Group photo of attorneys

Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

Talcum powder has been used for decades to help reduce moisture. However, this seemingly innocent use has been studied for years and recent studies have confirmed – which was previously known to talcum powder manufacturers but concealed – that there is a connection between talcum powder and ovarian cancer.

There is a causal connection been women who have used talc for feminine hygiene and later developed ovarian cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that approximately 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancers each year in the U.S. alone.

Recent research has made a connection with the use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Many lawsuits are pending against the manufacturers of talcum powder for causing ovarian cancer resulting in jury verdicts of millions of dollars in damages.

What is Talc?

Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer Talc - a mineral extracted from Clay 1

Talc is a naturally occurring mineral found in clay and extracted from the soil. It’s use comes from the fact that it is the softest mineral found on earth. Talc is produced naturally and consists of a combination of magnesium, silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen. Because of its softness, it is used in many consumer products such as cosmetics, personal care products, chewing gum and in the manufacture of tablets.

What is Talcum Powder?

Talcum powder is made from talc and it is popular because it absorbs moisture and eases friction (and rashes). Talc has a natural tendency to absorb moisture which is why it is used in such varied uses as baby products and blush cosmetics. It prevents caking in cosmetics and improves the feel of products.

Does Talcum Powder Cause Cancer?

This subject has been the subject of a great deal of research. The evident that talcum powder causes cancer is inconclusive, but in its natural state talc can contain asbestos, which does cause cancer. The issue has gotten more attention recently because of recent lawsuits which assessed damages against manufacturers of talcum powder for causing cancer.

A St. Louis jury in 2016 saw an internal Johnson & Johnson (which is a huge maker of talcum powder) memo from 1997 which discussed a connection between talcum powder use and ovation cancer. The memo discussed the “negative publicity from the healthy community on talc” and “anybody who denies (the risks” between “hygienic” talc use and ovarian cancer would be viewed as similar to those who denied the link between cigarettes and cancer (“Denying the obvious in the face of all evident to the contrary”).

Over the past two years, juries have awarded over $1 billion in verdicts against Johnson & Johnson for personal loses as well as punitive damages. And in July, 2018, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $4.69 billion to 22 women and their families who had claimed that asbestos in the company’s talcum powder products caused them to develop ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson spent 40 years covering up evidence of asbestos in some of its talcum-based products and failed to add warnings to the talc products or failed to use other sources of powder made with cornstarch. Although medical scientists disagree on whether talc causes cancer in people, juries who hear the evidence find a strong connection and have award verdicts punishing the manufacturer for failing to warn consumers.

If you or a loved one has developed ovarian cancer, you should consult with attorneys experienced in products liability suits. The experienced product liability attorneys at Bellas & Wachowski have helped protect consumers from dangerous products from SUV rollovers to polluted dog food.