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Talcum Powder Lawsuit: Baby Powder Allegedly linked to ovarian cancer

spilled talcum powder

Long term use of johnson's baby powder may contribute to increased risk of ovarian cancer

Johnson and Johnson’s® Baby Powder is one of the most popular products containing talcum powder, may increase the risk of ovarian cancer when used for feminine hygiene. Recent court cases have shined a spotlight on the possible link between women's regular use of talcum powder on their genitals and an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.

In February 2016, a jury determined that the family of a 62-year-old Alabama woman, who died from ovarian cancer in 2015 after decades of using talcum powder for feminine hygiene, was entitled to $72 million in damages from Johnson & Johnson®. The company did not inform customers of the potential dangers of its powders despite being aware of the possible health risks.

Talcum powder is widely used in cosmetic products, such as:

Johnson’s Baby Powder
Shower to Shower
Baby Magic Baby Powder

The powder — made from talc, a mineral that consists of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen — is used to absorb moisture and cut down on friction. Some talc contains asbestos, a substance that has been linked to cancers in and around the lungs when inhaled, according to the American Cancer Society.

Talcum powder has long been a personal-hygiene and cosmetic staple around the world. It is commonly seen in babies’ television commercials and in women’s cosmetics bags for various hygiene needs.

However, caution is warranted. According to the American Cancer Society, some scientists believe that prolonged use of talcum products can cause cancer in the ovaries when minute particles migrate through the vagina and fallopian tubes into the ovaries. Prolonged use of talc products in this manner has been associated with inflammation in the ovarian tissues, which is thought to contribute to tumor formation.

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Has Talcum powder Been linked to ovarian cancer?

The central issue in the recent run of talc trials is whether talcum powder and baby powder cause ovarian cancer.

The reason for the purported link between talc and ovarian cancer is that talcum powder and baby powder manufacturers, such as Johnson & Johnson (which dominates the market for these products), have long promoted the products as safe and effective for feminine hygiene. The suits against Johnson & Johnson allege that, because the products have been marketed in this way for so long, many women have used them in this manner for decades. The suits allege that, over such an extended time, particles of talc can enter the vagina, travel through the fallopian tubes, and settle in the ovaries, where they can cause complications that can lead to ovarian cancer.

Suspicions that talcum powder might cause ovarian cancer has led manufacturers of condoms to discontinue its usage as an adhesion-preventative in their products.

Talc Fact:
According to the American Cancer Society, the evidence that talc can cause ovarian cancer is ambiguous. Some studies suggest that talc does cause cancer, and other studies suggest that it does not

Lab studies, in which animals such as mice and rats have been exposed to airborne talc, have yielded mixed results. Some lab animals have developed cancerous tumors, and others have not. The tests have not yet been able to determine why the effects of talc have been so varied.

But lab studies are not the only way to test for the potential links between talc and cancer. Useful results may also be found by studying the cancer rates in groups of people who have had different rates of talc exposure. Such studies are less carefully controlled than lab tests, but can still yield compelling results.

In studies that survey the rates of cancer exposure in different groups of people, results have also been varied. Some studies suggest that an increased exposure to talc correlates with an increased rate of ovarian cancer; other suggest no link.

Studies that compare the rates of talc exposure in miners have yielded similarly inconclusive results. In some cases, miners with greater exposure to airborne talc have shown greater risks of lung cancer. In other cases, they have not.

The official position of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is that the use of talcum powder or baby powder on the female genital area is “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

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Expert opinions conclude significant link between Talcum powder & Ovarian Cancer

Some medical experts are unequivocal in their opinions that talc can cause ovarian cancer.

An example of such an expert is Daniel Cramer, M.D., a doctor and medical researcher at Harvard University. Dr. Cramer has repeatedly stated that, since numerous tissue samples from cancer-stricken ovaries have revealed the presence of talc particles, talc particles are likely to play a significant role in causing the disease.

The linkage between talc and ovarian cancer is nothing new. Some 20 years ago, the head of the Cancer Prevention Coalition pleaded with the CEO of Johnson & Johnson to warn women of the risks related to prolonged talcum powder usage. The company refused to do so.

The lawyers at have been trying and studying talcum powder cases for years. After careful examination of mountains of evidence and case files, we believe that the best scientific evidence does in fact suggest that talc causes ovarian cancer. Period.

We further believe that talc should be removed from feminine hygiene products, and that consumers should be warned of the links between talc and cancer. believe that Johnson & Johnson has no right whatsoever to make irresponsible decisions that stand to destroy the lives of women and their families.

What is talc?

raw talcum powder

Talc is a naturally occurring mineral that is made up of magnesium and silicon, along with some hydrogen and oxygen. It is the primary component of soapstone, and is responsible for that rock’s somewhat slippery feeling. Talc is a soft mineral – so soft that a fingernail can scratch it – and it can be pulverized easily.

Talc has a number of applications in health and industry. It is the main ingredient in the chalk that welders use to mark their metals. In powdered form, it is used to coat the insides of rubber gloves and inner tubes to prevent the surfaces from sticking together. Basketball players and boxers use it to keep their hands dry.

Most people know talc because it is the active ingredient in talcum powder and baby powder. In those products, talc acts to wick away moisture from the skin, thus preventing chafing and diaper rash.

What are the hazards of talc?

For more than a hundred years, baby powder and talcum powder – much of it manufactured by Johnson & Johnson – was regarded as a safe, gentle way to reduce itchiness and diaper rash. It’s only been in the last decade or so that medical and pediatric advisory boards have started suggesting that, because the particulate matter in talcum powder and baby powder can be so easily inhaled, caregivers should stop using it on infants.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) specifically recommends that caregivers not use baby powder or talcum powder on babies. The AAP’s warning was not issued because of a specific cancer threat, but because any foreign matter inhaled into the lungs could pose hazards, especially in infants. When talc is contained in an ointment, thus eliminating the chance of its particles being inhaled, it is safe and effective, even for babies.

Even today, talc is a key component of many cosmetic products. But it is “neutralized,” in most cases, by the fact that it is part of a compound that prevents it from being released as an airborne particulate.

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Why would a company lie about its products’ health risks?

One word: profit.
Your health doesn’t matter to Big Pharma. Large pharmaceutical companies like Johnson & Johnson are only interested in the bottom line. Numerous court cases and clinical trials suggest that the company was aware of the health risks surrounding the prolonged exposure to talc-based products. But they never mentioned it, because that might have cut into their profits. cancer ribbon Now, due in part to the negligence of Johnson & Johnson, ovarian cancer has claimed the lives of countless women.

Conclusion: More results and more trials are needed

No “smoking gun” that links talc to cancer has yet been identified, but some studies do suggest a talc-cancer link. It is clear that more studies are required in this area.

However, the purported link between talc and cancer is not the only reason that Johnson & Johnson has been taken to court several times over its talcum powder products. The lawsuits against the company allege that, if the company had even an inkling that the active ingredient in its “safe” products could cause cancer, it had a legal and ethical obligation to inform consumers of that fact. The suits allege that for the company to continue marketing several potentially hazardous products as “safe” and “gentle” is a form of fraud and deceit.

In other words, Johnson & Johnson, in its talc trials, is not on trial solely for medical reasons, but for reasons involving potentially deceitful business practices, and wrongful and/or illegal conduct that enabled them to turn profits in an illegal manner.

For this reason, the series of talc trials is of enormous importance. They stand not only to deliver compensation to those who have suffered, but to change the potentially unethical business practices of a corporation.

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Talc Fact:
Talc has been used by people as far back as ancient Egypt
Talcum Powder Timeline Infographic
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Related Articles On: Baby Powder

Talcum Powder Trial #1 
Date:February 2016
St. Louis, MO
Ruling: Johnson & Johnson: GUILTY
Amount: $72 million 

Talcum Powder Trial #2 Date May 2016
St. Louis, MO
Ruling: Johnson & Johnson: GUILTY
Amount: $55 million 

Talcum Powder Trial #3 
Date October 2016
St. Louis, MO
Ruling: Johnson & Johnson: GUILTY
Amount: $70 million 

Talcum Powder Trial #4 
Date March 2017
St. Louis, MO
Ruling: Johnson & Johnson: NOT GUILTY 

Talcum Powder Trial #5 
Date May 2017
St. Louis, MO
Ruling: Johnson & Johnson: GUILTY
Amount:$110 million 

Talcum Powder Trial #6 
Date:August 2017
Los Angeles, CA
Ruling: Johnson & Johnson: GUILTY
Amount: $417 million

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