Talcum powder, which is made from heavily refined hydrated magnesium silicate and known to be carcinogenic, is a main ingredient in many common household items and cosmetics that have been marketed as safe to use for personal hygiene. Common talc products include Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, Shower to Shower by Valeant Pharmaceuticals, and Baby Magic Baby Powder. For years, these talc-based products have been marketed as a safe and effective way to absorb moisture and odors when sprinkled on underwear or diapers. Talcum powder is even used in some products, such as condoms and diaphragms, as a lubricant.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer first classified genital talcum powder use as possibly carcinogenic to humans in 2006 – more than 10 years ago. Even earlier – in 1999 – the American Cancer Society recommended women use cornstarch-based products, rather than talcum powder, for application to the genital area. Since then, studies published in several medical journals, including Cancer Prevention Research and the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer, have found that frequent use of talcum powder may increase a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer by between 20% – 60%. According to these studies, when talcum powder is applied to the female groin area carcinogenic talc fibers often migrate into the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, where they can remain inside the body for years causing inflammation and ultimately ovarian and other types of cancer.
Talcum powder is also known to cause serious respiratory conditions especially in infants. When inhaled, talcum 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. Accordingly, the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages use of talcum powder as a diaper rash preventative due to the risks of cancer and respiratory conditions.
Recent successful lawsuits have alleged that for decades Johnson & Johnson knew of the link between use of talcum powder near the genital area and ovarian cancer, but purposefully failed to inform consumers of these risks. Several women who claim that they developed ovarian cancer as a result of using Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products have obtained jury verdicts ranging from $55 million to more than $70 million.
Despite all of the evidence linking talcum powder to ovarian cancer, there have not been any recalls of talc-based products.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using Talcum powder, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at Canepa, Riedy, Abele, & Fischer are currently investigating lawsuits on behalf of women who may have been injured by use of talc-based products. To learn more about your legal options, please contact us for a free consultation.