talcum powder

Talcum Powder Lawsuit - Why Are Lawsuits Being Filed?

Thousands of consumers have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and other manufacturers claiming that a longtime use of their baby power products resulted in them developing ovarian cancer. The first talcum powder lawsuit in California resulted in a $417 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson in August of 2017. People are also filing lawsuits against the talc manufacturers alleging that asbestos, a known carcinogen, is intermingled with mineral talc, which is a primary ingredient in Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products. Juries have found companies knew or should have known about talc’s risks. But companies did little or nothing to warn consumers about the dangers of their products.

What is Talcum Powder?

Talcum powder is made from talc, a mineral made up mainly of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. Talc is a naturally occurring clay mineral found in large deposits around the world. When crushed into powder, talc is odorless, reduces friction and is absorbent, making it ideal for use in controlling bodily moisture and smells in particular when used on sanitary napkins, diaphragms or condoms. Talcum powder can be found in many baby powders, foot powders, medicated powders, cosmetics and intimate hygiene products.

Some talc contains asbestos, although talc products sold in the U.S. have supposedly been asbestos-free since the 1970s. However, cosmetic products and ingredients do not have to undergo FDA review or approval before they go to market, with the exception of color additives. Talcum powder and other cosmetic products must be properly labeled and must be safe for use by consumers under labeled or customary conditions of use or it is a danger to humans. The FDA monitors potential safety problems with cosmetic products and can take action if sound scientific evidence shows a product is harmful under its intended use. While no federal regulations exist, the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (now known as the Personal Care Products Council) in 1976 asked its members to use asbestos-fee talc in their products. Although cosmetic grade talc is refined to remove impurities, there is no direct government oversight to ensure that happens. The cosmetic industry essentially polices itself.

Does Talcum Powder Cause Cancer? How?

A1999 study by the National Cancer Institute included a test group of 563 women with a history of talc use that were diagnosed with ovarian cancer between 1992 and 1997 and compared them to a control group of 523 disease-free women. The study found that the women who regularly applied talcum powder to their genital areas were at an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer by 60 percent. The research team concluded that the “avoidance of talc in genital hygiene might reduce the occurrence of a highly lethal form of cancer [ovarian] by at least 10 percent.” One theory is that the talcum powder, when applied in the genital area, travels through the vagina, uterus and fallopian tubes to the ovary. Another theory is that talcum powder products are contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen. In nature, talc mines are often located near asbestos deposits. As a result, raw talc may often be laced with asbestos.

Johnson & Johnson, a major talcum powder manufacturer, is aware of research that shows the potential increased risk of ovarian cancer with its over-the-counter products, such as their Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder. However, the company has referred to research into the matter as inconclusive and does not include an ovarian cancer warning on its talcum powder products.

Johnson & Johnson is not the only talc product manufacturer being sued over ovarian cancer claims, although most include the company because its products have dominated the market the longest. Some lawsuits mention talc makers including Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which now owns the Shower to Shower brand (owned by Johnson & Johnson until 2012). Other lawsuits mention Gold Bond's talcum powder, manufactured by Chattem Inc., a Sanofi company.

How Can We Help?

Bowersox Law Firm, P.C. is currently accepting talcum powder induced injury cases. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you should contact our law firm immediately for a free case consultation.


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