It can be scary to think that products that have long been considered safe for use can actually be causing us harm over time.
Relatively “safe” products may cause cancer if used enough over time. This is the case with many different products, like some baby powders.
Major court verdicts are linking Johnson & Johnson’s talc baby powder to allegedly causing ovarian cancer in women.
Particles of baby powder may also get into the lungs, which also may cause cancer over time.
But is it just baby powder, or are other talc products involved?
Research is ongoing, and Johnson & Johnson still insist that their talc products are safe. But lawsuit verdicts are starting to say otherwise.
Talc Powder May Cause Cancer
The verdicts delivered so far are largely related to how talc baby powder may be the cause of ovarian cancer in some women.
These lawsuits largely allege that regular use of the product on the genital area for over a decade or more may cause ovarian cancer to develop.
Inhalation of talc products is also allegedly linked to mesothelioma, or a tumor that forms in the lining of the lungs.
Some plaintiffs claim that the ingredient talc itself is causing cancer. However, a majority of successful plaintiffs claims that the talc used in consumer products is contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen.
If you have a cancer diagnosis after years of using talc-based baby powder, you may have the right to seek compensation.
Contact VanDerGinst Law to begin your free consultation.
What is Talcum Powder?
Talc is a natural mineral that is made up of magnesium, oxygen, silicon, and hydrogen.
It has a many uses dating all the way back to Ancient Egypt.
In modern society talc has been used in baby powder, eye shadow, blush, face powder, foundation, and industrial uses such as clay, paint, and putty.
In 1893 Johnson & Johnson found that it was a good material to help combat diaper rash and started marketing it to solve this problem.
It was also marketed to women to control moisture and odor in the genital area, which ultimately resulted in the thousands of lawsuits regarding ovarian cancer.
Talc is a popular ingredient with manufacturers of consumer products because it is the softest mineral on earth. Talc provides lubrication and products mixed with talc are easily and evenly distributed on surfaces.
While there’s still some debate over the danger of talc itself, the main problem is that the mineral is most often found in nature combined with asbestos.
Talcum and Baby Powder Cancer
The fact that asbestos is a known carcinogen, and that it occurs naturally in talc mines, is not a good combination.
The fact that baby powder was not required to contain pure talc powder made matters worse.
Baby power is a widely used product, marketed to many different groups for different uses. This may significantly increase the probability of causing cancer.
Types of Cancer Talc May Cause
There are a few types of cancer linked to talc, depending on the product and the usage, as well as the type of exposure a person has had. These include:
According to the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, there are over 30 different types of ovarian cancer.
Talc was marketed for everyday use for moisture control in the genital area. Long term exposure to talc powder contaminated with asbestos has been the subject of many recent lawsuits alleging that it caused ovarian cancer.
Uterine (endometrial) cancer has also been linked to talc powder in these cases.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer:
- A heavy feeling in the pelvis
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Unusual discharge from the vagina
- Weight gain or loss
- Unexplained back pain
- Gas, nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite
The other way talc can be harmful is when particles of baby powder are inhaled.
Some studies show that increased exposure to pure talc may be linked to several forms of lung diseases, but most likely not lung cancer.
There is still the issue of contaminants in talc powder, namely asbestos that is often found in non-pure talc products.
Extended exposure to inhaled asbestos is known to cause cancer, namely mesothelioma.
This is why lawsuits claiming that the plaintiff’s lung cancer was caused by talc products generally also claim that the talc product was contaminated with asbestos.
Symptoms of Lung Cancer:
- Persistent, worsening cough
- Coughing up phlegm or blood
- Shortness of breath
- Hoarse voice
- Continual chest pains
- Persistent Pneumonia or bronchitis
- Swelling of neck or face
Other Products That Contain Talc
Most successful talc lawsuits were brought over baby powder and the fact that it was contaminated with asbestos.
While a vast number of products contain talc, many talc products are not contaminated with asbestos.
Talc is used in industrial processes to create products like paper, rubber, paint, and ceramics. Since talc is part of the manufacturing process, consumers aren’t exposed to the powder form of the mineral when using such products.
Johnson & Johnson’s Stance on the Cancer Issue
Johnson & Johnson still maintains that their baby powder products do not cause cancer, despite the fact that successful lawsuits have been brought for this reason, studies have shown it is likely the case, and talc-based baby powder has been pulled from store shelves in the United States and Canada.
In 2018 the company stated, “Studies of more than 100,000 men and women show that talc does not cause cancer or asbestos-related disease. Thousands of independent tests by regulators and the world’s leading labs prove our baby powder has never contained asbestos.”
Even as late as May 2020, when the company pulled its talc-based baby powder from store shelves in the U.S. and Canada, Johnson & Johnson stood by the safety of their product, citing they were only taking the product off of shelves due to declined interest in the U.S. and the growing number of allegations.
What cannot be disputed is the growing number of lawsuits arising with allegations against talc baby powder and Johnson & Johnson.
Talc Lawsuits: Past Verdicts and Where They Are Headed
Talc lawsuits have a history of being overturned as Johnson & Johnson fight to appeal each verdict, but as you will read below, large verdicts are now beginnings to be upheld.
This may mean that the timing is good to start filing a lawsuit.
Talc lawsuits date back to 2013, when a woman who was applying baby powder regularly for 40 years developed cancer.
Turning down a $1.3 million settlement, the woman’s goal was to get Johnson & Johnson to put a warning on their label or to take the product off shelves completely. This lawsuit was successful in neither objective.
A $72 million verdict in 2016 was the first successful verdict against talc for allegedly causing ovarian cancer. This verdict has since been overturned.
Since then we have seen single verdicts for cases against Johnson & Johnson with $110 million and $417 million settlements. Both of these have also been overturned as well.
In 2018, a $4.69 billion verdict was awarded to 22 plaintiffs. Johnson & Johnson has attempted to overturn this verdict as well, but was unsuccessful for the first time.
While these verdicts were awarded, in their May 2020 statement taking baby powder off the shelves, Johnson & Johnson still maintained that “All verdicts against the Company through the appeals process have been overturned.”
However, in June 2020, the 2018 $4.69 billion verdict was upheld by a Missouri appeals court, but it was reduced to $2.12 billion for the 22 plaintiffs.
The company stands by their product, but their undefeated streak has broken as more cases and evidence come to light.
In light of this recent event, the time to file may finally be right.
Contact VanDerGinst Law
We know it’s hard when a product you trusted turns out to be causing you harm.
That’s why we dedicate ourselves to helping the victims of injuries get the fair compensation they deserve to help pay their medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses.
We also know that no amount of money can compensate you for the pain and suffering you are going through, but we fight hard to get what you are owed.
At VanDerGinst Law, we are here to listen to your story and we offer a free consultation for your injury case.
You need a team of personal injury lawyers on your side that have years of experience in fighting against companies that put dangerous products on the market and know what needs to be done to help you reach the best outcome.
At VanDerGinst Law, all costs are advanced, and you pay us nothing on your injury case unless we win. That means no attorney fees, no retainers, no paying to obtain records, and we don’t get paid unless your case settles or wins in court.
The law is tough, being injured is tougher. We’ll make it easier for you.
The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.