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Microscopy Expert Aids in Suit Against Baby Powder Company

Cody Porcoro

Written by
— Updated on December 21, 2017

This case against a multinational producer of talc powder products involved a woman who contracted a cancerous tumor with no mutations in her tumor-suppressing genes and four year history of baby powder use. Though her genetic makeup should have prevented the growth of poorly differentiated Mullerian serous adenocarcinoma in her left fallopian tube, right ovary, omentum, and large bowel, she suffered both primary and malignant growths stemming from her reproductive tissue. She proceeded to file suit against the baby powder manufacturing company, alleging that their products had severely debilitated her genetic capacity to fight cancerous tumors. A microscopist experienced in non-destructive examination of ovarian and fallopian tube tissue was asked to determine whether any talc particles were present in the woman’s system, and use energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy to confirm any findings.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Have you reviewed cases similar to this?
  • 2. Are you able to perform the tests specified in the case summary?

Expert Witness Response E-053346

I have been the Director of an internationally acclaimed electron microscopy shared resource center for 40 years, and have been doing research in this field for over fifty years. I can definitely perform the tests specified in the case summary. Just to clarify terminology, the mention of “poorly differentiated Mullerian serous adenocarcinoma” is not the typical term that cases linking talc and cancer tend to use. I understand that Mullerian designates a cell type of origin, and that depending on the cancer, Mullerian may have components of different types of cancer – for example, sarcoma. However, I’m uncertain whether the talc literature equates these two terms with respect to direct causation by talc. While I’m more an expert in microscopy and analysis than pathology, I asked for the assistance of a professional pathologist to clarify and he was unsure about the legal similarity or equivalence of these two terms. I would be able to conduct the research for this case, but in my professional opinion there may need to be greater pathological analysis on the facts of this case.

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