WHY IS TALCUM POWDER THE SUBJECT OF LAWSUIT DISCUSSIONS?

This mineral is ubiquitous, found in everything from paper and rubber to pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. It is also a standard ingredient in various hygiene products, where it is highly effective at absorbing excess moisture and reducing chafing.  A member of the silicate family, talc is simple to break down into a granular form that is easy to handle, but also risky to use on the body.

This is because the mineral is not handled well by the body if it manages to become embedded in internal tissues
. If it does, it will cause a prolonged inflammation response that is damaging to the tissue. Over time, this can increase the chances of local tissues becoming cancerous.

Feminine hygiene products are particularly risky because some of the mineral particles may enter the vaginal canal during application. This can significantly increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer, and many studies confirm this fear. In fact, a 2003 meta-analysis that reviewed 16 different studies into the problem found, on average, the risk of ovarian cancer increased by 30 percent. With more than a dozen studies independently observing the risk, the evidence is overwhelming. Researchers that have examined ovarian tumors have also found particles of the mineral embedded inside the tumor, providing even more doubt about the safety of these products.

WHAT ARE WOMEN WHO HAVE USED TALCUM POWDER ASSERTING DURING LAWSUIT PREPARATIONS?

Not only are these products unsafe, but victims are also claiming that manufacturers knew about the danger, but did not inform people. Johnson & Johnson is receiving the brunt of the criticism, and even in the face of so many studies, still claims that there is no confirmed medical risk of using its products for hygiene reasons. For now, the FDA has sided with Johnson & Johnson and has not confirmed that the mineral poses a cancer risk. This view will likely change in the coming years, and the FDA appears to be behind other agencies in noticing the risk. The World Health Organization has already listed the mineral as a possible carcinogen, for example.

Johnson & Johnson knowing about the danger as far back as the early 1980s may leave the company open for significant liability concerns.

WHAT IS THE CURRENT STATUS OF TALCUM POWDER LAWSUIT PREPARATIONS?

Many claims are being organized into class action lawsuits. A federal judge has already produced a judgment against Johnson & Johnson in the case of a woman who used its products for more than 30 years and developed cancer. This means that additional claims will have a higher chance of succeeding.

ARE THERE ANY OTHER CONCERNS WITH THIS MINERAL?

Because it is light and often found in the presence of asbestos and other hazardous materials, talcum miners are being monitored for the development of various lung cancers. Studies into this risk are underway, and some medical experts believe there is reason for grave concern.