Super Lawyers
NAFLA
10 Best
AVVO
Premier Personal Injury Lawyers
Top Lawyers
America's Top 100 Attorneys
Top Lawyers

Talcum Powder

It sounds harmless enough. Most of us don’t think twice about talcum powder. We associate its use with babies and cleanliness, and as an everyday household product that eases a rash and feels good on the skin. However, scientific studies dating back to the 1970s have shown that use of talcum powder on female genitals leads to an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

If that wasn’t bad enough, recent legal cases have come to light showing that some talcum powder is contaminated with asbestos—and, as we all know, asbestos is very dangerous and also causes cancer.

Why is Talcum Powder so Dangerous?

Talcum powder gets its name from containing an ingredient known as talc, a mineral that is assigned the lowest level of scratch hardness by the scientific community. This means that if you were holding a hunk of talc, you could easily scratch into it with your fingernail—thus, it can be efficiently transformed into a powder.

In various studies over the past few decades, talc has been associated with lung and ovarian cancer as well as pulmonary issues. The reasons for these associations are not made clear to the public; however, the dangers have become increasingly well-known.

Another contributing factor to the danger of talc (and talcum powder) it that it is often times located and mined in underground deposits that also contain asbestos ore. This fact sets off a red light. Although the mining industry and related governments claim there is a strict separation of cosmetic talc from industrial grade talc, thus eliminating the possibility of contamination, any prudent person would be suspect about this.

According to the National Center for Health Research (NCHR), 20,000 women developed ovarian cancer in 2017, and 14,000 women died from the disease. About one of 75 women, or 1.3% of all women, will get ovarian cancer; however, the NCHR reports that women who use talcum powder have a 30% higher likelihood of contracting ovarian cancer than women who don’t use the product. Statistically speaking, out of every one million women, 4,000 more will die who use talcum powder than those who don’t.

Is Baby Powder the Same as Talcum Powder?

Some brands of baby powder also contain talc and so would be expected to have the same or similar effects as talcum powder. However, some baby powder does not contain talc, but rather cornstarch, arrowroot or some other soothing substance to alleviate diaper rash. From a practical and preventative perspective, we suggest that you use baby powder that does not contain talc.

Talcum Powder Lawsuits

Over 6,500 lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson, the main manufacturer of talcum powder. To date, a handful of lawsuits filed by plaintiffs with ovarian cancer or their families have succeeded, resulting in awards of millions of dollars for damages, including death.

Most recently, in 2017, a plaintiff with ovarian cancer was awarded $417 million by a Los Angeles jury. However, two months later the judge dismissed the verdict on the grounds that, due to ongoing scientific debate regarding the association between talc and ovarian cancer, Johnson & Johnson could not be held liable for the plaintiff’s damages. In other words, the judge ruled there was not sufficient proof that the talcum powder caused the cancer.

In 2018, a St. Louis court awarded nearly 5 billion in both punitive and compensatory damages to 22 women who claimed to have developed ovarian cancer due to long-term use of talcum powder.

Contributing to its ruling, the court found that Johnson & Johnson had known for over four decades that there was asbestos in their product, but suppressed the evidence. Also, both talc particles and asbestos fibers were discovered in the ovarian tissues of the plaintiffs.

Rulings both for and against plaintiffs’ claims show that no court case is easy for the plaintiff. It takes a solid case and a competent attorney, along with a reasonable judge, to win the case.

Most of the large sum rulings were based on cases in which the women had used Johnson & Johnson talcum powder for many years, and subsequently developed ovarian cancer.

Ironically, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified talcum powder in 2016 as a possible human carcinogen when used on or around the female genital area.

However, no United States federal agency removed talcum powder from the consumer market or added warnings of its potential harm to the product. This failure, in and of itself, would seem to constitute a criminal act.

Negligence & Liability in Talcum Powder Personal Injury Cases

The key factor in winning a personal injury case is demonstrating that the defendant exhibited negligence, which led to the plaintiff’s injuries. Negligence is defined as a failure to exercise reasonable care to ensure another person’s safety. The issue here pertains to whether or not Johnson & Johnson failed to demonstrate reasonable care in providing a consumer product that, according to some studies, inherently causes cancer and has been proven to contain asbestos.

Upon proving that a defendant is guilty of negligence, the issue of their liability (responsibility) for the damages suffered by the plaintiff is forthcoming. That is to say, when a defendant is found to have been negligent, they will also likely be found to be liable for the damages suffered by the plaintiff (you). In most cases, a court will order an award to the plaintiff representing a compensatory financial sum for the plaintiff’s injuries.

If you have developed ovarian cancer that you believe could be due to the use of talcum powder—or if, God forbid, a family member has died of ovarian cancer that you believe is related to use of talcum powder—please call Chris Jackman Law Firm today for a free consultation.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Mr. Jackman has far exceeded my expectations in handling my case. I had hired another lawyer shortly after my accident, only to be told 2 short months before the statute of limitations ran out that he could not represent my case. I reached out to Mr. Jackman and within 4 months my case was settled and closed. Chris Jackman is a qualified, competent, up and coming Seattle Lawyer. He will handle your case in a prompt and professional manor. I can’t say enough about how he changed my perception of lawyers in general. I would not hesitate to recommend Mr. Jackman to my family and friends. Jim D.
★★★★★
Hired Chris for a personal injury case. I knew the Insurance companies would try to do what they do best – delay payment, save money, and not be fair! (Sorry, not a fan!) And they did just that. Fortunately I hired a caring, compassionate, awesome, kind, focused, brilliant, up and coming Rockstar of an attorney that believed in me and my case. Anytime something came up, I would call him and he would say "I’ll take care of it" and I knew it would be handled. You can count on Chris to go the extra steps to help you, and I really believe in him. Wouldn’t hesitate to hire or recommend. Thank you Chris for being a fair and honest man and Attorney! Anonymous
★★★★★
Mr. Jackman is by far the best to hire for personal injuries. With a tree falling on me and no one wanting to take on the insurance co. Chris meet with me was compassionate with my injuries, came to my house and told me he had my back. He went above and beyond to keep my family and informed on the processes what to expect and even and even worked while away and checked in with me weekly. He believed in me, I believed in him and together yesterday we won my case. If you want 5 star treatment from a 5 Star Lawyer, Chris Jackman is who you need! My family thanks you for all you’ve done!! Anonymous