The spotlight has been on talcum powder recently because of some high-profile lawsuits involving it. If you use talcum powder and you are concerned about its safety risks and how it is linked to cancer, here are some of the things you need to know:
Talc is the ingredient that is linked to cancer.
Talc is a mineral that is made up of several elements, mainly magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. It is considered the softest mineral on earth and its softness and silky texture are the main properties that led to it being used in baby powders. Most baby powders are talcum powders – their main ingredient is talc.
There are two kinds of talc – talc that contains asbestos and talc that does not contain asbestos. The talcum powder lawsuits involving Johnson & Johnson involve asbestos-free talc which is what the company uses for their products.
Studies have been done to see check if talcum powder causes cancer.
Numerous studies have been done over the years to look for a link between talcum powder use and cancer as far back as 1971. Among these is the use of talcum powder on the genital area. Some cancers associated with this are ovarian cancer and uterine cancer. There have been studies as well looking at the possibility of talcum powder causing lung cancer and stomach cancer when inhaled. The ovarian and uterine cancer risk being associated with talcum powder is when it is applied on the genital area. The studies suggest that the talcum powder particles get into the vagina, the uterus, and the fallopian tubes, causing inflammation which eventually develops into cancer tumors.
These studies do not completely confirm the link between talcum powder use and cancer.
Only some of the studies show a link between talcum powder use and cancer. Some fail to show any link between talcum powder and cancer. Because of the unclear connection between them, many doctors and health professionals now think it is still best to avoid exposure to talcum powder to possibly lower any cancer risk it may have.
Johnson & Johnson has been asked to pay the plaintiffs in five cases amounting to a total of $724 million.
If there is still no clear cancer risk with the use of talcum powder, how come Johnson & Johnson lost several talcum powder lawsuits? The big problem lies in the fact that Johnson & Johnson knew about these studies linking talcum powder and cancer, but failed to put any kind of warning on their products. This possibly makes them liable for negligence for not informing users of their baby powder about the possible risk of ovarian cancer.
There are other powder products that do not contain talc.
If you are concerned about the risk of cancer associated with talcum powder use, the best thing to do is to avoid using talcum powder altogether. There are many alternative products that are available such as cornstarch-based powders. Alternatively, you may also choose to stop using powder altogether.
If you have been diagnosed by ovarian or uterine cancer and has been using Johnson & Johnson baby powder on your underwear or genital area, it is best to get in touch with a lawyer to discuss the possibility of filing a lawsuit.