Talcum Powder Lawsuit Attorneys
Talcum powder seems like a harmless product; however, there may be serious health risks with regular use. That includes popular products like Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder.
Recent reports show a link between talcum powder and mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. Pending talcum powder cancer lawsuits allege that manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson knew for years that the talc was contaminated by asbestos and did nothing to warn consumers. If you have mesothelioma or ovarian cancer with a history of using talcum powder, you need to speak with a talcum powder lawyer right away.
What Is Talcum Powder?
Talcum powder comes from talc, a mineral primarily consisting of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. In its pure form, talc may contain asbestos. Asbestos has clearly documented links to adverse health conditions and is known to cause cancer. Talc is a preferred additive to powder because it cuts down on friction and helps absorb moisture. It is present in numerous cosmetic products, like body and facial powders, including Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder.
Miners extract talc from underground deposits, which is where you also find asbestos. Some veins of asbestos may be in talc deposits, which increases the risk of cross-contamination. Using talcum powder substitutes can eliminate the risk entirely. Some options include cornstarch, baking soda, arrowroot starch, tapioca starch, and oat flour.
Even if you don’t develop ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, you could develop other side effects like asthma, chronic lung irritation, or pneumonia.
Talcum Powder and Mesothelioma
Inhaling talcum powder particles tainted with asbestos fibers could result in lung fibrosis and granulomatose nodules called talcosis. It is unclear whether pure talc exposure can lead to mesothelioma; mesothelioma usually occurs only with talc that is contaminated. Most plaintiffs who file a lawsuit for talcum-powder-related mesothelioma have inhaled tiny particles of powder contaminated with asbestos.
However, there is also a potential link between mesothelioma and talc. Plaintiffs cite a study published in 2002 that discusses talc miners in northern New York State who developed the asbestos-related disease. This academic study’s results indicate that exposure to New York talc mines is associated with mesothelioma. In this specific case, there was no asbestos contamination, yet the miners still developed the rare disease. These results suggest that talc exposure can be linked directly to mesothelioma, not just in cases where there was asbestos exposure.
In the last decade, other litigation corroborates the possible link between talc and mesothelioma through different products that contain talc, like pottery or cosmetics.
Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
Lawsuits involving claims that talcum powder caused ovarian cancer are more common than those cases involving mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is quite rare, whereas significantly more women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year. Research studies have suggested that applying talcum powder directly to your genital area could lead to cancer. Some people also use talcum powder on their condoms, sanitary napkins, or diaphragms.
As of today, there is no definitive evidence that explains how talcum powder causes ovarian cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a division of the World Health Organization (WHO), classifies the use of talcum powder on the genitals as potentially being cancer-causing, but other studies have yielded mixed results.
The National Center for Health Research believes that women who use talcum powder are 33% more likely to develop ovarian cancer than women who do not. There may be a higher risk for women who used talc and underwent a hysterectomy or tubal ligation before menopause or needed hormone therapy for their menopausal symptoms. Some researchers believe that’s due to estrogen making women less vulnerable to talc’s side effects and risks.
One plausible theory is that talc particles travel up through the female reproductive system until they reach the ovaries. There is where the talc particles sit. Since the particles can take many years to dissolve, they cause inflammation. When there is inflammation, your body is creating conditions that could increase the chances of cancer growth. When you have inflammation for an extended period, it could lead to cancerous tumors forming in your body.
If you previously used talcum powder regularly in your genital area, it’s essential to be screened and watch for symptoms. Possible signs of ovarian cancer include:
- Weight loss or weight gain;
- Lower abdominal pressure or pain;
- Abnormal periods;
- Trouble eating or always feeling “full” after meals; and
- Nausea, gas, or vomiting.
These symptoms can relate to numerous other conditions, many of them benign. But early detection of ovarian cancer is critical. That’s why you need to seek medical attention right away if you suspect something is wrong.
Talcum Powder Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson denied the existence of asbestos contamination in its talc for decades. It wasn’t until the company was required to turn over thousands of internal memos and documents recently that the truth came out. Reuters examined many of these documents, noting instances between 1971 and the early 2000s where Johnson & Johnson’s raw talc tested positive for asbestos. Memos indicate doctors, mine managers, company executives, scientists, and lawyers debated how to handle the problem without tipping off consumers or regulators.
One of the earliest mentions of contaminated talc dates back to 1957 in a consulting lab report. The reviewer concluded that Johnsons & Johnson’s Italian supplier’s talc contained tremolite. Tremolite is one of the six minerals classified as asbestos when found in its naturally occurring fibrous form.
In the 1970s, Johnson & Johnson tried to convince the FDA to allow a talc testing method that would’ve allowed acceptable asbestos levels of up to one percent. That is ten times the standards the FDA had suggested were allowable. After the FDA rejected their proposal, Johnson & Johnson pushed for self-policing and regulation within the industry rather than through the federal agencies.
While Johnson & Johnson claims its talcum powder does not contain detectable levels of asbestos today, most of the current litigation involves exposure from years ago. And contemporary examples indicate asbestos contamination is not entirely a thing of the past. Johnson & Johnson voluntarily recalled one lot of its baby powder in October 2019, after FDA survey testing found asbestos contamination.
The FDA survey testing helped open the door to new lawsuits, as Johnson & Johnson has clearly not learned its lesson. The courts are helping to get justice for many injured victims. Numerous plaintiffs have recovered millions against Johnson & Johnson for damages related to ovarian cancer or mesothelioma.
Does Talcum Powder Cause Cancer?
Regulatory speaking, talcum powder is deemed safe. However, if it is contaminated with asbestos, long-term use could result in one or more cancer types. Conditions like mesothelioma take years to develop. Someone could’ve been exposed regularly 20 or 30 years ago and only start developing problems now. Reports dating back at least forty years note that asbestos contamination had been detected in some other talcum powder brands.
In a New York Times article from March 10, 1976, tests done at Mount Sinai Hospital indicated that ten of 19 body and baby powders had asbestos fibers present. In this particular study, Johnson & Johnson’s baby powders did not have any contamination in the tested products. While no asbestos levels were detected here, it’s impossible to ignore all the internal reports and memos released to the courts that Reuters reviewed and published.
Johnson & Johnson will continue to argue that there’s no direct evidence that talcum powder causes cancer, but decades of research suggests otherwise. That is also why some courts have ruled against the manufacturer in Johnson & Johnson lawsuits. There are well over 10,000 pending talcum powder cancer lawsuits against various manufacturers in U.S. federal courts.
Many other products contain talc, but one of the highest odds of carcinogenic effects comes from baby powder. That is why some people refer to talcum powder litigation as “baby powder lawsuits.”
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Finding a Talcum Powder Lawyer to Help with Your Claim
Because of the complicated nature of defective product lawsuits, you need to hire a skilled talcum powder lawyer. If you or someone you love used talcum powder and has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or ovarian cancer, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Trying to handle litigation like this on your own or without an attorney with specialized skills is likely to end in failure.
The journey to discovering the link between talcum powder and your illness can be exhausting and require a lot of energy. That's why you need an attorney with the necessary experience and skills to stand up to large companies like Johnson & Johnson. At Gerling Law, we have decades of experience with significant product liability cases like talcum powder cancer lawsuits. We have the skills and the financial resources required to take on a case like this and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
It's crucial to speak with an attorney as soon as you suspect something is wrong. Like other types of personal injury litigation, there is a statute of limitations that dictates how long you have to bring a lawsuit. The time may vary depending on your specific case details. We will make sure to file a lawsuit timely and ensure your rights are preserved. Even if you don't have a diagnosis yet, we can meet with you to determine whether you have a potential case. Contact Gerling Law today to schedule an initial consultation.
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