Talc Powder and Cancer

Talc Powder and Cancer

Powder made from talc has been implicated in the development of cancer.  Talc, the softest of all the minerals, has been used for centuries for cosmetic purposes.  Crushed, it is used to protect the skin by absorbing moisture and keeping the skin dry, reducing friction and discomfort, and to perfume the skin.  It was sold as medicated powder, foot powder, cosmetic powder, aftershave talc, and most notably, baby powder.

Talc is a mineral consisting of the elements magnesium, oxygen and silicon. Like all minerals, talc ore is often contaminated by other minerals. In recent years the presence of asbestos in talc has been extensively studied and tested. Asbestos is a carcinogen, meaning that it causes cancer.

Talc is also used for industrial purposes, which you can read about more here.

Talc and Ovarian Cancer

Using talcum powder in the genital area  may raise a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer, according to studies conducted since 1982.  Scientists are not exactly sure how talcum powder causes ovarian cancer, but in many cases of ovarian cancer, talc is found in the ovarian tumor itself.  Advertisements by many talc manufacturers including Johnson and Johnson recommended women sprinkle talcum powder in their pelvic area, on underwear, and on sanitary napkins. The ads discussed preventing chafing and covering up any odor of the vaginal area so a woman would feel “fresh”.  Used in these areas, talcum powder can travel into the fallopian tubes, ovaries, vagina, and uterus.

Talc and Mesothelioma

Because talc often contains asbestos fibers, using talc powder can expose the user to airborne asbestos fibers.  Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Because talcum powder is used dry and often applied by shaking, asbestos fibers can float in the air and can be breathed in as talc powder is sprinkled. Mesothelioma is caused by inhaling those microscopic asbestos fibers.

Cosmetic talc and baby powder

There are many kinds of talc powders that have tested positive for the presence of asbestos fibers. Talc powders that have tested positive for the presence of asbestos include:

  • Baby powder (Johnson & Johnson)
  • Cashmere Bouquet powder ( Colgate)
  • Desert Flower Dusting Powder (Shulton, Inc.)
  • Kings Men Luxury Talc (Kings Men)
  • Old Spice Aftershave Talc (Shulton, Inc.)
  • Pinaud Clubman talcum powder (Clubman)
  • Shower to Shower powder (Johnson & Johnson)

In research begun in 1973 and released in 1976. Mt Sinai Hospital examined 19 kinds of cosmetic talc . They found asbestos present in 10 of those samples. Products which tested positive for asbestos in Mt. Sinai’s tests:

    • ZBT Baby Powder with Baby Oil
    • Cashmere Bouquet Body Talc
    • Coty Airspun Face Powder
    • Rosemary Talc
    • Bauer & Black Baby Talc
    • Faberge Brut Talc
    • Yardley Invisible Talc
    • Yardley Black Label Baby Powder
    • Mennen Shave Talc, and
    • English Leather After Shave Talc

What Can You Do?

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or ovarian cancer, and you believe it may be related to your use of talc powder products, call the talcum powder lawyers at Thornton Law Firm 1-888-491-9726 for a free, no-obligation consultation. Or tell us your story online here. Like all legal claims, talc cancer claims have short, strictly enforced time limits.  The legal time limits, called the statute of limitations, begin running as soon as you are diagnosed with cancer. Call today to protect your legal rights.

Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer linked to talcum powder

Use of talcum powder on the genitals and perineal area, including on sanitary napkins, may raise a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer, according to scientific studies conducted since 1982. Millions of women have used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and Shower to Shower talc powders for years because J&J advertised them as safe for feminine hygiene use. Despite being aware of the studies linking talcum powder use and ovarian cancer, Johnson & Johnson has never placed warning labels on its talc powder products, even today. And they have failed to take the easy step of removing the talc powder from the market and selling the cornstarch powder they already produce.

What is talcum powder?

Talcum powder contains talc, a naturally-occurring, very soft mineral made up mainly of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. Talcum powder has been sold for many years for use on babies and marketed to adults as a cosmetic and hygienic product.

How does talcum powder cause ovarian cancer?

Scientists are not sure exactly how talcum powder causes ovarian cancer. However, in many cases of ovarian cancer, talc is found in the ovarian tumor itself. Through its advertising, Johnson and Johnson advised that women sprinkle talcum powder in their genital area, and on underwear and sanitary pads. This was recommended to keep the vaginal area dry, to prevent chafing, and to cover up any odor of the vaginal area. Used in these areas, talcum powder can travel into the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes and the ovaries.

Is it safe to use talcum powder?

Many pediatricians recommend against using talcum powder on babies. The American Pediatric Association recommends against using any powder on a baby, no matter the ingredients because inhaling powder can cause an inflammatory reaction in the lungs. The American Cancer Society advised in 1999 that women use cornstarch powder, rather than talcum powder, in the genital area.

Lawsuits against Johnson and Johnson and its talc suppliers

May, 2016:  A St. Louis jury awarded $72 million dollars to the family of a woman who developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder for many years. The jury awarded $10 million dollars in compensatory damages and $62 million dollars to the family of an Alabama woman. Plaintiff Jackie Fox died of ovarian cancer on October 6th. She had used Johnson & Johnson baby powder and “Shower to Shower” talcum powder for 35 years.

Fox’s family submitted expert medical testimony that talcum powder causes ovarian cancer. Statistical evidence presented at trial also showed that 1,500 women per year die from the association between talcum powder and ovarian cancer.

May, 2016: A South Dakota woman was awarded $55 million dollars against Johnson & Johnson for developing ovarian cancer after decades of using J&J talcum powder products. The jury awarded $5 million dollars in compensatory damages and $50 million dollars in punitive damages.

The plaintiff, Gloria Ristesund, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011 after using J&J Baby Powder and Shower to Shower powder as advertised, on her genital area, for almost 39 years. She is in remission after undergoing a full hysterectomy. Her lawsuit charged Johnson & Johnson of failing to warn of the cancer risk of using talcum powder or failing to remove talc from the powder and replace it with cornstarch which has similar soothing properties. The jury found in her favor after one day of deliberations following a three-week trial.

October, 2016:  A St. Louis jury awarded a California woman $70 million dollars in her lawsuit claiming that years of using Johnson & Johnson’s talc baby powder caused her ovarian cancer.

The 63-year-old plaintiff, Deborah Giannecchini, used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder for feminine hygiene for four decades before she was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer in 2012. She has undergone multiple surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy to treat cancer. Evidence was introduced that she has an 80% chance of dying in the next two years.

What can you do?

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talcum powder, you may have a claim for damages. Contact the defective product lawyers at Thornton Law Firm for a free, confidential evaluation of your legal rights at 1-888-341-1405. Or tell us your story here for a free and thorough evaluation of your legal rights.

Trust our Massachusetts defective product attorneys to help

Contact Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick and tell her your story online or call her at 1-888-341-1405 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in Massachusetts defective product litigation. You have nothing to risk. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case.

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