Talc and Ovarian Cancer: What You Should Know
When you think of talcum (talc) powder, you don’t necessarily think of a carcinogen. Talc powder is usually used to absorb moisture and prevent friction, and it can come in many forms, from baby powder to foot powders to anti-itch powders. Women also frequently use talc-based powders to freshen up and/or reduce chafing between the thighs. While these common products seem innocuous, scientists have discovered a connection between talc powder containing asbestos and cancer, particularly for women.
According to the National Center for Health Research (linked above), “based on dozens of studies involving thousands of women,
women who have used talcum powder are about 30% more likely to develop ovarian cancer than women who have not.”
So what IS talc? Talc is a mineral made up of magnesium, oxygen, and silicon. It is mined, and in its natural form, some talc contains asbestos. While the CFTA (Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrances Association) issued voluntary guidelines stating that all cosmetics should be free of detectable levels of asbestos in 1976, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) does not have to review or approve the ingredients of cosmetics.
This means that asbestos–a known carcinogen–could remain in use in talc powders and other cosmetic products such as makeup (blush and eye shadows commonly contain talc). The FDA did, however, issue a Safety Alert on March 12, 2019 regarding talc and asbestos warning customers to discontinue usage of talc products known to contain asbestos, and their investigation is ongoing.
There have been numerous cases recently against corporations that produce talc-based products:
- A California woman who used Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder for feminine hygiene and developed terminal ovarian cancer was awarded $417 million. This was the first case of hundreds in California that allege that Johnson and Johnson neglected to warn consumers regarding safety issues with their product.
- In July of 2018, a St. Louis, Missouri jury awarded “$550 million in actual damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages in a lawsuit against Johnson and Johnson over claims that its talcum powder caused ovarian cancer in women who used the company’s products for years.”
While Johnson and Johnson maintains that the levels of talc in their product are not enough to cause cancer, the courts have repeatedly decided otherwise and will continue to do so.
If you or a loved one have been affected by ovarian cancer and have used a talc-based product, please reach out to us immediately. You can call or text 404-800-6863 any time. Our dedicated and seasoned personal injury lawyers can help you sort through your right to restitution during this difficult time.