Talcum powder safety is a hot issue today as civil products liability lawsuits are brought by plaintiffs who say their ovarian cancer was caused by genital use of talcum powder. The plaintiffs in all of these cases said they used talcum powder, particularly Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, for decades for feminine hygiene purposes. So far, four cases in St. Louis have resulted in large multi-million-dollar verdicts in favor of plaintiffs, totaling $307 million. In these cases, the juries not only validated the women’s claims, but they also chose to impose heavy penalties on Johnson & Johnson and talc miner, Imerys Talc America. The side effects of a once common house hold product are scary and if you have been injured as a result of using talcum powder, be sure to consult with a talcum powder lawyer to assess your case.
What Is Talc?
Talc is a naturally occurring mineral containing magnesium and silicon. Due to its softness and its ability to absorb moisture, talc is used in cosmetic products. Talc is often mined in close proximity to asbestos, which is a known carcinogen. Many women use talcum powder on their inner thighs to stay fresh to avoid chafing while others sprinkle it in their genital area, underwear or sanitary pads to stay “fresh and dry.” In fact, J&J marketed its talcum powder with the catchy jingle: “A sprinkle a day helps keep the odor away.”
What Do the Studies Say?
While J&J and Imerys have maintained that their products are safe for consumer use, plaintiffs’ attorneys point to a series of studies over several decades, which have suggested a link between talc and cancer. The research dates back to 1971, when scientists in Wales found particles of talc embedded in ovarian and cervical tumors. Since that time a number of studies have linked genital talc use to ovarian cancer, including a report that said genital use of the powder is linked with a 44 percent increased risk of invasive epithelial ovarian cancer in African American women. In addition, the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2006 classified talcum powder as a possible human carcinogen if used in the female genital area.
What Should Consumers Do?
These conflicting arguments raise a number of questions in the minds of consumers. Is talc really safe? Should talcum powder be used for feminine hygiene? Doctors say this can be a confusing question with even more confusing answers. That’s because there is no way to know for sure if talc causes disease. J&J’s talc supplier added warning labels in 2006. However, J&J did not add similar warnings. In a recent New York Times article on the subject, Dr. Anne McTiernan, an epidemiologist with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, says talcum powder is not really necessary for health or hygiene. So, if there is a doubt, she asks, why should anyone use it?
Contact Us Today
If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talcum powder, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering, among other losses. The personal injury law firm of d’Oliveira & Associates works with experienced and knowledgeable talcum powder lawyers, who charge no legal fees unless you receive a settlement or award. Call us toll-free at 1-800-992-6878 for a free, no-obligation legal evaluation.