Talcum Powder

For generations, talcum powder has been used as a household and hospital staple. It is effective in controlling moisture and reducing friction which has made it a top choice treating diaper rash for over one hundred years. Talcum powder has many applications and is found in many medicine cabinets, hospitals and doctors' offices around the country; it's also readily available on retail store shelves. But, emerging evidence and new research links talcum powder to serious medical conditions. The cosmetic and personal hygiene product, though used on a daily basis, once thought to be completely safe, is now at the center of two class action lawsuits.


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About Talcum Powder

The mineral talc was first discovered by a geologist in 1546, though it's believed to form about 15,000 years ago. There is even some evidence suggesting the mineral was used in glazed pottery during the Tang Dynasty in China

Talcum powder gets its name from the mineral, Talc. Talc is the softest mineral on earth and is made of silicon, magnesium & oxygen. Talc is mined and it’s typically from mineral deposits above ground. Talc deposits are often found close to Tremolite, one type of asbestos which can be frequently found in large quantities in talc. As a powder, talc is able to absorb moisture, odors and reduce friction which ultimately keeps skin dry and rash-free. Federal law has prohibited asbestos in consumer products containing talc since 1973.

Talcum powder is widely used in numerous, common products, such as personal hygiene products, cosmetics, and other consumer goods. Talcum powder, mostly associated with baby powder, can also be found in perfumed powder, deodorant, foot and body powder, and medicating powder. In addition, it's also used in many sanitary products and incontinence products, too.

First produced over 100 years ago, Johnson & Johnson marketed "Baby Powder" to mothers and encouraged women to use talcum powder on themselves too. By the 1960s, advertisements showed sultry ladies sprinkling talcum powder on her bare shoulders with no baby around her. In 1988, Johnson & Johnson advertised Shower to Shower powder "A sprinkle a day helps keep odor away. Have you had your sprinkle today?" Talcum powder was clearly marketed to women encouraging its use.

Over the past forty years, questions about its safety and relation to certain conditions have been studied and debated in the medical and scientific communities. Now, some experts assert talcum powder can be linked to serious health conditions, including ovarian cancer.


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Talcum Powder Side Effects, Problems, and Risks

There are a number of symptoms related to the use of talcum powder, according to the National Institutes of Health, under the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The health agency warns that prolonged exposure to talc dust, long-term use, or accidental inhalation, can produce symptoms such as: decreased urine output, cough, skin blisters, eye and throat irritation, diarrhea, vomiting, chest pain, low blood pressure, and more.

What's more, talc exposure and/or use can cause chest pain, possible lung failure, wheezing, drowsiness, twitching, lethargy, convulsions; however, the most common and/or serious health problems related to the use of talcum powder are:

  • Respiratory problems: Accidental inhalation of talcum powder is most common in infant children, who might breathe in the substance when it’s being applied to their body. Because of this serious risk, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages using it and it's also not recommended by most private physicians and pediatricians.
  • Talcosis: If inhaled, tiny talc particles are delivered to the lungs and as a result, this can cause such conditions as wheezing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, fast and shallow breathing, coughing, and more serious conditions. In some instances, the inhalation of talc particles can lead to acute lung irritation or chronic lung irritation, which is known as "talcosis."
  • Chronic respiratory diseases: Talc inhalation can cause a variety of symptoms to appear and conditions to develop within the human body. Breathing in talc can result in contracting pneumonia or trigger asthma symptoms. Long-term exposure to the mineral by people in the mining or milling professions increases their risk of developing chronic respiratory diseases and even lung cancer.

One of the most serious health conditions linked to the use of talcum powder is ovarian cancer. The first reported research published in 1971 revealed talc particles to be present in women with ovarian cancer, demonstrating a possible link to use of the mineral and cancer. However, this finding was sharply criticized by Johnson & Johnson’s medical director and other manufacturers. Now, Johnson & Johnson is one drug giant that's a defendant in multiple consumer lawsuits.


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Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

Forty-five years ago, British researchers analyzed 13 ovarian tumors and found talc particles "deeply embedded" in 10. The study, published in 1971, was the first to raise the possibility that talcum powder could pose a risk. http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-baby-powder-cancer-lawsuits/ Though the first evidence linking talcum powder to ovarian cancer occurred in 1971, the findings were confirmed in the publication, Obstetrics & Gynecology in 1992. In that report, which warned frequent use of talcum powder by women as a genital deodorant, increases risk of developing ovarian cancer by three times. Along with the 1971 and 1992 studies, there were about one dozen scientific articles charging a link between talcum powder use in women and ovarian cancer, including such publications as Cancer, The Lancet, and Oncology. In 1994, concerned consumers, alarmed by the charge talcum powder use can lead to ovarian cancer, took a citizen's petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration through the Cancer Prevention Coalition. Sadly, the FDA denied said petition. Eight years later in 2002, the president of the Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association conceded talc use can be toxic and "can reach the human ovaries," the Huffington Post reported.

Then, in 2003, Anticancer Researcher published a large-scale review, which included some sixteen studies involving nearly 12,000 women subjects, which concluded a 33 percent increase of risk of developing ovarian cancer. Almost 16,000 women die as a result of ovarian cancer in the United States, making it the fourth-most fatal cancer disease among the female population. Again in May 2008, the Cancer Prevention Coalition submitted another petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, supported by International Association for Humanitarian Medicine and Organic Consumers Association, requesting a warning label be placed on products containing talc about the risks of use and ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, the FDA did not respond to the petition.

Although the FDA failed to act, continued research of eight previous reviews conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital involving 2,000 women, was published in June 2013 in Cancer Prevention Research. This analysis demonstrated a 20 to 30 percent increased risk of developing ovarian cancer in women who regularly use talcum powder for personal hygiene.


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About Talcum Powder Lawsuits

As more research continues to support the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, lawsuits are being filed by women across the country. These lawsuits allege drug corporation Johnson & Johnson is responsible for causing women to develop ovarian cancer by using the drug giant’s ever-present products: Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower. In 2013, a woman from South Dakota won her legal claim against Johnson & Johnson for not providing a warning about the risk of talcum powder use and ovarian cancer. That plaintiff was first diagnosed with the disease in 2006.

Just this year, in February 2016, Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a court of law to pay a whopping $72 million in damages to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer after using the drug giant's products which contained talc. The lawsuit resolved the family will receive $10 million in actual damages and $62 in punitive damages, according to reports published by USA Today and the Associated Press. However, these are not the only lawsuits the corporate giant is facing in regard to is products containing talc. There are some 1,200 pending lawsuits against the drug maker and many more are being filed by women and their families who have suffered different types of serious medical conditions and developed ovarian cancer.

There are two class action lawsuits regarding talcum powder use are being handled in two states: Illinois and California. More people are coming forward each day to share their stories and to seek compensation for their injuries caused by talcum powder use.

Vititoe Law Group is currently accepting ovarian cancer injury cases in all 50 states. If you or a loved one has used Baby Powder, Shower to Shower, Cashmere Bouquet and/or other talcum powder products, and have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you should contact our office immediately for a free case consultation. Time is of the essence, so you must act now.


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