The connection between talcum powder and lung cancer
According to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report, people who use talcum powder on a regular basis are at high risk of developing lung cancer, since they inevitably breathe in some of the product when they apply it to their skin.
Inhaling talcum powder can lead to chronic lung irritation, which, in turn, may result in lung cancer. In 1993, the National Toxicology Program published the results of a study conducted on rats concerning the effects of talcum powder on the lungs. During the study, rats that were exposed to talcum powder developed both benign and malignant tumors in their lungs. Therefore, it is very possible for talcum powder to cause lung cancer.
Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made public the results of a study on talc miners and millers from 1995. They observed 710 men who mined or milled the mineral from 1947 to 1978. The workers were more susceptible to developing both benign lung diseases and lung cancer in contrast to the general population. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expected to find 8 deaths caused by lung cancer in talc miners and millers, there were actually 17. Although the American Cancer Society claims that there is no risk of coming to struggle with lung cancer as a consequence of using cosmetic talcum powder, the risk still exists, as people unavoidably inhale the product when they apply it.
If you developed lung cancer and had been using talcum powder on a regular basis, you are entitled to financial compensation from the responsible companies. Our attorneys, whose main area of practice is toxic exposure, will file a lawsuit on your behalf so that you can benefit from the money you deserve for your suffering. This way, not only will you have more financial resources to help you afford quality treatment, but the liable talcum powder companies will also be held accountable for their negligence. Similarly, if you are or were a talc miner or miller and came to struggle with lung cancer, you also qualify for compensation and, if more of your coworkers developed this awful disease, we will pursue money for all of you in the form of a class-action lawsuit that will be filed against your employer.
Exposure to talcum powder and ovarian cancer
The American Cancer Society deems talcum powder a risk factor for ovarian cancer. Consequently, there is a definitive causal relation between exposure to cosmetic talcum powder and ovarian cancer.
Approximately 40% of women in the United States regularly use talcum powder, which can be found in the form of baby powders, foot powders, medicated powders, cosmetics, and intimate hygiene products. In other words, 2 out of 5 women use talcum powder on a regular basis.
Numerous reputable medical studies found that talcum powder applied directly to the genital area or on sanitary napkins, diaphragms or condoms may lead to the development of ovarian cancer over the years. It has been estimated that the risk of developing this malignant disease increases by up to 33% for women who frequently use talcum powder as a personal hygiene product. The asbestos fibers that are present in talcum powder can reach the ovaries through the vagina, where severe inflammation subsequently occurs, which may, in turn, lead to ovarian cancer.
- The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, classifies the genital use of talcum powder as possibly carcinogenic to humans. When talcum powder is used for feminine hygiene, talc particles may travel through the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes to the ovaries. Once it reaches the ovaries, it can take several years to dissolve, and it may cause severe inflammation. In turn, the inflammation of the ovaries increases the chances of developing cancer.
- Scientists in Wales suggested a possible link between the dusting of female genitals with talcum powder and ovarian cancer in 1971, as they found particles of talc embedded in ovarian tumors. Another medical study published in 1982 in the journal Cancer was the first to connect genital talcum powder use with ovarian cancer. Subsequently, dozens of similar medical studies followed, all finding a strong causal relation between the genital use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer.
In the regrettable case that you came to struggle with ovarian cancer after you had been using talcum powder on your genital area, you are eligible for compensation, which our skillful attorneys and resourceful legal team will help you recover from the responsible companies. We will file a lawsuit on your behalf with the liable companies or, if there are more women in your situation, a community case will be brought against the companies that manufactured the hazardous products you had been exposed to. Since 1990, we have been providing quality legal assistance to victims of toxic exposure and will go to great lengths to recover fair compensation for you if you developed ovarian cancer as a result of using talcum powder.
What other diseases can the frequent use of talcum powder cause?
In addition to lung cancer and ovarian cancer, there are other malignant diseases of the female reproductive system that frequent exposure to talcum powder can result in, according to medical studies, as well as other respiratory diseases.
- Women who dust their genital areas with talcum powder have a high risk of developing uterine cancer. In 2010, Stalo Karageorgi and her colleagues found for the first time a connection between the genital use of talcum powder and uterine cancer. They suggested that talcum powder may cause inflammation in the endometrium, the lining of the uterus, and this may, in turn, lead to endometrial cancer, which is the most common type of uterine cancer.
- Women who use talcum powder on their genital areas are also at high risk of developing cervical cancer. Medical researchers theorize that talc particles cause uterine and ovarian cancer by entering the vagina and making their way into the uterus and the ovaries. To reach the ovaries, they have to pass through the cervix, in which they may become embedded, thereby causing cervical cancer. Scientists in Wales first found particles of talc attached to cervical tumors in 1971. Talcum powder was found in 12 out of 21 cervical tumors. They published the results of their study in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
- Pulmonary talcosis is another respiratory disease that can result from the regular use of talcum powder. It is a chronic or acute irritation of the lungs that makes the sufferer experience symptoms such as a persistent cough, night sweats, fever, weight loss, dyspnea, and, in severe cases, spontaneous pneumothorax. In a 2010 letter to the editor published in the European Respiratory Review, medical professionals made public the case of a 36-year-old woman who had been struggling with coughing and shortness of breath for several months. She had used talcum powder all over her body for decades. Doctors found talc particles in her lung biopsy and she received a diagnosis of pulmonary talcosis. After she ceased using talcum powder, her symptoms improved.
- Finally, mesothelioma can also develop as a result of frequent exposure to talcum powder, as asbestos is notorious for causing this awful form of cancer. It is worthy of note that it takes between 20 and 50 years from the first exposure to talcum powder for the disease to occur, as it has a long latency period. Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma and, thereby, if it occurs following repeated exposure to talcum powder, it is undeniable that the product is contaminated with this dangerous mineral. While mesothelioma can also affect the lining of the heart, abdomen, and testicles, 80% of cases involve the lungs.
Lawsuits filed against talcum powder manufacturers
In 2019, the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson set aside $3.9 billion for litigation involving the talcum powder they manufacture under the brand names Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Powder, which dates back to 1893. At the moment, the company is facing over 25,000 lawsuits filed mostly by women who developed ovarian cancer after they had been regularly using their talcum powder.
Despite the lawsuits, the company insists that its products are safe to use and that any cases of talc contaminated with asbestos were isolated incidents or the result of faulty testing. Nevertheless, Johnson & Johnson is not the only talcum powder manufacturer against which lawsuits have been filed recently, as Colgate-Palmolive Co. and Imerys Talc America, a talc supplier, are also facing lawsuits for the same reason. The following is a timeline of lawsuits filed against manufacturers of talcum powder:
- March 2022: Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson intends to claim bankruptcy to side-step any more talcum claims, which was the main ingredient in the very popular baby powder it sold. Currently, the company is facing more than 38,000 cases alleging that Johnson & Johnson talc powder causes ovarian cancer after agreeing to a $100 million settlement last year.
- February 2022: Johnson & Johnson may be forced to cease the sale of talc baby powder worldwide due to concerns over alleged cancer risk. The healthcare giant withdrew its talc baby powder from sale in the U.S. and Canada in 2020. Even so, the sales of baby powder had dropped after U.S. regulators detected chrysotile asbestos fibers in a sample. The company faces more than 34,000 lawsuits, including many from women who claim they used baby powder and subsequently developed ovarian cancer.
- August 2021: Johnson & Johnson was spared paying $50 million in another talc lawsuit in Illinois. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of cases are still pending. The company has recently reported that 34,600 talc lawsuits have now been filed, up from just over 20,000 last year.
- September 2019: The healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson faced another major legal defeat when a New Jersey jury sided with four people who claimed the company’s talcum powder contained asbestos and caused their cancer. The verdict was given in a courtroom just miles from Johnson & Johnson’s corporate headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The company has to pay the plaintiffs $37.2 million in compensatory damages.
- July 2018: Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $4.69 billion to 22 women who had claimed that the asbestos in the company’s talcum powder caused their ovarian cancer. A jury in a Missouri circuit court awarded $4.14 billion in punitive damages and $550 million in compensatory damages to the women who accused the company of failure to warn.
- August 2017: A Los Angeles, California jury awarded Eva Echeverria $417 million after finding Johnson & Johnson liable for her ovarian cancer diagnosis. This was the first of hundreds of similar cases filed in California to go to trial.
- May 2017: A jury in the City of St. Louis, Missouri found Johnson & Johnson, as well as their talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, liable for the ovarian cancer of plaintiff Lois Slemp and awarded her a verdict of over $110 million. The verdict included $5.4 million in compensatory damages and $105 million in punitive damages.
- October 2016: A jury in the City of St. Louis, Missouri found Johnson & Johnson liable for the ovarian cancer of Deborah Giannecchini that was the result of her use of their talcum powder and awarded her $70 million. This was the first time when a jury also found talc supplier Imerys liable for damages. The verdict included $575,000 in medical damages, $2 million in compensatory damages, and $65 million in punitive damages.
- May 2016: A jury in the City of St. Louis, Missouri found Johnson & Johnson liable for the development of the ovarian cancer of plaintiff Gloria Ristesund. The jury awarded her a verdict of $55 million, which included $5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.
- February 2016: A jury in the City of St. Louis, Missouri found Johnson & Johnson responsible for the development of the ovarian cancer of plaintiff Jacqueline Fox and awarded her family a verdict of $72 million. Unfortunately, she passed away in October 2015. The verdict included $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages.
- March 2013: Deane Berg of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, filed the first lawsuit concerning talcum powder against Johnson & Johnson after having been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was awarded $1.3 million that she turned down, her case opening the door for thousands of women in the same situation.
At the moment, there are thousands of lawsuits pending against Johnson & Johnson, which were filed mostly by women with ovarian cancer. In February 2019, the talc supplier of the company, Imerys Talc America, filed for bankruptcy to protect itself from over 14,000 lawsuits claiming that their talc causes ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. Consequently, people who developed lung cancer, mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, or cervical cancer can recover the financial compensation they deserve from the liable manufacturers.