Talc powder is a product that has been available to consumers for centuries. Use of talc traces back to at least ancient Egyptian times. In the U.S, companies have marketed talc for use in skin care products, cosmetics, and food. In the 1960s, researchers published studies on the possible link between talc and certain cancers. In the 1970s, the federal government banned the use of asbestos in talc products. More than 40 years later, people are coming forward with injuries and illnesses they allege come from using talc powder. Kaufman Law, P.C. works closely with clients to pursue compensation from big companies for talc-related harms and wrongful deaths.
What is Talc Powder?
Talc is a mineral that occurs naturally in the earth. It consists of oxygen, hydrogen, silicon, and magnesium. It absorbs moisture and is naturally soft and smooth. Talc powder, or talcum powder, is a product that people use on the skin to stay dry. Baby powder is a form of talc powder many households use. Talc powder can smooth skin irritation, prevent chafing, and lend its desirable properties to a variety of products.
Talc minerals come from mines, after which manufacturing companies purify the talc and crush it into a powder form. Companies such as Johnson & Johnson claim to create talc powders according to the highest standards, including requirements from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Yet today, hundreds of people are bringing claims against Johnson & Johnson and other talc product manufacturers for alleged harms associated with these items.
Injuries and Side Effects Associated with Talc Powder
Like talc, asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral. Asbestos, however, is not safe for use in any capacity. Asbestos has a different crystal structure and is a known carcinogen. In the early 1900s, dozens of industries used asbestos in building materials and products because of its fire resistant properties. Once the FDA realized the dangerous nature of asbestos, it banned this mineral in U.S. product manufacturing. Unfortunately, the ban came too late for thousands of people who had been exposed to asbestos. These parties have complained of effects such as:
- Bladder and urine issues – little to no urine output
- Throat irritation
- Difficulty breathing
- Lung failure
- Chest pain
- Eye irritation
- Low blood pressure
- Blisters on skin
Today, there are numerous injuries and illnesses associated with talc powder, potentially due to asbestos contamination. Consumers have complained of ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and respiratory problems. Personal injury, wrongful death, and product liability claims allege that Johnson & Johnson knew about the risks of cancer with talcum powder use, yet failed to warn consumers. If you believe you have an illness linked to use of talc powder or other talc products, seek help from a personal injury attorney in Atlanta.
Ovarian Cancer Link
The moisture wicking and odor masking properties of talc powder make it a product of choice for thousands of women. A slogan from a 1998 Johnson & Johnson body powder stated, “A sprinkle a day, keeps the odor away.” The brand seemingly encouraged the use of talc powder for feminine hygiene, marketing especially to African-American women. The brand never issued a warning of potential links between the product and ovarian cancer. Decades later, women are bringing claims regarding cancer that allegedly came from use of talcum powder on the external genital area.
Breathing in microscopic asbestos particles can lead to cancers of the lungs, heart, and stomach. It can take 10 to 50 years for the effects of asbestos exposure to develop into health problems and tumors. Asbestos and talc are connected due to the mining process. If miners aren’t careful, they can contaminate the talc with asbestos. Published scientific studies as far back as the 1960s claimed a connection between talc and ovarian cancers – allegedly because of asbestos contamination. In the 1970s, the FDA issued new rules requiring talc products to contain no asbestos. Still, traces of asbestos may exist in modern talc products.
Studies About Ovarian Cancer and Talcum Powder
Studies linking talc powder with ovarian cancer are conflicting. There are some that establish a connection, while others have shown no association. One 2016 case study looked at genital talc use in powder form, sanitary napkins, tampons, diaphragms, condoms, and underwear. The study found a strong link between genital talc use and ovarian cancers – particularly invasive serous and endometrioid tumors. The study states that the risks for epithelial ovarian cancer from talcum powder varies on the woman’s weight, smoking habits, hormone therapy use, histologic subtype, and menopausal status.
Other studies in the 1970s and 1980s found particles consistent with talc in ovarian and uterine cancers in humans. Evidently, the talcum powder can travel through the vagina and enter the ovaries. The risk of cancer increases with greater use of genital talcum powder. Theories state that talc particles in the ovaries result in inflammation, suppression of cancer-fighting antibodies, and the development of tumors. Yet contrasting research, such as the results of a Women’s Health Initiative study. cast doubt on the association between talc and ovarian cancer. Thus, lawsuits have come down on either side of the argument.
What Products Contain Talc Powder?
Starting a talc-related lawsuit begins with naming the product that allegedly caused the injury. Talc exists in numerous products throughout the U.S, from cosmetics to food items. Many people may not realize how often they consume or come into contact with talc. After an ovarian cancer diagnosis, or another diagnosis consistent with asbestos exposure, consider whether your harms may have stemmed from a talc product. These include:
- Baby powder. Cosmetic talc in baby powder reduces friction and helps prevent odor.
- Chewing gum and candy. Talc powder coating prevents the gum from sticking to wrappers.
- White rice. Talc powder polishes grains of white rice.
- Olive oil. Talc improves the quality of the oil.
- Face makeup. Talc powder prevents caking and absorbs oil in blush, face powder, foundation, and eye shadow.
- Soap Products. Talc powder enhances the performance of soap products.
- Talc helps absorb sweat and moisture.
- Medication tablets. Talc coats tablets and prevents caking.
- Products that kill germs may contain talc.
- Illicit drugs, such as heroin. Street drugs may contain talc as a filler ingredient.
Read ingredient labels before using a product if you’re afraid it contains talc. If your doctor recently diagnosed you with a condition that’s consistent with previous complaints about talc, make a list of all products you’ve used that may have contained this mineral. Talc can take decades to result in cancer development, so it may have been a product you haven’t used in many years.
How Do I Know if I’m Eligible for a Talc Powder Claim?
In May 2017, a jury awarded a Virginia woman who brought a claim against Johnson & Johnson for failing to disclose known cancer risks associated with baby powder and another talc product. Doctors diagnosed the plaintiff with ovarian cancer in 2012. This successful claim, which resulted in a judgment award of $110 million, is the latest in a series of lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson. Ask yourself these questions if you believe you have a talc powder claim:
- Have I suffered an injury or illness?
- Do I have medical records that prove my harms?
- Does my injury or illness line up with known talc powder risks?
- Have I used a product that contains talc powder in the last 50 years?
- Are there other things that may have caused my injury or illness?
- Did I suffer economic or non-economic losses because of my injury/illness?
Always speak to an attorney about your potential talcum powder lawsuit. Kaufman Law, P.C. offers free consultations, so you can discuss your injury or illness with an attorney at no expense. Our team will listen to your story and tell you if we believe it has merit as a product liability claim or mass tort in Atlanta. You have two years from the date of your injury or diagnosis to bring a personal injury claim, two to four years for a product liability claim, and four years for wrongful death. Our attorneys can help you meet applicable deadlines and go up against major manufacturers for talc-related harms. Contact us today for more information.