The lawsuit involving talcum powder states the manufacturers failed to warn users of the increased risk of ovarian cancer caused by using talc-based products for personal hygiene use.
Why Are Talcum Powder Lawsuits Being Filed
Plaintiffs attorneys claim the manufacturers of talcum powder have known for more than 40 years there is a link between using the product near the genital area and ovarian cancer. However, these companies intentionally made the decision not to warn women that the powder could cause cancer by entering the vagina after being applied to the genital area or on sanitary napkins or condoms.
The main talc products used for personal hygiene are: Johnson’s Baby Powder by Johnson & Johnson; Shower to Shower by Valeant Pharmaceuticals; and Baby Magic Baby Powder
Talcum powder is a fibrous, white powder made by heavily refined hydrated magnesium silicate that is widely used as a lubricant and to absorb moisture. It's the main ingredient of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder as well as the adult version of similar personal hygiene products.
As a cosmetic, it’s mostly appreciated for its ability to absorb bad smells and keep the skin dry when sprinkled on underwear, shoes and after changing infant diapers. As a lubricant, it’s often found in condoms and diaphragms to reduce friction as well as in many medical powders.
Talcum can be used by direct application on the skin, dusted or sprinkled over underwear, diapers and sanitary pads.
Talcum Powder Injuries & Side Effects
The most serious potential side effect from the use of talcum powder by women is ovarian cancer, caused by the powder entering the ovaries through the vagina.
According to the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer, frequent talcum powder use on the female genital area increases the risk of ovarian cancer between 30–60%. The more often a woman uses it, the more likely she will experience ovarian cancer.
Although the exact mechanism through which talcum powder causes cancer is still unknown, one theory involves chronic inflammation of the genital area, as talc particles rise through the uterus, up to the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Other than direct contact with the mucous membrane, the powder may also suppress some antibodies that usually protect against cancer, increasing its risk.
Talcum powder has been associated with respiratory issues, especially in infants. This is caused by the powder becoming airborne during normal application. When inhaled by infants, the powder can cause wheezing, fast and shallow breathing, coughing and in some cases acute or chronic lung irritation. Long-term exposure can cause pneumonia and asthma symptoms.
Prior to the 1970s, some talcum products contained asbestos, a naturally-occurring mineral and known carcinogen. Although talcum products have been asbestos free since that time, researchers noted talcum's chemical similarity to asbestos. Like asbestos, talc is a silicate mineral, having a crystalline structure. When ingested, these minerals have been known to cause irritation, leading to the chronic inflammation that can lead to the formation of cancerous tumors.
Talcum Powder Injury Videos
Talcum Powder Lawsuit News
A jury awarded a Californian woman more than $70 million dollars in Johnson & Johnson’s third straight legal loss over claims that its talcum powder is linked to ovarian cancer. There are currently over 1,700 lawsuits being brought against the pharmaceutical giant and the last three verdicts present a foreboding picture to come for Johnson & Johnson. To read more, click National Law JournalJohnson & Johnson slammed again in a talcum powder lawsuit:
A jury in St. Louis has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $55 million to a South Dakota woman who claimed the company's talcum powder caused her to develop ovarian cancer. To read more, click CBS News
Dr. Daniel Cramer, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School and director of the OB/GYN Epidemiology Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, conducted one of the earliest studies to suggest a link between genital talc use in women and cancer of the ovaries. That research was published in 1982. . . . In his opinion, there is strong evidence from about two-dozen epidemiological studies for a significant association between genital talc use and ovarian cancer, Cramer told Live Science. These studies have found that regular talc use may increase a woman's overall risk of ovarian cancer by about 30 percent, Cramer said. To read more, click Live ScienceWhat You Need To Know About The Claim Linking Baby Powder To Ovarian Cancer:
The few studies that exist are contradictory. In some lab studies, scientists exposed asbestos-free talc to animals, which resulted in an increase in tumor formation in the animal. But other studies have not seen the same result, according to the American Cancer Society. To read more, click Huffington PostCourt Orders Johnson & Johnson to Pay $72M in Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Case?:
Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a Missouri state jury to pay $72 million of damages to the family of a woman whose death from ovarian cancer was linked to her use of the company's talc-based Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for several decades. In a verdict announced late Monday night, jurors in the circuit court of St. Louis awarded the family of Jacqueline Fox $10 million of actual damages and $62 million of punitive damages, according to the family's lawyers and court records. To read more, click NBC NewsAfter Win Against Johnson & Johnson in Talcum Powder Lawsuit, Son Honors His Late Mother:
A jury has awarded the family of a Missouri woman $72 million in a civil suit -- a court battle carried on by Marvin Salter on behalf of his late mother. On Monday, a St. Louis jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for Jackie Fox's ovarian cancer, which she claimed in the lawsuit was the result of using the company's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower powder, both of which contained talcum powder, according to court documents. To read more, click ABC NewsJ&J's talcum powder goes on trial in ovarian cancer lawsuits:
The family of a woman who died last year of ovarian cancer is accusing Johnson & Johnson that it knew decades ago that talcum powder was linked to the condition. When the trial began on February 2, the plaintiff's attorney told jurors that J&J's internal documents will indicate that it knew of studies connecting talc use and ovarian cancer but continued to market the product. For its part, J&J says the woman's family cannot prove that talc caused her cancer, as she had several other risk factors, and it said a warning label would not have prevented her from using talc. The woman's family says that talc was a "contributing factor" to her cancer, and they will present as evidence research from 1982 which found that women who used genital talc had a 92% increase in ovarian cancer risk. While J&J notes that FDA found no link between talc and ovarian cancer in the mid-1990s, the American Cancer Society recommended in 1999 that women use cornstarch-based products for the genital area. To read more, click American Pharmacists Association“Why aren’t they warning women about it?” The toxic danger in your baby powder:
Deane Berg’s doctor called her in the day after Christmas, 2006, to give her the crushing news. She’d had her ovaries removed, the pathology results were back, and they could not have been much worse. Berg had stage III ovarian cancer, and her prognosis was poor. Despite her 25 years as a physician’s assistant, Berg, then 49, knew next to nothing about ovarian cancer. Grappling with the “why me?” question, she studied the risk factors, finding just one that could apply: regular use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene. To read more, click Salon
For additional news stories, click Levin Law Talcum Powder News
FDA and Scientific Studies Regarding Talcum Powder
Does Talc Exposure Cause Ovarian Cancer?Talc use increased ovarian cancer risk by 30–60% in almost all well‐designed studies. The Attributable Risk was 29%, meaning that elimination of talc use could protect more than one quarter or more of women who develop ovarian cancer. Well‐designed studies that considered dose‐response by both duration and frequency all found higher risk among women exposed to more applications. To read more, click International Journal of Gynecological Cancer
Talc Use and Ovarian Cancer: Epidemiology Between a Rock and a Hard PlaceThe biological basis of possible talc carcinogenicity is not understood. Direct physical contact of talc with ovarian epithelium may cause chronic inflammation; some studies have suggested retrograde transport of talc particles through the reproductive tract. A mechanism that would not require direct contact of talc with the tissue at risk is reduction of anti-MUC1 antibodies, which are associated with lower risk of ovarian cancer. To read more, click Journal of the National Cancer Institute
Perineal talc use and ovarian cancer: a critical reviewTalc, like asbestos, is a silicate that has been studied in relation to cancer risk. Several studies conducted over the past 25 years found an association between perineal talc powders and ovarian cancer. The summary relative risk is about 1.3 (95% confidence intervals 1.2-1.5) and these data have been interpreted as supporting a causal role. To read more, click European Journal for Cancer Prevention
Talcum Powder Recall Information
As of this time, there has not been a recall of any of the talc-based products as a result of ovarian cancer. However, it should be understood that talcum powder is not a product regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The manufacturers regulate themselves for talcum powder.
There are scientific studies (provided in above) showing that women who use talcum powder on their genitalia once per week face up to a 30-60% increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Additionally, in 2006 the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified genital talcum powder use as possibly carcinogenic to humans. Similarly, in 1999 the American Cancer Society recommended women use cornstarch-based products, and not talc-based products, for the genital area.
Talcum Powder Settlement Information
As of this time, there have been no large group settlements involving talcum powder and the potential link to ovarian cancer. Litigation likes this takes many years to resolve, with teams of lawyers spending millions of dollars trying to determine exactly what occurred, and how it could have been prevented.
Generally, large groups of settlements do not occur until such time as a few cases are tried before a jury, and the manufacturer is able to more thoroughly understand its financial risk. Hopefully, group settlements will be coming soon as the first three trials against Johnson & Johnson have all resulted in very large million dollar verdicts.