Allegations are growing that the makers of these products have long been aware of the risks such uses pose to consumers, yet have failed to provide adequate warning to the general public.
Studies Connecting Talcum Power Use and Ovarian Cancer
While it is true that talc has been a component of popular cosmetics for generations, multiple studies have revealed startling links between habitual use of such products for feminine hygiene tasks and the eventual emergence of ovarian cancer in those same women. A study conducted in 1971, for instance, found that nearly ¾ of ovarian tumors examined in fact contained embedded particles of talc. Another research effort outlined in the journal Cancer Prevention found that female subjects who regularly used talc as part of a hygiene routine likely increased their risk of ovarian cancer by 20-30% as compared to those who had not utilized talc products in this way.
Widespread Failure to Warn Consumers of Talc Cancer Risk
Evidence suggests that industry insiders and others have grasped the connection between talc product use and ovarian cancer, yet the United States Food and Drug Administration has thus far failed to take significant action on the matter. No broad-based warnings have been issued to consumers and no label changes or enhancements have been mandated by the regulatory agency. This has been the case despite pleas from organizations such as the Cancer Prevention Coalition to strengthen alerts regarding perineal use of talcum powder products. Also curiously quiet on the matter have been cosmetic product manufacturers such as Johnson & Johnson, routinely minimizing reports of the danger and going so far as to explicitly deny that its products have had any connection to cancer.
New Worries over Possible Talc Mesothelioma Risk
Though the possible connection between talc products and ovarian cancer has been cause for concern for many years, new research points to yet another talc-related danger. A study published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health suggests that widely sold brands of talc-containing powders may have the potential to cause mesothelioma, a rare and particularly brutal form of lung cancer. The study’s authors reveal that such powders may release certain inhalable asbestos fibers into the air, endangering those who use them with regularity. Mesothelioma often remains in a dormant stage for an extended period and by the time it is diagnosed, tends to be extremely advanced. Life expectancies for such patients are then typically quite short.
Key Facts about Talcum Powder Lawsuits
There can be no doubt that those who pursue a talcum powder lawsuit will have to negotiate significant obstacles raised by deep-pocketed personal care product manufacturers. In order to prevail, plaintiffs will be required to demonstrate that such companies did not provide sufficient warning of known dangers, marketed products they understood to be dangerous when used in a foreseeable manner and downplayed research indicating serious risk. It will also be necessary to establish the causal link between talcum powder product use and each diagnosis of ovarian or other type of cancer. Those who succeed may be eligible to receive compensation for the following including:
- Current, past and present medical expenses
- Physical pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Loss of marital and familial relationships
- Funeral expenses, where applicable
Talcum Powder Lawsuit Volume Expected to Grow
The first significant talcum powder lawsuit reached the trial stage in 2013 in South Dakota federal court, with a jury ultimately finding in favor of the female plaintiff who argued that her regular use of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder caused her ovarian cancer. A particularly pivotal element at trial was the revelation from a Harvard-affiliated medical expert that he believed nearly 10,000 individual cases of ovarian cancer may be at least partially attributable to talc product exposure.
Growing numbers of talcum powder class action lawsuits have since been initiated in multiple jurisdictions, with common allegations including negligent misrepresentation, failure to warn consumers, breach of warranties and violations of various consumer protection laws as well as state business and professional codes. Precisely how many plaintiffs who have suffered harm as a result of talc products remains to be seen, but the potential for large-scale litigation in all areas of the country appears to be strong.