Just a few decades ago, talcum powder was very commonly used. Parents used it on their babies to keep them dry and free of rashes, and adults used it for various reasons such as protecting skin and as a base for makeup. In 1994, however, warning signs started to emerge that talcum powder was potentially harmful and the major manufacturer, Johnsons and Johnson, was urged to remove talc based products or at the very least notify customers of the potential dangers. Their refusal and subsequent scientific studies potentially linking certain talcum powders to the development of various cancers have now resulted in a potentially enormous lawsuit. 

This article will explain the history of the situation and what you can do if you have been affected.

Where did the Link Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer Come From?

The most important thing to note is that it is not being suggested that all talcum powders are inherently dangerous. Many talcum powders these days use no talc at all and undergo various quality control measures. The ovarian cancer link specifically refers to talcum powder made from talc, and specifically those products made by Johnson and Johnson.

Back in 1994, the CPC (Cancer Prevention Coalition) wrote to Johnson & Johnson in writing and told them they needed to remove all of their talc products for fear that they were causing cancer. Failing that, the CPC urged Johnson and Johnsons to at least put a warning to consumers on their labels about the potential risk of them developing ovarian cancer. Not only did the company refuse to call back their products, they refused to even add the warnings. As a result, many women developed ovarian cancer which began a huge talcum powder cancer lawsuit against Johnson and Johnson. From the outset, the scope of the lawsuit was enormous, and the company were left scrambling for a defense.

What Happened Next?

Then, in 2018, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) started to test certain products and cosmetics to check for asbestos. One year later, the FDA put out a warning to consumers that the tests done on products had identified the presence of asbestos in Johnson’s Baby Powder. This led to an EU ban on all talc-products and forced Johnson and Johnson to recall their baby powder and to reformulate their products. The presence of asbestos is probably due to the fact that asbestos and talc are naturally occuring minerals which often form next to each other. During the process of mining for talc, it is possible for the talc to become contaminated so the asbestos ends up in the products.

What was the Result of the FDA’s Findings?

Following a huge number of expensive compensation payouts and enormous public pressure, in May of 2020, Johnson & Johnson finally announced that it was stopping all sales of talc-based baby powder in North America. While the company still maintains that their talc-based powder is not harmful to consumers, the discontinuation seems to be an acceptance of the contrary.

Johnson and Johnson have already been ordered to pay out billions of dollars to women who blamed the company for their cancer. The court battles have been ongoing since 2013 with over 20,000 women and their families filing against the company. In just one settlement last year, Johnson and Johnson paid out over $2 Billion at the order of a Missouri court, and their troubles appear to be far from over. It is so important that anyone who used Johnson and Johnson talcum products and has since developed cancer contact a specialist lawyer immediately to see if there may be a link and if they are eligible to join the lawsuit.

What is the Evidence that Talcum Powder Causes Ovarian Cancer?

The allegations against Johnson and Johnson’s talcum powder is that, according to The National Center for Health Research, thorough research has found that women who applied talcum powder to their genital area were 30% more likely to develop epithelial ovarian cancer. Epithelial ovarian cancer is cancer in the cells of the tissue which covers the ovaries and it is the most commonly occurring type of ovarian cancer. While Johnson and Johnson disputes the link, the scientific community as well as the courts vehemently disagree with the company, and as a result the payouts have been appropriately substantial.

The ongoing Johnson and Johnson talcum powder lawsuit is already one of the highest profile class action lawsuits of all time which just goes to show how many people have been affected. It is so important that companies learn from this and ensure that their products are safe and that their customers are always honestly informed. If you feel like your health may have been affected by using talcum powder in previous years, contact a specialized lawyer immediately to see what course of action you can take.

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