Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
Baby talcum powder and ovarian cancer

Talcum Powder Lawsuits Raise Cancer Risk Questions

As reported by the New York Times, women with little or no other cancer risk factors appear to be developing ovarian cancer as a result of their use of talcum powder as a drying and anti-chafe agent.

Thousands of women with ovarian cancer have filed lawsuits against consumer product giant Johnson & Johnson, claiming baby powder caused their cancer and referencing a long history of studies connecting talc with ovarian cancer. There is research dating as far back as the early 1970s, when scientists in the United Kingdom discovered talc particles embedded in cervical and ovarian tumors.

In 20016, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified talcum powder as a possible human carcinogen when used in the female genital area. Johnson & Johnson says the established research pointing to talcum powder as a cancer-causing substance is flawed. Cancer is particularly hard to study because it can develop over an extended period and its appearance and growth are influenced by many factors, including behavior, environmental exposures, and genetics.

As the Times notes, “Talc is a naturally occurring clay mineral composed of magnesium and silicon. Known for its softness, it is used in cosmetic products like blush because it absorbs moisture and prevents caking. It is also an additive in tablets, chewing gum and some rice. It’s often mined in proximity to asbestos, a known carcinogen, and manufacturers have to take steps to avoid contamination.”

Numerous studies have linked ovarian cancer to genital talc powder use, including a 2016 report that genital use of talcum powder has been linked with a 44 percent increased risk for invasive epithelial ovarian cancer among African-American women.

Johnson & Johnson insists that its baby powder is safe, and the company intends to fight two recent multimillion-dollar jury awards, including a $55 million damage award to a cancer survivor in May 2016 and another February 2016 trial award of $72 million.

Contact National Women’s Injury Lawyers at Lieff Cabraser

If you have received a diagnosis of ovarian cancer you have the right to seek fair compensation for your injuries. Please contact us online via our talcum powder injuries page or call attorney Wendy Fleishman toll-free at 1 800 541-7358. We will help affected persons and families gather the information and file claims for any injuries, suffering, or related harm. We will review your claim for free, confidentially, and with no obligation on your part.