Product Liability

Does Talcum Powder Cause Cancer?

June 25, 2019

The product has become a hot topic in the last few years with the mounting litigation against several prominent manufacturers over alleged health risks and links to cancer.

What is talcum powder?

Talcum powder is made from the mineral talc, composed primarily of oxygen, silicon, and magnesium. Because of its moisture-absorbing qualities, talcum powder is widely used for hygienic purposes to deodorize or help prevent rashes.

The product has become a hot topic in the last few years with the mounting litigation against several prominent manufacturers over alleged health risks and links to cancer. The two areas of focus regarding the possible link between talcum powder and cancer are:

       1. Whether regular use of talcum powder increases women’s risk of ovarian cancer

       2. Whether talcum powder contains asbestos and if exposure to talc particles increases one’s risk of lung cancer (mesothelioma)

Does regular use of talcum powder increase the risk of ovarian cancer in women?

Recent reports have linked the use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene with ovarian cancer. The risk is associated with talc particles traveling through the cervix and settling in the ovaries. Talcum powder that settles in the ovaries can cause irritation, and repeated irritation may cause inflammation, which can lead to the development of cancer in those cells.

The FDA has not required the talcum powder industry to label talc products with a specific warning, so people remain widely uninformed of the potential dangers of this substance. Though findings from other studies have been mixed, The International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization classifies use of talc-based body powder around the genitalia as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

The matter became so concerning that the nation of Qatar moved to ban Johnson & Johnson's baby powder from grocery store shelves in March of 2016 as they examined the link between the product and ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson is facing more than 14,000 lawsuits alleging links between its products and cancer.

Does talcum powder contain asbestos?

In its natural form, some talc contains asbestos, a known carcinogen if inhaled.[i] In 1976, the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrances Association (CTFA) issued guidelines for talc used in cosmetic products in the United States, stating it should be free from detectable amounts of asbestos.[ii]

Despite the CTFA’s guidelines, though, information was revealed in December of 2018 that alleged Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that their products contained traces of asbestos. The report, issued by Reuters, was based on thousands of pages of company memos and internal reports and documents. There was also evidence that Johnson& Johnson allegedly attempted to cover up information about this risk. The government of Sri Lanka recently halted its imports of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder products because of these concerns.

[i] https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/talcum-powder-and-cancer.html

[ii] Ibid.

Get compensated for your injuries

If you or a loved one has used talcum powder regularly and developed cancer, you may be entitled to compensation without ever going to court. Click here or call our legal intake center 24/7 at 888-438-6453 for a free review of your case.

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