What Are the Risks of Talcum Powder?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Nancy J. Winkler with Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C..
Talcum powder comes from a naturally occurring mineral commonly used in baby powders, cosmetics, deodorant, and more. However, since the 1970s, talcum powder has been suspected of being a health hazard, particularly for women. Talcum powder may contain heavy metals and asbestos and has been linked to both ovarian cancer in women and mesothelioma.
Talc can cause inflammation in the ovaries, leading to cancer.
One of the biggest risks associated with talcum powder is the risk of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is a serious condition and can be fatal; in recent years, lawsuits have been filed against baby powder manufacturers that continue to use talc in their products. For example, Johnson & Johnson has been involved in litigation for years with women who allegedly suffered from using the product. A study by the University of Virginia concluded that a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer increased by 30%-40% when regularly using baby powder.
Talcum powder may be contaminated with asbestos, which can lead to mesothelioma.
Asbestos is another naturally occurring mineral that can cause cancer and other serious conditions when someone comes into contact with it. Unfortunately, some talcum powder has been found to be contaminated with asbestos, putting users of talcum powder at risk for developing mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a rare and painful lung cancer and is usually fatal. Manufacturers who use talcum powder in their products are required to check the powder for any presence of heavy metals or asbestos. Johnson & Johnson came under criticism for allegedly refusing to use the industry-standard method of checking, opting instead to use its own methods, which some experts claim to be inaccurate.
Talcum powder may also cause lung and breathing problems, particularly in infants.
Talcum powder should never be inhaled; however, seeing as it consists of a lightweight dust, it can be extremely difficult to avoid inhaling it during use. The American Academy of Pediatrics has expressed concern that talcum baby powders may inhibit proper lung function in infants. However, even adults are advised to avoid inhaling the product. Although the use of talc in products like baby powder, cosmetics, and more continues to be hotly debated, thousands of lawsuits have been filed by people who believe their health conditions were caused by unsafe talcum powder.
In fact, Johnson & Johnson alone has faced thousands of lawsuits from women who allegedly developed ovarian cancer from using the company’s talcum powder products; unfortunately, some of these women were not able to see the cases all the way through litigation before passing away. Billions of dollars in compensation have been awarded in court for health conditions linked to talcum powder, although companies that believe in the safety of talcum powder continue to fight these decisions.
If you suspect that your own or a loved one’s health condition may have been caused or exacerbated by exposure to talc, reach out to a product liability attorney to discuss your options for recovery.