all data, facts and statistics discussed herein come from a report published by the Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC).

Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer: 7 Things You Need to Know

The $72 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson on behalf of the family of an ovarian cancer victim has raised numerous questions pertaining to the connection of the disease and exposure to talcum powder. Here are the answers to the seven most common questions we are receiving from clients.

  1. “How long has talcum powder been linked to ovarian cancer?”
Talcum Powder & Ovarian Cancer

Talcum Powder & Ovarian Cancer

Scientists have suspected since the 1960s that some cases of ovarian cancer have been caused by environmental exposure. This was due, in large part, to instances of ovarian cancer being two to three times more common in the industrialized world compared to developing nations.

Initially, the primary contaminant considered by researchers was asbestos. Asbestosis and mesothelioma were bursting onto the scene of the oncological community in the 50s and 60s and were thus garnering much attention. As a result, a British team at the Welsh National School of Medicine searched for asbestos crystals when it used a new microscopic examination technique to examine tissue samples of ovarian and cervical tumors in 1971. To the team’s surprise, however, no asbestos was found. But, in 75% of the tumors, particles of talc were identified. The British team recognized that “it is impossible to incriminate talc as a primary cause [of cancer] on the preliminary observations described here, … [but] further investigations are obviously required.”

The discovery of talc during the search for asbestos was not coincidental. As a paper from the National Institutes of Health observed in 1979, “mineral talc is closely related to asbestos, and the two substances are often found together in mineral deposits.” In fact, prior to 1976, asbestos could be found in talc products sold to the public. Only in that year did the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA) revise its guidelines for talc to recommend that no sample containing asbestos reach the market.

But the medical community continued to study talc’s possible connection to ovarian cancer. In 1979, the National Cancer Institute observed that “the risk of cosmetic talc has not been fully evaluated.” Citing the previous studies referenced in this article, the NCI argued “various lines of evidence make it difficult to absolve cosmetic talc as a possible carcinogen, co-carcinogen, or promoter of malignant transformation.”

The Harvard Medical School set out to answer the question in the mid-1980s. From July 1984 to September 1987, Harvard researchers conducted a controlled study of 235 women between 18-76 years of age diagnosed with borderline or malignant epithelial ovarian cancer. 114 (48.5%) of the women were found to have been exposed to talcum powder in there perineal region. This was a rate of exposure significantly higher than that of the non-cancer control group (39.3%). The study observed that exposure to talc did not appear to be the primary cause of ovarian cancer, but that “the proportion of ovarian cancer incidence attributable to this level of talc exposure is about 10%.” “Nevertheless,” Harvard emphasized, “given the poor prognosis for ovarian cancer, any potentially harmful exposures should be avoided, particularly those with limited benefits. For this reason, we discourage the use of talc in genital hygiene, particularly as a daily habit.”

The Harvard study was published in 1989—seventeen years prior to the $72 million Johnson & Johnson verdict.

  1. “What do today’s studies show?”

Scientists throughout the world have continued to study the connection of talc to ovarian cancer. In 2000, the journal Epidemiology published an article that compiled results from 12 epidemiological studies of the question at that point. Of the 12, ten studies “reported at least some elevation in cancer risk among women.”

In 2013, twenty-four doctors and researchers from a variety of centers such as Harvard, Duke, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and the University of Pittsburg collaborated on a major pooling of all known studies, resulting in an analysis of over 18,000 individuals with and without ovarian cancer. The results of this study found a 20-30% increased risk of ovarian cancer with genital-powder use. The study went on to suggest that “since there are few modifiable risk factors for ovarian cancer, avoidance of genital powders may be a possible strategy to reduce ovarian cancer incidence.”

The latest analysis was published in May of 2015. The author, an epidemiologist from the University of Texas, concluded that “talc use increased ovarian cancer risk by 30–60% in almost all well‐designed studies. The Attributable Risk was 29%, meaning that elimination of talc use could protect more than one quarter or more of women who develop ovarian cancer.”

  1. “What type of talcum powder use is associated with higher risks of ovarian cancer?”

The greatest risk of ovarian cancer arises from the direct application of talcum powder products to the exterior of the female genitalia. Use of such powder on other areas of the body has not been connected with an increase in risk of ovarian cancer.

  1. “How do the talc particles reach the ovaries?”

Somewhat surprisingly, scientific studies have shown us that otherwise immobile particles can move from the vagina to the fallopian tubes within 30 to 35 minutes. Post-surgical analyses of cancerous ovarian tumors have shown the presence of talc in the tissue, sometimes even years after a hysterectomy or tubal ligation has made that journey impossible. As a result, scientists believe that the talc has the ability to transport to the ovaries relatively quickly, while a long period of latency between the talc use and the development of cancer may result.

  1. “How is it possible to prove that talc caused ovarian cancer?”

As noted above, talc particles can be identified in ovarian tissue with the use of a microscope. After an oophorectomy or full hysterectomy, ovarian tissue is generally preserved by healthcare providers for ten years. Analyzing that tissue for the presence of talc particles establishes what lawyers refer to as “the causal chain.”

  1. “Is smoking or drinking associated with ovarian cancer?”

No. Exposure to cigarettes or alcohol has not been linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

  1. “How can I find out if exposure to talcum powder caused my ovarian cancer?”

Our law firm is investigating many cases of ovarian cancer and their possible relationship to talcum powder products. If you would like to speak to us about your personal history, please call a Columbia SC personal injury lawyer at Chappell, Smith & Arden at 1 (800) 531-9780 or email us.

Jury Links Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder to Ovarian Cancer

A St. Louis, Missouri jury’s award of $72 million to the family of an ovarian cancer victim has brought new attention to safety concerns pertaining to the use of talcum powder.

The lawsuit, brought by the family of Jackie Fox, alleged that extended use of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Power and Shower-to-Shower led to her contraction of ovarian cancer in March of 2013. Mrs. Fox succumbed to her illness approximately 18 months later. The jury awarded her family $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages. Approximately 1,200 similar lawsuits are pending throughout the United States.

The Johnson & Johnson products are comprised mainly of talcum powder. Talc, itself, contains the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. Some studies have linked the repeated use of talcum powder around the genital area for hygienic purposes with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Prior to Mrs. Fox’s lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson did not inform its consumers of that increased risk.

Jury Links Johnson & Johnson Talcum Power to Ovarian Cancer

Jury Links Johnson & Johnson Talcum Power to Ovarian Cancer

Chappell, Smith & Arden, P.A. has been investigating the connection between talcum powder and ovarian cancer since October of 2014 and currently has one lawsuit pending on the matter. There are several criteria important to considering whether a diagnosis of ovarian cancer may be linked to talcum powder products:

  • The length and consistency of use of talcum powder products;
  • Family history of ovarian or breast cancer; and
  • History of birth control use.

Our law firm is continuing to develop our current talcum powder litigation and is actively screening new cases. If you or a loved one has suffered from ovarian cancer that may have been caused by exposure to talcum powder products, contact the products liability lawyers for clear answers about your rights and options for proceeding, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.

Check Your Vehicle VIN Twice a Year for Recalls, NHTSA Urges Vehicle Owners in New Safety Campaign

Check Your Vehicle VIN Twice a Year for Recalls, NHTSA Urges Vehicle Owners in New Safety Campaign

Check Your Vehicle VIN Twice a Year for Recalls, NHTSA Urges Vehicle Owners

Check Your Vehicle VIN Twice a Year for Recalls, NHTSA Urges Vehicle Owners

Safe Cars Save Lives, officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are reminding vehicle owners as part of a new national public awareness campaign. The goal of this new campaign is to urge vehicle owners to get into the habit of checking their vehicle’s (or vehicles’) VIN number(s) at least two times per year and promptly responding to any recalls affecting their vehicle(s).

According to regulators, this effort has been motivated by findings that about 1 in every 4 vehicles impacted by recalls is never fixed. Given that roughly 51 million vehicles were the subjects of recalls in the U.S. in 2015, this means that about 12.75 million vehicles with faulty or potentially dangerous equipment never received the intended remedies or repairs.

Some of the reasons for such a high rate of noncompliance with U.S. vehicle recalls, authorities have pointed out, include (but are by no means limited to):

  • Vehicle owners not being aware of recalls – And this may occur when automakers do not have up-to-date contact information for vehicle owners (and, therefore, cannot send them recall notices).
  • Vehicle owners not prioritizing recall repairs – In some cases, vehicle owners may be aware of recalls but may intentionally put off getting the repairs done.
  • Automakers’ failures to properly carry out recalls – And this can be the result of failing to notify vehicle owners, failing to produce enough repair kits for the affected vehicles, or failing to develop effective recall remedies in the first place.

How to Check Your Vehicle for Recalls: Tips from Federal Authorities

  1. Plan to check your vehicle for recalls during Daylight Savings Time – When you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time in March and November, it’s also a good time to check your vehicle(s) for any recalls that may pertain to them. Making this habit can be an effective way to stay informed and ensure you are taking all necessary actions to keep your vehicle operating as safely as possible.
  2. Use the NHTSA’s online tool to easily check for recalls by VINThis tool allows vehicle owners to quickly find out if their vehicle is affected by any ongoing recall. Note that this tool does not contain information about recalls that were issued 15 or more years ago.

Supporting this new NHTSA safety campaign, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind has explained that:

Safe Cars Save Lives is a critical effort for building public awareness of recalls and is the first national campaign aimed at empowering vehicle owners… Boosting repair rates requires effective communication at every level and every step of the way… Success is getting a 100 percent completion rate for every single recall.

What do you think about this new national safety campaign? Have you ever experienced problems in trying to get your vehicle repaired after a recall? Share your opinions and stories with us on Facebook & Google+.

Columbia SC Personal Injury Lawyer at Chappell, Smith & Arden Attorneys at Law

If you have been injured due to defective vehicle equipment – or any dangerous consumer product, contact a Columbia SC personal injury lawyer at Chappell, Smith & Arden for clear answers about your rights and options for proceeding, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.

71,000 Britax Infant Car Seats Recalled due to Fall Hazards, NHTSA & CPSC Announce

71,000 Britax Infant Car Seats Recalled due to Fall Hazards, NHTSA & CPSC Announce

71,000 Britax Infant Car Seats Recalled due to Fall Hazards, NHTSA & CPSC Announce

Thousands of infant car seats made by Britax have recently been recalled by federal regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The problem with these recalled car seats, according to the recent recall announcement, lies in their potentially faulty handles, which can crack or break, presenting a falling hazard to infants.

The specific names of the Britax car seats that are at the center of this recall include (with the recalled model numbers following in parentheses):

  • Britax B-Safe 35 (E9LU65M, E9LU65P, E9LU63F, E9LU66R, E9LS63F, EXLU65M)
  • Britax B-Safe 35 Elite (E9LS55T, E9LS56P, E9LS55U, E9LS66C, E9LS65U)
  • Britax B-Safe 35 Travel System (S914900, S915400, S915200, S921900,
  • S01635200).

These recalled child car seats, which were reportedly made between Oct. 2014 and July 2015, have been associated with more than 70 consumer complaints, one of which involved a report of an infant suffering a head injury when the seat fell to the ground (after the handle broke).

The Britax Infant Car Seat Recall: More Important Info for Consumers

  • Where the recalled car seats were sold – According to regulators, the recalled Britax infant car seats were sold at a number of major retailers, including (but not limited to) Target, Babies R Us and Amazon.com, from November 2014 through January 2016.
  • What to do if you have a recalled Britax car seat – If you own a recalled Britax infant car seat, officials are advising that you immediately stop carrying the seat with the faulty handle until the appropriate repairs have been made. To obtain a repair kit from Britax (and remove the fall hazard associated with these car seats), click here. Officials have noted that it is still safe to use these recalled car seats, as long as they are fixed in vehicles and are not being carried by the defective handles.

Columbia SC Personal Injury Lawyer at Chappell, Smith & Arden Attorneys at Law

If your child has been injured by a dangerous car seat – or if you or someone you love has been harmed by any defective consumer product, contact a Columbia SC personal injury lawyer at Chappell, Smith & Arden for effective legal advocacy. Since 1993, our lawyers have been committed to protecting the rights of injured people and helping them succeed in their financial recovery.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or send us an email via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights and options, as well as how we can help you.

Investigation Underway into the Potential Risks & Dangers associated with Hoverboards, CPSC Announces

Investigation Underway into the Potential Risks & Dangers associated with Hoverboards, CPSC Announces

CPSC Investigates Possible Dangers of Hoverboards

CPSC Investigates Possible Dangers of Hoverboards

Hoverboard fever seems to have swept the nation, as these boards have provided a new, futuristic way for people to have fun and get around. While the hoverboard craze seems to be in full swing, however, regulators are taking a closer look at the potential risks and dangers associated with these boards.

In fact, according to officials at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), safety regulators are now “actively investigating the safety of hoverboards” made or sold by more than 10 different companies. These investigations have been triggered by “dozens” of consumer reports submitted to the CSPC regarding hoverboard fires and fall-related injuries.

Hoverboard Companies Now Under Investigation by CPSC

The specific brands of hoverboards (and associated companies) that are now the focus of an in-depth CPSC investigation are as follows:

  • Smart Balance Wheel (from One Stop Electronic Inc.)
  • Smart Balance Wheel Scooter (from Glide Boards)
  • Hover-way Hands-Free Electric (from Digital Gadgets LLC)
  • Swagway Hands-Free Smart Board (from Swagway LLC)
  • Smart Balance Board (from I Lean Hoverboards)
  • E-Rover-Mini Smart Balance Scooter (from LeCam Technology)
  • Smart Balance Wheels (from Kateeskitty)
  • iMOTO (from Keenford Limited)
  • Smart Balance Wheel (from Luxiyan and Uwheels)
  • E-Rover Smart Balance Wheel.

According to the CPSC, part of its investigations will involve engineer-supervised testing on hoverboards at the National Product Testing & Evaluation Center, based in Rockville, MD.

Commenting on the ongoing investigation, CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye has stated:

As we move forward with our investigation of the fall and fire hazards relating to hoverboards, all options remain on the table for CPSC. The federal government continues to work in close coordination on this serious issue. Officials from CPSC, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration are regularly sharing information and insights with a common goal of taking whatever steps are necessary to prevent injuries and property damage from fires and falls.

As more news about this CPSC investigation into hoverboards becomes available, we will report the latest updates to you here in a future blog. Until then, share your opinions & comments about this blog with us on Facebook & Google+.

Contact a Columbia SC Personal Injury Attorney at Chappell, Smith & Arden Attorneys at Law

If you have been injured in a defective, dangerous or toxic consumer product, contact a Columbia SC personal injury attorney at Chappell, Smith & Arden for clear answers about your rights and options for proceeding, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.

From our six office locations throughout South Carolina, our attorneys provide the highest quality legal services to injured people and families in Columbia, Alken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout South Carolina.

Top 7 Most Dangerous Toys for Children

Top 7 Most Dangerous Toys for Children

A Ranking of the Most Dangerous Toys for Children

A Ranking of the Most Dangerous Toys for Children

Toy-related injuries sent about 251,800 American children to emergency rooms last year.1 While about 42 percent of these injuries involved cuts and/or bruising, about 44 percent impacted children’s heads, increasing the risk of longer-term complications, like traumatic brain injuries.

Looking to pinpoint just which toys are most often responsible for these injuries, researchers at HealthGrove2 analyzed more than a decade of data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance Survey (NEISS). They, then, used this analysis to rank the most dangerous types of toys for children. And here’s what they found…

Most Harmful Toys for Children

According to HealthGrove, the most harmful types of toys for children include (in order of most to less dangerous):

  1. Bicycles and tricycles – Injuring an average of 416,000 children each year in the U.S., bikes and trikes most commonly result in head injuries when accidents happen.
  2. Skateboards – Causing about 67,600 children to be injured each year, skateboards tend to cause ankle injuries, such as sprains or broken ankles, when accidents take place.
  3. Trampolines – Injuring an average of 64,500 children annually, trampolines also tend to result in ankle injuries, more often than other types of injuries, when accidents occur.
  4. Fishing poles & equipment – Causing nearly 46,800 children to be injured annually, fishing equipment tends to result in finger and hand injuries when accidents happen.
  5. Rollerblades – Injuring about 41,500 children each year, rollerblades typically cause wrist injuries when accidents take place.
  6. Scooters – Causing nearly 32,900 children to seek emergency care each year, scooters most commonly result in facial and head injuries when accidents occur.
  7. Toy guns – Injuring about 20,600 children each year, toy guns also tend to cause facial and head injuries when accidents happen.

Are you surprised to see sporting equipment dominate the top “most dangerous toys” for children? Tell us what you think about this ranking on Facebook & Google+.

Contact the Columbia SC Personal Injury Lawyers at Chappell, Smith & Arden Attorneys at Law

If you or someone you love has been harmed by a toy, a consumer product or a medical device, contact the Columbia SC personal injury lawyers at Chappell, Smith & Arden for clear answers about your rights and options, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward. Since 1993, our lawyers have been committed to protecting the rights of injured people and working relentlessly to help them succeed in their financial recovery.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.

From our six office locations throughout South Carolina, our attorneys provide the highest quality legal services to injured people and families in Columbia, Alken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout South Carolina.

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1: According to the CPSC
2: HealthGrove Study

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