Does Talcum Powder Cause Cancer?

Talc, the main ingredient in talcum powder, is a claylike mineral that is mined from deep underground. Because of its water resistant properties and softness, it is a flexible mineral that is often utilized in consumer products. Most notably, it is used in talcum powder and cosmetics, such as blush and eyeshadows.

Talc has been used in this form since the early 1900s, but in recent years, concerns over its safety have been brought to the forefront. Namely, reports have emerged that link the use of talcum powder with cancer diagnoses. This has led to countless lawsuits from affected consumers against large corporations who sold products containing the mineral.

The Dangers of Talc

Because talc is naturally occurring and harvested from the earth, it was mistakenly believed to be a safe and natural ingredient. As a result, over the course of the 1900s it was used in countless products. Unfortunately, it was later discovered that some forms of talc also contain asbestos. Asbestos is a known carcinogen that can cause the formation of cancerous tumors. 

Because talcum powder contains asbestos, the most commonly associated cancers include lung cancer (when inhaled) and ovarian cancer (when fibers make their way into the reproductive system). As talcum powder is frequently used in the genital region among women and babies and is easily inhaled during application, the risk to users of talcum powder is substantial. 

Talcum Powder and Cancer Diagnosis

A link between ovarian cancer and the use of talcum powder was made in 1971. Despite this, manufacturers of talcum powder, including the household name Johnson & Johnson, failed to cease production and failed to warn consumers of the potential risks. According to research conducted by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, women who used these products are around 33 to 35% more likely to develop ovarian cancer.

In the earliest stages of ovarian cancer, those affected may develop signs and symptoms such as:

  • Constipation 
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal fluid
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite

These symptoms eventually lead to further testing and a biopsy that confirms the presence of cancer within the ovaries or within other areas if the cancer has advanced. Despite ovarian cancer being the most commonly linked form of cancer to talcum powder, other cancers, including mesothelioma, cancer of the fallopian tube, and peritoneal cancer, among others, have also been linked with the use of talcum powder. 

Legal Recourse for Those Affected by Cancer Caused by Talcum Powder

Those who used talcum powder regularly and have since been diagnosed with an associated cancer may be eligible for compensation. There are a number of settlements and ongoing lawsuits to aid in covering the medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other financial damages caused by the negligence of manufacturers who used talcum powder.

As mentioned, most notable in this industry is the company, Johnson & Johnson. Best known for its baby powder that contained talc, the company has been sued by countless former consumers after they received a cancer diagnosis. In 2020, pharmaceutical litigation lawyers brought action against the company, and it was ordered to pay more than $100 million in damages to thousands of class action lawsuit members.

Recently a lawsuit was filed by Ben Crump and Napoli Shkolnik on behalf of the National Council of Negro Women, many of whose more than 25,000 members could have been affected.

At a recent press conference in Washington, D.C., Paul Napoli stated that Johnson & Johnson has put “profits over people, ignoring and hiding a mountain of research about the risks,” and that he and Ben Crump “seek to make known what long has been hidden by Johnson and Johnson.The NCNW, with its tremendous network among Black Americans, is the ideal organization to do it.”

Are you ready to pursue legal action against Johnson & Johnson? Contact Napoli Shkolnik for a free case evaluation with a skilled pharmaceutical litigation lawyer who will fight for the compensation that affected parties deserve.