Sunday, February 2, 2020

Has Baby Powder Been Found to Contain Carcinogens?

An Examination of Asbestos and Fibrous Talc

February 02, 2020 - Those who have used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder with talc for a number of years, later developing ovarian cancer, may be eligible to file a talcum powder lawsuit. Many women who have used J & J baby powder with talc for feminine hygiene purposes may have developed ovarian cancer as a result. There are also lawsuits against J & J, alleging the company’s baby powder with talc also contains asbestos fibers, which can lead to mesothelioma diagnoses. The initial ovarian cancer lawsuits against J & J did not allege the talc was contaminated with asbestos, rather claimed (based on scientific data) that the talc fibers could travel into the ovaries, causing inflammation, which then led to ovarian cancer.

Some very large J & J ovarian cancer verdicts have been handed down, however, a number of them have been reversed. None of the reversals were due to lack of scientific evidence, rather were errors of law or claims of an improper venue. The largest verdict to date came in 2018 when 22 women were awarded a massive monetary award. These women claimed J & J talc products led to their ovarian cancer—not just from talc fibers, but also from asbestos fibers. 

Does Baby Powder with Talc Contain Asbestos Fibers and Talc Fibers? Johnson & Johnson has always taken the position that their baby powder with talc and Shower to Shower powder with talc are asbestos-free--mostly. Despite the fact that some level of asbestos has often been detected during the testing process, Johnson & Johnson remains firm in their assertion that even if small amounts of asbestos exist in their talcum powders, the levels are “safe.” Trace amounts of asbestos fibers were found in talc samples from J & J’s Italian supplier as far back as 1957.  In the mid-1960s, traces of asbestos were found in J & J talc samples, with sample tests continuing to find small amounts of asbestos in talc through the 1970s.

Rather than reporting these findings, J & J only submitted select studies to the FDA, emphasizing studies that fit their agenda of no asbestos in talc. In the early 2000s, J & J began sourcing its talc from China, with samples continuing to register trace amounts of asbestos. J & J has continued to claim that each test which returned positive results of asbestos in the talc  was “flawed,” there was “something wrong with the method,” the samples were “contaminated in the lab,” or even that the sample “was not our product.

In 2018, J & J lost a case that cost them a substantial sum of money, when a man convinced a judge that the asbestos in J & J baby powder caused his asbestos-related cancer. J & J is appealing the verdict; asbestos denial is a common theme among American talc mining companies, with all the companies claiming their cosmetic grade powders do not contain asbestos. As of February 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice and the SEC began investigating claims that J & J’s baby powder contains asbestos.  Although scientists continue to debate whether talc fibers are harmful when inhaled, no doubts remain that asbestos fibers are deadly.  

What Does J & J Baby Powder with Talc Contain? Plain talc is considered a 2B carcinogen—possibly carcinogenic to human beings. In fact, fibrous talc has very similar carcinogenic properties as asbestos, which is definitely a human carcinogen. Talc also contains nickel—while the “acceptable” level of nickel is ten parts per million, J & J’s baby powder routinely tested at 1,600, 1,800, and 2,100 parts per million. The talc found in J & J’s Shower to Shower also showed levels of chromium (1.9 parts per million), cobalt (1.1 parts per million), and lead (.11 parts per million).

When you take all of these known carcinogens as a whole, it stands to reason that you might want to reconsider the use of J & J’s baby powder with talc or Shower to Shower with talc, even though J & J continues to claim the products are safe. From the standpoint of ovarian cancer, science has proven talc powder, when used for feminine hygiene purposes, can definitely travel to the ovaries. Once there, chronic inflammation occurs as a result of the foreign bodies, causing ovarian cancer after remaining unresolved for decades.

How an Experienced Baby Powder Ovarian Cancer Attorney Can Help - If you have suffered an injury related to the use of J & J talcum powders, you could benefit from speaking to a baby powder ovarian cancer lawyer. Our attorneys will evaluate your case after a comprehensive review of the facts. If a lawsuit is appropriate, we will ensure all documents are filed within the statutes of limitations and will guide you through the process every step of the way.

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Author: Andrew Sullo
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Andrew Sullo

Andrew SulloAndrew Sullo

Andrew Sullo is a National Trial Lawyer's Top 100 Selection for 2013-2019. He is a member of the American Association of Justice (2013-2019), and a recipient of the 2019 AVVO Client's Choice Award.

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