Thoughts On How Talcum Powder May Cause Ovarian Cancer and Mesothelioma
Talcum powder makers, especially Johnson & Johnson, have been facing an increasing number of lawsuits over long-term use of the product and cancer. Many regular, often lifelong users of talc products, like baby powders, are winning these cases, while studies are proving there is a link between talcum powder and both ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.
Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
Most of the lawsuits targeting talcum powder manufacturers are related to instances of ovarian cancer. The women bringing the suits used baby powder and similar talc-based products for years or decades and then received a cancer diagnosis. That regular use of baby powder included application to the genital area.
Researchers began to study the issue and determine if there was a connection between talcum powder and cancer. They found over the course of studies with thousands of subjects that women who used talcum powder has a 30 percent greater chance of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer as compared to women who do not use these products regularly or often.
Other studies have found important evidence that, even if researchers don’t fully know why it occurs, that there is a definite link between talcum powder and cancer. These studies investigated the tissue from tumors in women with ovarian cancer. They found particles of talc in the tumors. This indicates that talc particles can migrate through the body and into the ovaries.
Talcum Powder and Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that is linked to asbestos exposure. It most often occurs in workers who spent years on job sites inhaling asbestos fibers. There have been some mesothelioma lawsuits against talcum powder products over cases of mesothelioma rather than ovarian cancer. The inhalation of airborne particles of talc may contribute to or cause this cancer of tissue in the chest cavity. Studies indicate that this could be an explanation for how some who had no workplace exposure to asbestos developed mesothelioma.
Talc and Asbestos
The underlying cause of both ovarian cancer and mesothelioma in women who used talcum powder over a long period of time may be asbestos. Asbestos is a mineral like talc that is mined. Talc deposits often include some contaminating asbestos.
The talc that is used in baby powder products is supposed to be free of that contamination. But, some studies have analyzed talcum powders and found that they often do have asbestos fibers in them. The talc itself may not be harmful, but when the products contain asbestos, they may cause cancer.
Lawsuits over Talcum Powder Continue
The link between talcum powder and cancer continues to be proven in the courtroom. Multiple cases have now gone in favor of the women who were harmed by regular use of this product. This includes one lawsuit in which the plaintiff’s lawyer presented evidence that Johnson & Johnson knew their talc products contained contaminating asbestos. The woman in this case developed and died from ovarian cancer. The jury awarded her family $72 million.
Research into talcum powder and its risks is likely to continue to uncover more important information about this issue. There are currently no definitive answers as to why talcum powder increases cancer risk, but asbestos is likely to be a big part of it.